If you are wondering whether routine dental care including checkups and cleanings are really necessary, the answer is a resounding “Yes”! While modern dentistry has a wide variety of excellent restorative dental techniques to replace missing teeth and repair damaged teeth and gums, by far the most effective dental technique is prevention.
The majority of Americans are missing one or more teeth and ten percent of Americans are missing all of their natural teeth. Missing teeth are especially prevalent among older Americans and studies have shown that tooth loss is linked to a decline in health. Tooth loss, even when addressed with dentures, leads to a poor diet and jaw bone loss.
Despite being almost completely preventable, gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease is caused by naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria forms plaque, a sticky substance that adheres to tooth surfaces and causes tooth decay. Brushing and flossing removes most plaque, but some plaque will harden into tartar that can only be removed with a professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist.
In addition to attacking the surface of your teeth, plaque and tartar irritate the gums and cause gingivitis and gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can result in permanent tooth loss.
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are the key to preventing gum disease. Plaque and tartar is removed and your dentist can examine your teeth and gums for signs of gum disease, cavities, and other imperfections. Any cavities or other tooth damage can be repaired while the damage is minor. Otherwise, the tooth damage can progress to the point where the tooth cannot be saved.
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