If you’re like most other people, then it’s quite likely you only ever go to the dentist when there’s something seriously wrong with you (or you haven’t been in forever). And we’re sorry to say, but that’s not exactly a smart oral health practice. It’s important to get regular dental check-ups, once every six months or so, to ensure that your mouth is in proper working order.

At The Practice at Mortlake, we often get asked when people should be scheduling their dental check-ups, so we thought it might be useful to provide this thorough, fast guide to why you need a dental check-up.

So let’s see.

Dental check-ups can spot (and stop) gum disease early

Gum disease is probably the leading cause of tooth loss in otherwise healthy adults. Now, we think that’s saying something about how serious this situation is, don’t you? Thankfully, your oral hygienist is able to spot early warning signs of gum disease, and treat it before it’s had time to do any real damage.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to spot these warning signs until it’s too late. Since gum disease doesn’t cause obvious discomfort until it’s in a fairly advanced stage, it’s safe to say that you won’t even know it’s there unless you go to your dental check-ups regularly. If going to the dentist every six months sounds like a hassle, you should see how irritating tooth loss can get!

They also check for oral cancer

Mouth cancer is a serious affliction, and the sixth most popular type of cancer in the world. As such, it can develop anywhere inside your mouth (gums, skin surrounding the lips, palate, or the tongue), and like gum disease, it will be a long time until you figure it out yourself.

During a dental check-up, your dentist or hygienist will check for dead tissue, as a sign of a tumour, and may help catch the cancer early. If you stick to your regular dental check-ups, about twice a year, it’s very unlikely that oral cancer will get a chance to develop to a late stage.

It’s not just the teeth that we’re looking at

Did you know that during a dental check-up, a dentist will not only check the denture and mouth, but also the head and neck? They will also be on the lookout for swelling, lymph node problems, and any other potential health issue that may signal another health concern.

If the dentist identified a potential cause for worry, they will refer you to the appropriate specialist, so that you can make sure you get your health problem treated on time.

They prevent the accumulation of tartar, plaque, tooth decay (as well as cavities)

If enough plaque accumulates on your teeth, it can cause gum disease, and even lead to tooth loss. Regular dental check-ups make sure that these accumulations are kept at an appropriate minimum, and also ensure that potential dental issues like tooth decay or cavities are caught early.