Think twice before skipping your routine dental appointments.

When your schedule is slammed, it’s tempting to put a dental appointment on the back burner.

According to the American Dental Association, only about half of American adults visit the dentist every six months as recommended. Cost and dental fear are commonly cited reasons for a missed dental appointment, but for busy individuals juggling careers, families, and personal responsibilities, it can simply come down to feeling like dental care can wait.

But there might be more repercussions of skipping preventive care visits than you realize.

Here are 6 reasons why you should commit to biannual dental visits and any additional dental appointment recommended by your dentist.

1. Dental exams are your first line of defense for early detection of oral cancer.

Oral cancer isn’t as common as some other types of cancer, but statistics show that the five-year survival rate is only around 60%. Late diagnoses are one of the primary reasons for oral cancer’s high mortality rate.

Early detection is a key factor in successful cancer treatment, and your dentist is the medical professional who is in the best position to catch symptoms early on. Drs. Barr and Diachenko utilize a VELscope to scan the mouth with a special blue light that picks up on any tissue abnormalities.

A VELscope evaluation only takes five minutes and can be performed during your routine dental visits. Our doctors may recommend either a biannual or annual scan based on lifestyle risk factors, such as smoking.

2. Plaque buildup can only be removed by a skilled dental hygienist during a cleaning.

Even if you brush after every meal, floss meticulously, and use the best ADA-recommended products, plaque can still form on your teeth.

When plaque isn’t removed, it will build up to what we call calculus or tartar. Without regular removal, plaque and tartar cause bad breath, yellowed teeth, gum irritation, and tooth decay.

The only way to get a proper deep cleaning on your teeth is with a dental hygiene appointment. During your dental appointment, one of our skilled hygienists will remove plaque and tartar from all of the nooks and crannies you can’t easily reach with your toothbrush at home.

3. Biannual professional dental cleanings lower inflammation in your entire body.

When plaque and tartar aren’t routinely removed, the gums become inflamed, leading to periodontal diseases, like gingivitis or periodontitis. But what you may not know is this inflammation is systemic, meaning it can lead to inflammation in your entire body.

Oral systemic health is a phrase that describes the strong correlation between oral health and overall health. For example, studies show a significant link between heart disease attributed to arterial plaque buildup and periodontal disease attributed to dental plaque. Both of these types of “plaque” are very different, but they often coincide with one another.

Biannual cleanings and plaque removal reduce inflammation in your gums, which can help to reduce the inflammation present in your body. This helps lower the risks of a number of diseases and can make existing diseases, like diabetes, easier to manage.

4. Dental hygiene visits are a good way to take a break from work and relax.

Put a positive spin on seeing the dentist by thinking of dental appointments as more than just health care but also as a chance to relax during a busy day in the Millennium Park area.

Taking breaks from work can be difficult when you feel like you have a lot on your plate, but breaks help increase productivity, creativity, and motivation. What better reason to get out of the office and mentally unplug for a bit than a visit to the dentist for a cleaning.

Not only will you be caring for your oral health, but you’ll return to work feeling refreshed and productive, along with the added confidence of a bright, clean smile.

5. Putting off necessary treatment only causes more trouble down the road.

When your dentist spots an issue with your teeth or gums, it’s important to get it taken care of right away. Just because the problem may not seem serious at the moment doesn’t mean it won’t eventually become an urgent problem.

Dental problems are definitely a category of health issues that don’t simply heal or go away on their own, meaning even the smallest spot of tooth decay will only worsen. Tooth decay is easily one of the most common dental problems, with about 92% of adults having cavities and 26% having untreated decay.

If your dentist spots decay (or any other issue) and creates a treatment plan, it’s best to schedule a dental appointment and follow through. That small cavity may only warrant an inexpensive filling and less than an hour of your time now, but if you keep skipping appointments, it could turn into a much more expensive and time-consuming root canal, or worse, an extraction.

6. A bright, healthy smile helps you succeed in your career and relationships.

Taking the time out of your schedule to visit your dentist downtown might be one of the best things you do for your career and relationships. Why? Because your smile plays a big role in your success, both professionally and personally.

Fresh breath and bright, straight teeth are generally viewed as more attractive. Studies on first impressions of smiles show 78% of people associate crooked teeth with unsuccessfulness at work. Bad breath and yellow teeth are equally off-putting.

Biannual dental cleanings, a quick reaction to needed treatments, and a dedicated at-home dental care regimen will help ensure your smile is healthy. Drs. Barr and Diachenko can also help you fix aesthetic flaws, straighten, and whiten your teeth with their cosmetic dentistry services.

Schedule your next dental appointment with us today.

If you’re due for a cleaning or would like to proceed with an overlooked treatment plan, we encourage you to get in touch and schedule a dental appointment with one of our doctors.

You can either call us directly or use our convenient online appointment request form. If you opt to use the latter, simply explain in the note section which service you’re interested in and what dates work with your schedule. From there, we’ll review the information and contact you to confirm a date for your visit.