It’s easy to think of a bright smile as the primary outcome of dental care, but there are many whole-body health benefits you can get from a regular visit to your dentist.
During these routine checkups, your dentist will examine not just your teeth, but also your gums and mouth as a whole. This exam will let them spot any oral problems such as cavities, teeth grinding, or gum disease and recommend treatment plans to address them.
Additionally, keeping your mouth healthy can boost your overall health. Our mouths are full of bacteria (mostly harmless), and keeping that bacteria under control by daily brushing and flossing helps reduce the odds of other conditions, such as certain cancers and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s commonly recommended to get a dental checkup every six months, but certain health conditions might necessitate more frequent visits. For example, diabetes is often linked to gum disease due to high blood sugar levels. Frequent consumption of alcohol and tobacco is linked to a higher rate of permanent tooth loss and oral disease. Genetic factors also matter – if there’s a history of oral disease in your family, you may want to get a checkup more frequently.
Most dental benefits will cover 1-2 preventive checkups per year, as well as some further services. Check your benefits information to see what’s covered. Additionally, you can use Health Savings Account and Flexible Spending Account funds for dental services to keep your smile bright and body healthy.