Does your post-Halloween candy bowl contain the dregs of candy-dom: Dum Dums, taffy and Jolly Ranchers (I don’t believe these truly qualify as candy, by the way)? According to Statista, individual Americans planned to spend $22.37 on candy - we all know people lie in surveys, so they probably spent double that (heck, I probably ate that much all by myself). That’s about $2 billion dollars in candy JUST for Halloween.
This could be why the American Dental Hygienists’ Association chose October to raise public awareness about good oral health during National Dental Hygiene Month!
Halloween or not, getting regular cleanings and check-ups is an important part of staying healthy.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Carla Spann-Lopez of Bethany Heights Dental Care in Allen, Texas who enlightened me on some great reasons to get in for those regular cleanings. I’ve heard from several people that she’s an AMAZING dentist and she has about 40 education degrees, so she’s very qualified to help us out on this topic!
Besides the basics of keeping teeth clean and ensuring a healthy mouth, Dr. Spann shared 3 reasons why we should have regular dental exams…
1) It’s a good habit
Dr. Spann says, “Children and teens should get a checkup at least twice a year so they develop healthy habits and a good relationship with the dentist. Adults also need to make sure they get in for regular checkups.”
Note to parents: by setting a positive tone about the dentist, you’ll equip your kids for a lifetime of good oral health! Click here for more tips on prepping little ones for a great dental visit.
We’re all given one set of teeth for life. Wait, make that two sets. Either way, they’re valuable and will be with you throughout your entire life, so get into the habit of taking great care of them.
2) You don’t know what you don’t know
“Many people believe their teeth are in good condition because they don’t have cavities or toothaches. Unfortunately, gum disease can still occur, sometimes with no signs at all. When I do an exam, I’m looking for developing issues because that’s when we have a chance to do preventive maintenance. For instance, if I notice there’s a lot of plaque build-up, I can give tips on how to alleviate it. If I see white spots or chalkiness, I can catch early decay before it becomes a cavity. That means we may be able to avoid a filling and DRILLING!” If two check-ups a year can help me avoid “the drill,” I’m convinced. Done.
3) There could be bigger health issues
“I always do a soft tissue exam and this helps to detect oral cancer or other cancers that are spreading. Believe it or not, a pathologist can determine the origin of the cancer (like lung, kidney, etc.) based on an oral sample from a dental visit. I had a patient that came in for a routine checkup – his cheek was bleeding and he thought he was just biting it. I took a sample and we learned it was cancer. They had to remove his teeth and part of his jaw, but thankfully, we caught it before it spread to his lymph nodes.
On another level, I always check blood pressure. Sometimes a dentist is the first to detect high blood pressure because many people will go to the dentist twice a year, but won’t do regular check-ups with a physician. This way, we’re able to alert them to the issue so they can seek treatment.” Yes men, we’re talking you!
So here we are, the week after Halloween. Did you consume some sugary snacks? When is your next dental appointment? If it’s not on the calendar, do it now!