If you’re like most Canadians, you probably have a very busy schedule and it’s difficult to imagine how to squeeze in two dental appointments every year. Having to visit your Montreal dentist every six months may not be the appointment that you look forward to the most, but it is definitely one of the most important to keep in mind. It’s important to remember that it’s thanks to those checkups, along with home hygiene, that you are able to keep your teeth clean and healthy all year long. Your regular visit to a dentist shouldn’t take long at all, and your teeth and gums will thank you for it.

If you have found yourself wondering why you had to visit your dentist twice a year for regular dental checkups and cleanings, we’ve got something for you to think about. Let’s take a closer look at reasons why you shouldn’t skip out on your dentists appointments.

Prevent tooth decay and Cavities

One of the main reasons why it’s important to visit your Montreal dentist regularly is to avoid serious dental issues like tooth decay and gum infections that could be easily prevented. Although a small cavity might not seem like something to worry about initially, if left unchecked and ultimately untreated, it can actually lead to more substantial issues down the road.

Gum Disease

Gum disease occurs when your gums become infected with bacteria that start attacking the underlying structures that keep your teeth solidly in place. Gum disease is one of the conditions that lead teeth to become loose and ultimately fall out. Tooth loss can be prevented easily by having gum disease diagnosed and taken care of early, which is something regularly done during regular six-month checkups.

Prevent plaque

Plaque is caused by the buildup of harmful bacteria in your teeth and gum line. The main cause of plaque buildup is usually attributed to bad brushing and poor cleaning habits. Your local dental provider will be happy to provide you more information on how to prevent plaque formation..

Oral Cancer Detection

Oral cancer is a very serious condition that can show itself in various ways. Without knowing the signs of how it appears, oral cancer is often not diagnosed in time and can progress and become life threatening very rapidly. Fortunately when caught at an early stage oral cancer diagnosis is often easily treatable. Since your dentist is trained to recognize the specific signs and symptoms of the different oral cancers, it’s important for you to attend all your regular dental checkups (every six months) to maximize your chances of catching it in time.

Diagnosis of the early signs oral cancer is key in treating it successfully, and while you may not find oral abnormalities when you brush your teeth at home, your dentist will definitely be able to find the signs.

Head, Neck, and Lymph Node Checks

The cancer screening exam not only includes the mouth, gums, and tongue for signs of oral cancer, it also focuses on your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes that are situated just below your jawline, to find any suspicious swelling, lumps, or abnormalities. If the event that something unusual would be found, by doing these regular checks your dentist will be able to address it quickly or can refer you to another medical professional if needs be.

Dental Checkups Are Worth the Effort

Dental professionals are not only trained to fix your teeth they are also able to help clean your teeth, and ensure your teeth and gums will remain healthy for a long time. Dentists are uniquely positioned to find anomalies that would otherwise go unnoticed and could lead to more serious health issues. They make sure that your bones are healthy, teeth strong and are there to help you correct any bad habits that could be undermining your oral health.

Skipping dental appointments may not seem like a big deal at first, but oral problems can appear and progress very fast when you don’t have a dental specialist to help you notice them. Don’t forget, by keeping on top of your regular dental cleanings you’re doing yourself and your smile a big favour in the long run.

Stressing over oral health is no fun. Not knowing what’s causing tooth decay, cavities, and could lead to a long line of complications is much worse. Know more about what can harm your teeth to take preventive measures that will save you many trips to the dentist.

Here are twelve things that can (and almost always do) harm your teeth.

1. Binge Eating

Binge eating alone does not technically harm your teeth. Processed junk food is almost always the culprit of binge eating sessions. Sugary, high-carbohydrate, and sticky food is terrible on your teeth. Eating through the day, too, is generally bad. The longer the food sticks around, the more acid and bacteria have time to wreak havoc.

2. Chewing Ice

How can water be bad for your teeth? Chomping on ice is proven to create chips, cracks, and wears your teeth down much as a file does to your nails. Sucking on a piece of ice to lubricate your mouth, on the other hand, doesn’t harm your smile at all.

3. Grinding Your Teeth and Clenching Your Jaw

Grinding your teeth may be a habit you’re aware of, a nervous tick, or something you do in your sleep. Grinding and clenching can lead to enamel loss, muscle soreness, and even damage to the bones and ligaments in your jaw.

4. Hard Candy and Soft “Gummy” Candy

It’s well-known that candy doesn’t do your teeth any favors. Hard candy and soft candy have something in common. They both stick around in your mouth for an extended period of time. Sugar loves bacteria, and when given more time, it produces more acids. Tooth decay and gum disease follow as a result. Hard candies, similar to ice, can crack your teeth as well.

5. Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking provides a natural pacifier for many young children. At very young ages, it’s dismissable, but if done for an extended period of time, say, over the years, it can cause severe damage. Alignment problems can lead to a whole host of health issues, including periodontitis, Occlusal Disease, and infections throughout the body.

6. Smoking

Smoking, in addition to causing bad breath, stains teeth yellow. This is true of chewing tobacco as well. Smoking cigarettes makes your mouth more acidic, a lesser-known fact, which causes tooth decay.

7. Wine

Wine makes for a primarily underestimated enemy to the health and structure of your teeth, especially red wine, which contains tannins, proven to be very acidic. Alcohol, as well, is metabolized and turns to sugar.

8. Soda (Especially Dark Cola)

Dark cola and soda tend to create cravings for more pop, sugar, and low-quality carbohydrates. All of which are huge contributors to tooth decay. Along with high-sugar, soda and cola are especially acidic.

9. Coffee

Coffee is known to stain teeth and make for “coffee breath,” however, it also causes dry mouth and is high in acidity. Most beverages containing caffeine are detrimental to oral health.

10. No Routine Dental Care and or Poor Hygiene

Arguably the most significant contributor to poor oral health is poor hygiene and maintenance. If you’re not brushing two to three times a day, not flossing, or not using mouthwash, then you’re allowing bacteria to build up. More bacteria means more tooth decay and more costly trips to the dentist.

Prevention is your best weapon. Stay on top of hygiene and maintenance, and you’ll give less room for complications to arise. On that note, don’t brush too enthusiastically. Over-brushing your teeth can damage the enamel as well as your gums. Gums can easily be pushed back over time and once they do, they don’t recover.

11. Playing Sports or Activities Without a Mouthguard

Contact sports, high-impact sports, and martial arts can result in severe and sudden trauma. To prevent losing a tooth to a favored past time, invest in a dental-grade mouth guard. Talk to your Montreal dentist, and you can have one tailor-made for your smile.

12. Using Your Teeth as Tools

Your mouth is not a can opener. Resist the urge to show off. It’s not worth chipping or losing a tooth. Avoid the habit of opening packages with your teeth. Last of all, no nail-biting. Chewing fingernails can rot, crack, chip, wear your teeth down, and damage your jaw.

Nowadays, our knowledge about tooth loss has improved enough to stop this phenomenon among adults. To find out what you can do to protect your teeth, we’ll debunk some common myths about tooth loss in adults.

Myth #1: Losing teeth is a natural part of ageing

Tooth loss is not natural among adults, and it is completely preventable. The number one cause of tooth loss is gum disease, which accounts for 70% of cases. You might be surprised how prevalent gum disease is, with 3 out of 4 adults affected to some degree. Many of them are not aware of it, because their condition may be mild enough that they ignore the symptoms.

Gum disease starts with gingivitis, when gums become swollen, irritated and prone to bleeding. As the condition becomes more severe, your gums will pull away from your teeth due to plaque build-up. When the roots of your teeth become exposed, your chance for decay and tooth sensitivity increase.

As gum disease progresses, it may cause damage to the jaw bone underneath your gums, cutting away support for your teeth, which results in tooth loss.

Tooth decay is another common culprit for tooth loss. If a cavity goes untreated for too long, it can damage deeper tissues in your tooth. Tooth removal may be necessary if the pulp has become infected or if an abscess has formed in the root of your tooth.

Sometimes accidents or injuries can cause tooth loss if the tooth becomes chipped or cracked. Car accidents, falls, and sports injuries are all common causes. To keep your teeth strong, don’t use them to complete tasks they are not intended for, like biting off tags, opening cans or bottles, and crunching on ice or popcorn kernels.

Myth #2: Lost teeth are lost forever

Tooth loss does not have to be permanent. Dental implants can help you regain confidence while protecting your teeth and gums. Spaces from missing teeth make it easy for bacteria to spread through your body, putting you at a higher risk for infection and chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.

Nowadays, dental implants have a success rate of around 98%. This procedure is usually done by an oral surgeon or periodontal specialist. First, an artificial root will be implanted in your jaw at the sight of the missing tooth. After your gums heal, an artificial tooth will be screwed into the implant.

Myth #3: Tooth loss is caused by poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common reasons that adults develop gum disease. However, some people are more prone to periodontitis because of their genetics.

A strong link has been discovered between periodontal disease and chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Doctors are still not sure exactly how the two affect each other, but they have concluded that improving your oral health is an important step to protect yourself against serious illnesses that affect other parts of the body.

Smoking has a significant impact on the health of your gums. This includes all forms of tobacco use, even smokeless cigarettes. Your risk of periodontal disease may also increase with stress, sleep deficiency, and poor nutrition.

Limited access to affordable dental care is another major factor in tooth loss. It’s also part of the reason that many retired people and those living at lower socioeconomic levels are more affected by tooth loss and gum disease.

What You Can Do to Prevent Tooth Loss

There are many steps you can take to prevent tooth loss.

  1. Keep a routine of good dental hygiene. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. Don’t brush too vigorously, because this can damage your gums. Use toothpaste with fluoride to strengthen the enamel of your teeth.
  2.  Floss daily. Many people skip this step, but flossing is perhaps the most important defence against gum disease.
  3. Protect your toothbrush against bacteria. Don’t share a toothbrush with someone else. Wash your toothbrush periodically in a dishwasher or stir it in a cup of mouthwash for 30 seconds. You can also soak the brush in vinegar overnight. Store your toothbrush upright so it can dry after use.
  4. Quit smoking. Smoking irritates your gums and compromises your immune system. Even smokeless tobacco has a significant impact on your gum’s health.
  5. Take care of yourself. Find positive ways to deal with your stress. Try to get a proper amount of sleep.

Keep a balanced diet. Make sure you are incorporating enough calcium and vitamin C into your diet. People with tooth loss often gravitate to softer foods that are high in carbohydrates because they are easier to consume. However, to keep healthy gums, you need to eat foods that are high in protein and fibre.