Dental health is a key ‘adulting’ skill. We’re here to help.
Growing up, you probably didn’t think about your teeth very much. You just brushed your teeth when your parents told you and went to the dentist when your mum booked you in. But now, you and your teeth need to fend for yourself. It’s easy to avoid the dentist. You don’t have time or money or will. But frankly, your teeth need good dental care. Early intervention is more effective than problem-solving. Dental health plays an important role in your overall physical and mental wellbeing. Dentists are your friends. So with all that said, how often should you go to the dentist?
Every six months
Most dentists recommend you book a checkup every six months. At the very least, you need to go at least once a year. Why? Because that is about the amount of time it takes for something to go wrong. Early intervention is essential for issues such as gum disease and cavities. The earlier, the better. So by booking in to the dentist every six months, you stand the best chance of catching these issues at an early stage. Further, regular checkups allow your dentist to keep on top of your dental hygiene. The strength and look of your teeth benefits from fairly regular professional cleaning and scaling.
What happens at a check-up?
Maybe (no judgement) part of the reason you’ve been avoiding regular dentist appointments is that you’re a bit nervous. For those of us who had bad dentistry experiences as children, it can take a lot of guts to book in. But rest assured that most dentists are extremely gentle and sensitive. If you’re a nervous patient, make sure you let your dentist know. There are even some dentistry clinics who specialise in catering for nervous patients. Either way, a regular checkup isn’t scary—we promise. Here’s what you can expect:
- Your dentist will have a look around your mouth, checking for any issues.
- They will clean your teeth, some of the machines are loud but totally pain-free.
- If you’ve got any specific issues, your dentist will let you know what the next-steps are.
- They’ll give you some advice about how to better care for your teeth. They might suggest new products or routines.
What about… money?
Perhaps you’re avoiding the dentistry chair because you’re worried about how much it is going to cost. You’ve heard horror stories about dentist bills. Well, we’ve got two pieces of advice for you:
1. What is your health worth?
Dental health is integral to your general health and wellbeing. Poor oral health leads to nutritional issues and even more significant problems such as heart and lung diseases, stroke, pregnancy issues and diabetes. The Australian Government’s Oral Health Committee says this: ‘Oral health is fundamental to overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. A healthy mouth enables people to eat, speak and socialise without pain, discomfort or embarrassment. The impact of oral disease on people’s everyday lives is subtle and pervasive, influencing eating, sleep, work and social roles. The prevalence and recurrences of these impacts constitutes a silent epidemic’. How much are these issues worth to you? Dentistry could be essential for your long term health. If you can afford it— it is absolutely worth every penny.
2. Private health insurance could be the answer
Most private health funds cover general checkups. You don’t need to fork over huge amounts of money on the spot. If you’ve got private health insurance, you’ll be able to get the dental care you need when you need it. Regular checkups don’t have to cost the earth. This is another reason to think seriously about investing in private health insurance. If you’re interested in learning more about private health insurance, check out this useful guide here.
Taking care of yourself
Going to the dentist is just about the most grownup thing you can do—except for maybe filing your tax return. Yes, it’s a bit of an admin hassle and it’ll cost you a little bit. Perhaps, if you’ve had bad dentistry experiences in the past, it will even be a little nerve wracking. But it’s worth it. To promote your general health, you need to look after yourself and your teeth are a part of that. In between checkups, remember to brush twice a day and avoid sugary drinks. Choose a local dentist and go there regularly building a relationship with someone who knows you and your teeth. If you haven’t sat in a dentist’s chair for a while… it might be time. Go on, give them a ring. Your pearly whites will thank you.