When is the last time you went to the dentist for a regular checkup? For most people, the answer isn’t every six months like your dentist office recommended. With so much going on in our daily lives, we aren’t willing to sacrifice the time and money it takes to keep up with routine checkups to our oral health. As a result, visits to the dentist get rescheduled or canceled under a misguided belief that they aren’t essential to our overall well-being.  In reality, all of the horror stories your dentist tells you about neglecting these visits are true – and they can happen to anyone.

A Reaction to Your Daily Routine

If you are someone who brushes and flosses on a daily basis, going to the dentist seems like an even bigger waste of time. It’s not that you don’t care about your oral hygiene, but you don’t believe you need a professional to do what you’re already doing. Sound familiar?

Some people underestimate the impact that daily habits can have on their oral hygiene. Sure, some of it is common sense – we all know that drinking coffee and being is smoker is bad for your teeth. Other things we do (or don’t do) can also affect the health of our teeth and gums, like biting our nails or clenching our teeth during sleep. Even the way we brush can affect our overall oral health, so don’t think you’re off the hook if you brush twice a day.

Far too often, trips to the dentist are the outcome of something bad happening. You feel a cavity while you’re eating something sugary or notice that your gums are starting to recede. If you’re not keeping tabs on when you next dental appointment is, and following through on it, you are increasing the chance of more severe problems arising. You may get off easy the first time or two – the dentist may just need to fill a few cavities. For others, continued neglect can lead to tooth loss, oral cancer, or gum disease.

Thinking About Your Overall Health

Bad oral hygiene can have impacts on your overall health, not just your teeth and gums. When left untreated, it can lead to major health problems like cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, diabetes, complications in pregnancy, and more. Oral infections can lead to bacteria in the blood stream, elevated sugar levels, and the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Once something like this happens, the symptoms will only get more severe without professional treatment.

It goes without that saying that many problems related to our oral hygiene can be painful, expensive, and embarrassing. It’s crucial to remember that regular, professional cleanings can help you avoid having to experience this.  If you’re thinking about skipping your next dentist appointment, rethink what that could mean for your oral hygiene in the future. A few bad decisions now can have severe consequences down the road – even for people who practice good oral hygiene at home.