Everyone knows that they should visit the dentist regularly for a checkup - but not everyone manages it. So what exactly are you missing if you don't have a regular visit?
Perhaps the most important reason for a regular checkup is to detect dental problems early. Catching tooth decay early means that treatment is far easier and less intensive; cavities will be smaller and will be easier to fill. This has the advantage that the treatment will be less expensive.
Gum disease can also be detected early. If left untreated it can lead to bigger health problems, including tooth loss. Allowing your dentist to detect it early means that its progress can be halted and even reversed.
Your daily brushing and flossing routine will go a long way to protecting your teeth and gums, but it won't be perfect. Your dentist will be able to scale and polish your teeth to a far greater extent, removing the tartar and plaque that can build up and eat away at the tooth's enamel.
This cleaning will also help to remove stains caused by coffee, tobacco and coloured foodstuffs, giving you a much brighter and whiter smile.
Dental checkups are also a good way of identifying wider health problems. Your dentist will be able to find signs of oral cancer, for example; as with all cancers, early detection vastly increases the chances of beating the disease. There is also plenty of evidence that good dental health can prevent a number of health problems, such as heart disease and respiratory diseases. A regular checkup will keep your mouth healthy and reduce your susceptibility to these diseases.
Problems with halitosis or bad breath are frequently caused by dental problems - for example, pieces of rotting food trapped between the teeth or from bacteria that form in the tartar on your teeth. By removing these problems, your dentist can also remove the problems that are causing your bad breath - and help remove possible causes of tooth decay and gum disease.
Even if it has been a long time since you went to the dentist, it is never too late to go back. Dentists are well used to seeing people who have been away for a while and can always help. It won't just protect you from tooth decay - it can help your overall health as well.