After six months without a professional dental cleaning, many people admit their teeth feel pretty scary: A little dark, maybe even a little fuzzy. Dental experts tend to agree that six months is a good interval between cleanings, but how and when did six months become the pearly white rule?
According to one interesting source, Mark Burhenne DDS, on “Ask the Dentist,” it all started with Pepsodent. To encourage dentists to recommend its product, the company that manufactured Pepsodent featured the following line in its ad campaigns: “Visit your dentist every six months.”
Another idea, this time from the Dental Wellness Institute, indicates that the six month recommendation might be related to the gestation of tooth decay. Decay caught early can prevent serious tooth damage, and when you take periodontal disease into account—which under the right conditions can start much sooner than six months—the case for more frequent cleanings becomes more convincing.
So how often should you have your teeth cleaned? The truth is that it varies, and that you’ll find the best answer by talking with your dentist and dental hygienist. Perhaps you could get away with a year, but perhaps you should have a cleaning every three or four months. Why? If you have periodontal disease, significant dental restorations, or chronic inflammatory disease such as heart disease or diabetes you’ll want to be checked more frequently.
Over the past year, the DeWan Dental Wellness team has undergone a big transition. Today we’re comprised of more millennials than boomers! From Ellen, our associate dentist, to our dental assistant, Kayla. And compared to the boomers, they are virtually cavity-free. How did that happen?
“My mom always was on my case about eating healthy and taking care of my teeth,” Kayla said. “She would always say, ‘You only get one set, and that’s it!’ So, it really scared me into a meticulous habit.”
Yes, but there has to more…
“Plus, she always got me the coolest toothbrushes,” Kayla added. “And she was also very good about getting me in for my regular cleanings and checkups.”
But cavity-free does not mean problem-free, and the American Dental Association has identified a number of dental issues that people in their 20s and 30s—the current age of millennials—should be aware of. These include increased sensitivity, teeth grinding, temporomandibular joint disorder and gum disease.
Dental check-ups still critical
According to Think Magazine, continued care is also still a must. Millennials grew up at the same time that our society began shifting away from drinking municipal tap water in favor of bottled water. The problem? Less fluoride. Without continual exposure to fluoride in the water, treatments provided by your dentist at regular check-ups become even more important.
Splint-like appliances to prevent collapse of the dentition
Though unrefined, these mechanisms helped lay the groundwork for today’s orthodontia. And now highly educated specialists (orthodontists) diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws.
Keep an eye out for Celeste Horvath and her husband, Steve, at the Lake Park 4th of July Celebration. They’ve volunteered with Mike for years to help run this major neighborhood event.
Born and raised on Hackett Avenue, Celeste has lived on the East Side for all but four years. Her commitment to this neighborhood is made up of quiet but powerful moments of walking our tree-lined streets, supporting local businesses and even how she cares for her dental health.
“What can’t you walk to on the East Side?” Celeste said. “You can walk to see a movie, pick up groceries and hardware, get your teeth cleaned and, of course, talk with neighbors. Invariably, you set a certain amount of time for a walk and then you bump into someone you know and the walk is twice as long. And I can’t imagine not seeing Lake Michigan nearly every day.”
She has been going to some iteration of DeWan Dental Wellness for her entire life.
“When I was five years old, I first saw Dr. Grant on Downer Avenue,” Celeste said. “He was way ahead of his time because he had TVs mounted in the treatment rooms. Then Dr. Schelkun bought Dr. Grant’s practice. He did my first root canal. And then when Mike took over we were hooked for life. I might be one of his biggest referral sources.”
As a real estate agent, Celeste actually shepherded our purchase of the Farwell Avenue properties 10 years ago. She credits her parents with her staunch commitment to dental health.
“Ninety percent of what happens above your neck contributes to everything that happens from the neck down,” Celeste said. “Even if we didn’t have dental insurance, we would make dental health a priority.”
Butter-drenched corn on the cob. Crunchy French bread piled high with basil and garden-ripe tomatoes. Bubblegum. These mouth-watering foods of summer bring exquisite pleasure but they also can bring jaw pain.
“Even yawning can overextend the jaw joint and cause strain and irritation,” Mike said. “Eating foods that require joint overextension combined with a chewing force create conditions ripe for jaw injury.”