You know dentists recommend that you have a cleaning and checkup about every six months. But with work andfamily responsibilities, you're just too busy to see the dentist. Is it such a big deal to skip your cleaningand wait until next year?

Skipping your twice-yearly checkup can have a bigger impact than you might think. Here's why youshouldn't.

1. You're More Likely to Get Cavities

While daily brushing and flossing can remove a lot of plaque, it's impossible to get everything. Dentistsand dental hygienists use advanced equipment and cleaning skills to remove hardened plaque and tartar fromyour teeth. When this plaque is not removed regularly, it can lead to cavities.

2. You're at Greater Risk of Gum Disease

When you don't get your teeth and gums cleaned regularly, you also risk developing gum disease. Plus,skipping your dental cleaning lets gum disease progress if left unchecked. If you do develop gum disease,it's best for your dentist to catch it in its early stages. Otherwise, it can become more dangerous and caneven cause tooth loss.

3. You Avoid Fixing Dental Problems

No matter which dental problems you may have, your dentist can diagnose and treat them at your regularappointment. Along with checking for cavities and gum disease, your dentist also checks for other seriousdental problems like oral cancer. Plus, your dentist checks for more minor problems like chipped teeth orbroken fillings.

4. You May Risk Poorer Overall Health

Many studies link periodontal disease to other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, andcancer. It's unclear whether periodontal disease causes other diseases, whether these diseases causeperiodontal disease, or whether another factor causes both periodontal disease and other diseases. Whateverthe case, regular teeth cleanings are an important step to preserving your overall health.

5. You Miss Out on Hygienic Benefits

Along with the health benefits of a dental cleaning, there are many hygienic benefits as well. Forexample, teeth cleanings remove stains to help your teeth look whiter and brighter. They also help preventbad breath.

6. You Miss Out on Money Savings

Regular dental checkups help you save money by helping you avoid expensive dental procedures. If you havedental insurance, a twice-yearly dental cleaning typically comes with no out-of-pocket cost. The only cost tovisiting the dentist for a checkup is the cost of time-and it's time well spent.

7. You Let Go of a Good Habit

Perhaps missing one dental checkup won't cause serious problems. But if you miss one dental checkup, youcan more easily forget about future checkups. Staying in the habit of regular checkups is an important partof maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

How to Make Dental Checkups a Priority

Even if you're familiar with all these reasons, you might still find it difficult to get to yourappointment. Here are some tips to help you make your next dental checkup a priority.

  • Schedule your appointment months in advance. Write the appointment in your planner or save it on yourphone.
  • If you have a busy work schedule, check if your dentist offers early morning, evening, or weekendappointments.
  • Find a dentist near your work and schedule an appointment during lunch.
  • See if you can take a day off work to attend your dental appointment along with other neededappointments.
Most dental cleanings take about an hour, and the benefits they provide help you all year long. Just asyou need a yearly medical checkup to maintain your physical health, you need a twice-yearly dental checkup tomaintain your dental health. Call your dentist todayto set up your next dental checkup.