Why Regular Dental Visits Are Crucial to Maintaining Good Overall Health
January 5, 2023
It’s that time of year again when we’re all making our list of new year’s resolutions! Most of us, every year, put our health somewhere at the top of that list. But what about our dental health? More often than not, we forget, or are completely unaware that our dental health and our overall health are connected! With that being said, there are many reasons that routine dental visits are crucial in maintaining good overall health. Here are just a few to consider:
- Oral Cancer Detection– You may not have even been aware, but at your routine dental visits your dentist conducts a soft tissue exam. During this exam, your dentist checks your face, gums, tongue, lips, and entire mouth for possible signs of cancer. Oral cancer is an extremely serious disease that manifests itself in various ways and without knowing the signs of its early onset, oral cancer often goes undiagnosed. If caught in its early stages, oral cancer can be easily treatable but if undiagnosed oral cancer can progress quickly. Treatment can be very disfiguring and later stages can be life-threatening.
- Head, Neck, and Lymph Node Checks– In addition to checking your mouth, gums, and tongue for signs of oral cancer, your dentist also checks your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes, located just below your jawline, for any swelling, lumps, or other abnormalities. If an abnormality is found it could be a sign of a major health issue, such as cancer, and your dentist will alert you to it and refer you to the appropriate medical professional.
- Education On Dental Hygiene & Your Overall Health -The mouth is not only the main pathway into the body but also the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. There are up to six million bacteria present in a typical person’s mouth and if uncontrolled, these bacteria can multiply and enter the bloodstream, affecting other parts of the body. Periodontal disease has been linked to over 57 systemic diseases, including, for example, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory issues, pregnancy, and birth complications, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping bacteria in check and staying on top of and informed about your oral health by attending your routine dental cleanings is pertinent to your health as a whole.
- Plaque, Tartar, and Cavities- Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Even with the most diligent home care, there are still areas in the mouth that are missed by regular brushing and flossing. When plaque builds up and mixes with your saliva, on average it only takes about 10 to 12 days for plaque to turn into tartar. Tartar is a hard, calcified deposit that is extremely difficult to remove without professional help. If present long enough, without being disrupted, tartar can contribute to cavities, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and even bone loss.
- Periodontal Disease– Without treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis (Periodontal Disease). Periodontitis is inflammation of the periodontium, which is the gum tissue and bone that keep your teeth in place. As the condition progresses, it can cause teeth to loosen. Gingivitis is reversible, whereas periodontitis is not. Regular dental cleanings can help prevent this progression!
- Finding Problems Early with Dental X-Rays – Routine dental radiographs allow dental professionals to see what is happening beneath the surface. Dentists can find and diagnose issues while they are small and before they even cause a patient any discomfort if x-rays are taken frequently. Early diagnosis means easier treatment and easier treatment requires much less time and ultimately, much less money!
- Keeping Bad Breath in Check– regular dental cleanings will help remove the bacteria that cause bad breath. During a regular dental appointment, your hygienist will evaluate your oral health and educate you on the products, rinses, and/or tools, that you can incorporate into your home care routine to help with bad breath and any other issues you may be experiencing!
- Cosmetic Concerns– For many people, dental cosmetic concerns can be debilitating and isolating. When people are unhappy with their smile it can keep them from socializing with family and friends and make it difficult to eat foods they enjoy. Oftentimes, missing teeth, severe cavities, and infection can make it difficult to eat at all! Cosmetic concerns can actually be much more serious than just aesthetics. Untreated tooth decay and untreated gum disease can result in extreme pain, infection, and inflammation which can spread to the rest of your body, resulting in more serious health concerns.
With all of these things considered, you cannot take control of your overall health without being proactive about your oral health. This is your year, now is the time! Call and schedule your routine dental visit today!