It's not a new revelation that seeing a dentist for a routine teeth cleaning is important for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. During these visits, your dentist will examine your mouth to check for oral cancer, diabetes, and vitamin deficiencies, in addition to plaque and tartar build up. Plaque and tartar can build up quickly if good oral hygiene is not practiced between visits. If not removed, soft plaque can turn to hard plaque, which can then irritates gum tissue and can even lead to gum disease if untreated.
The Danger of Irregular Dental Cleanings
Going over 18 months without a professional cleaning is where people start getting in the danger zone and face the risk of bone loss due to bacteria build up. When bacteria build up in the mouth, it leads to tartar formation, which when left unchecked, causes inflammation of the gums and eventually irreversible bone loss around the teeth. So make sure you keep up on your visits!
The Benefits of Regular Dental Visits
Visiting your dentist for routine dental exams may reveal a number of hidden health problems, including bone, heart, digestive, and more. This is because certain warning signs of these diseases exist in the mouth. Consequently, according to the American Heart Association, people who receive regular teeth cleanings are at a 24% lower risk for heart attacks and a 13% lower risk for stroke compared to those who do not.
What might your dentist find during a routine visit?
Dementia: According to a recently published study by the Journal of American Geriatric Society, poor oral hygiene may be a risk factor for dementia in elderly patients.
Heart and Coronary Artery Disease: Inflamed gums and loose teeth can be warning signs of heart disease. Certain gum diseases, like periodontitis, can contribute to coronary artery disease if the bacteria in your gums travels to your heart. Bacteria can also increase risk of heart disease by contributing to the formation of clots, or greater plaque build up in your arteries can interfere with blood flow to your heart.
Diabetes: Gum disease, bleeding gums, and loose teeth are all warning signs of diabetes.
Osteoporosis: Your dentist could catch your osteoporosis before you even notice it on your own. This disease doesn’t change your teeth, but it does change the bone supporting your teeth. Your dentist can spot this as it presents itself in a receding gum line and in loose teeth.
Eating Disorder: A dentist may be the first to spot an eating disorder, as such disorders cause poor nutrition, which shows through oral conditions like bleeding gums and dry mouth. Erosion on the insides of the front teeth can be a sign of an eating disorder that a patient is struggling with.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Erosion of enamel from the insides of the teeth, particularly the upper back molars, is a warning sign of GERD. You may not even be aware of the disease until a dentist sees it’s effects in your dental health. This disease can cause erosion of the esophagus and even lead to esophageal cancer, so if your dentist sees these signs it is important to let your doctor know.
Dental health is a key element in total body health, and as such, is not something that should be overlooked or neglected. Keeping up with regular dental visits will help keep you in a healthy physical state. If you’re past due for your routine visit, call today to schedule a cleaning and keep on the path of optimum health!