Many people seem to have this perception that our health needs to be put into different categories. Whether this is a function of the way insurance is categorized or not is uncertain, but there are real perception differences when it comes to dental health and general health. While everyone is very much aware that it’s important to take care of their teeth, it’s sometimes forgotten the role your dental health plays in your overall health. That’s why it’s so important to go for regular dental cleanings.
With the exceptions of wisdom teeth extractions or the need to fill cavities, you might think of keeping up with your dental care as overall an aesthetic concern. After all, no one wants to deal with discolored or misaligned teeth. These conditions can be embarrassing and cause you to hide your smile out of a lack of self-confidence. Having self-confidence is important, certainly, but there is much more riding on your dental health than feeling comfortable smiling in pictures.
Many of the conditions that can befall your teeth and gums can have an effect on the rest of your health as well. Your dental health can also be an indicator of other things going on in your body. Because everything is interconnected when it comes to health, here are some of the ways that dental conditions can have a bearing on other parts of your body including your heart.
The benefits of regular dental cleanings
Regular dental cleanings have many benefits. For one thing, they keep your smile looking pristine so you
can show off your pearly whites. But, if that’s all they accomplished they wouldn’t be necessary every 6
months. You may have cavities you’re not aware of or a condition like bruxism could be causing damage.
Your doctor may even find signs of oral cancer which generally aren’t obvious to the untrained eye and
often don’t even cause pain. While finding cancer is relatively rare, there is one silent disease that is very
common and it’s critical that you stay on top of it. That would be gum disease. Gum disease, like
gingivitis or the more advanced periodontitis, can not only cause painful bleeding, but eventually lead to
tooth loss or other more serious conditions.
Here is what you need to know about gum disease like gingivitis.
Gingivitis is one of the most common health conditions in the world. In fact, it’s believed about 80% of
Americans have some level of gingivitis. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It makes sense though
considering many people don’t even realize they have it since it can be mild and almost symptomless for
years. However, it doesn’t stay that way forever. It can eventually cause your gums to recede and leave
you at risk for tooth loss and even make its way into the bones of your mouth if left alone.
How does this happen? Well, consider the function of your mouth. It’s the entry point for food and
drink. While it’s not fun to think about, everything has bacteria on it. That bacteria can get trapped in
the spaces between your teeth. If you don’t have a proper brushing and flossing regimen, this bacteria
can create hard tartar. Eventually, the gums become inflamed and that’s when you’ll notice bleeding
after brushing your teeth. Bacterial infections, however, can be complex. While your immediate concern might involve losing a
tooth, that’s not all.
How gum disease is linked to other conditions
Health professionals have long believed there is a link between gum disease and heart disease. Further
studies seem to confirm that. It’s been established that teeth cleanings actually lower the chances of
suffering a heart attack or stroke. While the exact mechanisms are unknown, it’s believed the bacteria
that causes gingivitis can travel throughout the body and cause hardening in the arteries as well. Chronic
inflammation anywhere in the body is harmful. There is also a believed correlation between gum disease
and diabetes. That’s not to say gum disease causes diabetes. It’s the reverse. If you already have
diabetes, you are more susceptible to gum disease which can then make your diabetes more difficult to
manage. It’s a cyclical effect. By keeping your dental health under control, you can also avoid
complications regarding chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
If you weren’t aware of how meaningful your dental health is to the rest of your body, hopefully you
understand the importance now. Making an appointment for a regular dental cleaning and checkup is
critical for staying healthy. If it’s been awhile since your last dentist visit, now is the best time to come in
for a cleaning and an assessment of your dental health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Ku and his team are dedicated to providing you with caring, individualized treatment to meet your
specific needs. Take care of your smile and your body.