Far too often, people ignore their dental health. They ignore obvious oral health issues and don’t take advantage of routine exams and tooth cleanings. Recent government statistics point out that over a quarter of all people between 20 and 64 have untreated tooth decay. That problem is exacerbated by the current pandemic. If you’ve been ignoring your oral health, now is the time to discover why routine screenings and tooth cleanings are vitally important.
Oral Health Impacts Your Overall Health
Studies show conclusively that a patient’s oral health is directly related to their overall physical health. Poor oral health care can, and often will, adversely affect other parts of the body. Routine exams and tooth cleaning at Wilmot Family Dentistry help patients keep their teeth healthy, but those exams also help your care team discover signs of other medical issues that need treatment. Rather than risk your overall health, take the time now to schedule a routine cleaning and exam appointment.
What Diseases and Conditions Are Linked to Your Oral Health?
Most dental patients don’t understand the link between obtaining proper dental health care with other physical issues. Every part of the human body impacts other, which suggests it always pays to monitor potential problems if you wish to remain healthy. Here are a few medical conditions experts believe are directly impacted by poor oral health.
- Cardiovascular Disease: The medical community is closely monitoring and researching the relationship between heart disease and oral bacteria. At this point, there is no direct evidence of a relationship, but the frequency of these conditions co-existing is striking. If you’ve been diagnosed with any type of cardiovascular condition, including strokes and clogged arteries, it’s a good idea to schedule a routine exam with a dental clinic to determine if your oral health could be impacting other parts of your body.
- Pregnancy Issues: Many mothers-to-be experience oral health issues. If those issues are allowed to fester, there is a significant chance the pregnancy could be negatively impacted. It’s especially important to treat periodontitis, even in its earliest stages.
- Endocarditis: This condition involves an infection of the heart’s lining. In many cases, the infection occurs when oral bacteria spread to other parts of the body. Since the ramifications of endocarditis are severe, it’s always better to reduce or prevent the spread of bacteria by obtaining routine dental care, including oral exams and cleaning.
In additional situations, other diseases directly impact a patient’s oral health. Some of those include:
- Eating Disorders: Patients with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa often experience a decline in their oral health. A balanced diet is vital for overall health, and patients with eating disorders rarely get the nutrition needed to remain healthy.
- Diabetes: Patients with diabetes generally experience more infections. That means gum disease, for example, is far more likely to occur. If you’re diabetic, obtaining routine dental care is vitally important.
- Osteoporosis: Bone loss occurs throughout the body when patients have osteoporosis, and that includes the jaw area. Discuss the issue with your care team to determine how often to schedule exams and routine care.
Of course, there are other conditions that will impact a person’s oral health. Remember that oral health experts, as well as physicians, understand the relationships between various diseases and oral health. Scheduling routine visits to Wilmot Family Dentistry is a great way to maintain your oral health and, in some cases, spot other health threats.
Also see: How to find the right emergency dentist
What Should Patients Expect During a Routine Exam and Tooth Cleaning?
Visiting a dental office can trigger panic in some individuals, but there really isn’t any reason to be concerned. Today, all dental care professionals understand that patients will experience some level of anxiety during an office visit, and those experts take steps to help patients get through the visit without suffering. While patients may require different types of care, routine exams and cleanings share common things. If you’re wondering what to expect during a routine office for an exam and tooth cleaning, here’s what’s likely to happen.
- A staff member will take X-rays. A complete set of X-rays alerts the dentist when problems are developing. While it may not be necessary to take new X-rays during every visit, most dentists prefer to do so to avoid missing conditions needing care. The procedure is painless, and newer equipment reduces the chances of issues related to exposure to radiation. In addition, the results of those X-rays are available instantly.
- Scaling is next. A dental hygienist uses a scalar to remove built-up tartar and plaque from the patient’s teeth. Patients who schedule cleaning appointments twice per year rarely have a lot of plaque or tartar buildup, but individuals who haven’t had their teeth cleaned for several years will generally require scaling to get those substances under control.
- Deep cleaning. A specialized brush and toothpaste are used to remove any remaining plaque and tartar, but the treatment also eliminates many surface stains that make teeth appear discolored or blotchy.
- A fluoride treatment may be recommended. Fluoride treatments keep tooth enamel strong. If you’re concerned about using fluoride, discuss the issue with the hygienist to determine how to proceed.
If problems are identified during the visit, the dental office will either address those issues immediately or, when possible, schedule another appointment to provide additional care.
Protect Your Oral Health Between Visits
To minimize the potential for developing oral health issues, practicing good daily oral hygiene is always recommended. It’s far better to prevent problems from developing than it is to treat those issues later. Here are a few things you can do to maintain your oral health.
- Brush and floss your teeth at least twice per day. This is, arguably, the most important step anyone can take to maintain their oral health. If you experience food particles sticking between your teeth frequently, consider carrying dental floss with you to remove those particles.
- Eat a healthy diet. Poor nutrition will increase the odds of dental health issues developing. Avoid foods and drinks containing processed sugars.
- Use a mouthwash. Using a mouthwash after brushing and flossing helps to rinse food scraps from the mouth and reduces harmful bacteria. Your breath will be fresher and you’re less likely to develop new cavities.
Your dental care providers may recommend other steps to improve your oral health.
Call for an Appointment Now
If it’s been a while since your last exam and tooth cleaning, now is the time to schedule an appointment. If you’ve got questions, the clinic’s representatives will gladly answer your questions.