How Preventive Dental Care Can Impact Your Overall Health
Healthy Mouth, Healthy You
The advantages of preventive care are more than just a great smile.
It can also prevent costly complications down the road and help detect serious health issues early enough to make a significant difference in successfully treating them. We all know regular brushing and flossing at least twice a day is the minimum we should be doing to take care of our teeth and gums. And that goes a long way! But there is more you can do to help keep your teeth and your whole mouth healthy.
Many oral disease conditions are preventable with early treatment. For instance, dental sealants reduce cavities in permanent molars (where 9 out of 10 cavities occur) by 80% for two years after placement and protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
Preventive dental care is recommended by your Sun City dentists at Burns Dentistry. Preventative care includes both at-home maintenance as well as regular oral exams and professional-grade routine cleaning.
Benefits of Preventative Care
Here are five reasons preventive care is key to keeping your mouth and gums healthy, and in turn, help protect your overall health:
- Detects problems early: The earlier we can spot tooth decay, gum, or periodontal disease, the better we can treat them before extensive damage is done.
- Prevents decay and cavities: Regular brushing and flossing, combined with regular professional cleanings, can prevent these problems in the first place.
- Strengthens your teeth: Using fluoride toothpaste helps protect and strengthen your teeth by promoting the reabsorption of essential minerals like calcium and phosphate. Plus, it can help protect your teeth from acid attacks produced by sugar and even reverse a cavity in the very early stages.
- Improves your oral and overall health: Dental decay can cause periodontal disease, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease. Certain conditions, such as high blood sugar, can even be detected early with regular dental checkups. Signs and symptoms of some systemic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and diabetes, might show up in the mouth first. Preventive care also includes screenings for oral cancer, which is critical to detect early.
- Saves you money: Preventative care is much less costly than treating the results of dental decay and other issues that can develop without regular visits and proper at-home care. It is better to avoid tooth extractions and other restorative or cosmetic dental procedures if possible and the costs associated with maintaining them. Plus, dental emergencies caused by oral diseases result in millions of hours of lost school hours and billions of dollars in lost productivity in the U.S. every year.
Benefits for More Than Your Mouth
Regular preventive dental care also helps reduce dental problems related to some chronic medical conditions. Diabetes, osteoporosis, certain cancers, and eating disorders can all affect dental and oral health. For people with chronic conditions, regular preventive dental care is an essential part of maintaining overall health.
Preventive care could even help preserve your memory! According to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, adults with gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gums) performed worse on tests of memory and other cognitive skills than did those with healthier gums and mouths. Those with gingivitis were more likely to perform poorly on two tests: delayed verbal recall and subtraction.
How to Care for Your Mouth
In addition to regular visits to your Sun City dentists for oral exams and professional-grade cleanings to remove plaque, here are some of the things you can do at home to practice good preventive dental care:
- Properly brush your teeth with fluoride-based toothpaste and floss at least once a day, and don’t forget to brush your tongue! Bacteria on the tongue can build up, cause bad breath and lead to oral yeast infections.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are splayed or worn.
- Eat a healthy diet, avoid acidic foods that can harm tooth enamel and foods that stain, and limit food with added sugars.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products, as they can lead to cancer and other dental problems.
- If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist for a nighttime mouth guard to help reduce gum recession.
- Keep an eye out for changes in your gums, tongue, lips, and throat. If you notice soreness or irritation, difficulty moving your jaw or tongue, or swelling, see a dentist or a doctor.
Burns Dentistry: Your Partner in Prevention
Don’t be afraid to ask us for advice on the right toothbrush for you, tips on brushing techniques, or for an oral screening on your next visit. Contact Burns Dentistry in Sun City to schedule your preventive care appointment today!