Regular preventative dental care is crucial to your long-term health; not just your smile’s beauty. When you go to your appointment, your dentist doesn’t just clean your teeth. They also check your mouth for signs of health problems and are often the first to detect issues like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Read on to learn how your dentist is one of the key guardians of your overall health.
It’s a Mistake to Ignore a Toothache
Headaches come and go, so you might think that a toothache might be the same way. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While toothaches can be caused by trauma, facial swelling, or a large piece of food wedged between the teeth, they are often caused by advanced tooth decay that has breached the tooth’s outer layers and reached the soft pulp at the center. At this point, the tooth will be lost without medical intervention, and the infection can potentially lead to devastating secondary infections like sepsis.
Luckily, regular dental examinations can catch and treat the beginnings of tooth decay. This might be done with a filling or by advising the patient on how they should improve their oral hygiene routine.
A Dentist Can Put You at Ease About Diabetes and Heart Disease
Poor dental health breeds bacteria that can infect the bloodstream. Once there, they can contribute to the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, stressing the cardiovascular system and increasing the risks of heart disease and heart attacks. Similarly, the constant stress of the immune system fighting a chronic infection can strain the endocrine system, increasing the risk of or exacerbating diabetes. If you want your heart and glands to work properly in the long term, you will need to see your dentist regularly.
Ignore Oral Cancer? I Can’t, Sir!
Oral cancer is a dangerous health condition that can be effectively treated if caught early. When your dentist is poking, prodding, and moving that little mirror around in your mouth, they’re not just checking for plaque and tartar. They’re also checking for unusual growths like abscesses or tumors. Dentists are often the first medical professionals to catch a patient’s cancer, allowing it to be treated in its early stages before it becomes a life-threatening issue.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and prevention is the whole reason behind regular dental appointments. Showing up at the dentist’s office every six months is a huge part of keeping your mouth and the rest of your body healthy for life.
About the Author
Dr. Daniel Jordan Berquist completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the Indiana University School of Dentistry. He serves as a proud member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Northwest Indiana Dental Society. His practice in Crown Point, IN offers preventive, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry. To schedule a dental appointment, contact his office online or dial (219) 226-0544.