Not Going to the Dentist
A recent study by the American Dental Association revealed that between 30-40% of the population will not or do not plan to see a dentist on a regular basis (within a 12 month period). The two main reasons found in this study, regardless of income or socioeconomic status were: 1, people did not have the resources and could not afford dental care and 2, people did not perceive the need for dental care. A third reason although a common concern, was not as important: fear or anxiety about going to the dentist.
Importance of Dental Wellness
In spite of financial concerns and not perceiving the need for dental care, it is vital to your overall health and wellness to see a dentist on a regular 6 month basis. There have been several studies that link unhealthy gums to an increased risk of heart disease and complications with management of several systemic diseases such as diabetes. Furthermore, people in high risk for oral cancer from smoking and or high alcohol consumption can be screened for early changes in the mouth that may prevent the progression of cancer. Also many medications such as blood pressure meds, sleep aids, antihistamines and antidepressants, have side effects that cause dry mouth or Xerostomia. Moderate dry mouth can lead to severe tooth decay, bad breath and general discomfort in the mouth. This could easily be managed with supplements recommended by your dentist or dental professional and prevent tooth decay.
A regular dental wellness visit will include a thorough examination of the mouth for tissue changes as mentioned above, evaluation for gum disease, signs of underlying systemic diseases such as diabetes, and detect signs tooth decay. As already alluded to, healthy gums are very important for overall health, if signs of gum disease are present you may need to see a dentist more often. If areas of decay are found, they can be treated before they become bigger problems. Dentistry doesn’t have to be expensive its usually neglect that leads to more expensive treatment. If you wait until you have pain, its usually too late to just fill the tooth and you will probably need more extensive treatment such as a root canal or extraction. Healthy dentition is also very important for over all quality of life. Missing or broken teeth will compromise your ability to chew effectively leading to gastrointestinal problems and poor digestion.
The dental wellness will also include a thorough cleaning, removal of calculus build up that leads to bad breath and gum disease, review your home care as well as necessary x-rays to evaluate the bone and underlying structures.
A regular dental wellness visit should be a part of your regular health routine. Your health begins in the mouth, a healthy mouth is a healthy body.
If you are looking for a dentist or need dental care, contact Dr. Perez’ office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by going to their website at www.crookedoakdental.com.
Dr. Jose Perez is a guest writer for Personal HealthConnect. He is a member of the ADA, AGD, PADA, and Lancaster County Dental Society. He received his DMD degree in 1983. His practice is the Crooked Oak Dental Associates in Lancaster, PA. If you would like more information on his practice go to www.crookedoakdental.com