By Harshada Rajani
Did you know that regular dental checkups can actually help to prevent heart attacks? Or that poor hygiene can contribute to the development of diabetes, or even Alzheimer’s? Most people don’t realize how crucial dental appointments are, not only for our dental health but our overall health as well. Bacteria found on our gums and teeth, if not taken care of, can easily make its way into our bloodstream and wreak havoc throughout our entire body. To explain this further, I have to tell you about one pesky, little word – the undisputed arch nemesis of healthy teeth – plaque.
Plaque is a sticky and invisible film of bacteria that is constantly forming on every individual’s teeth. Though the formation of plaque is quite normal, it is crucial to keep its growth in check. Otherwise, the consequences of unregulated plaque buildup can be staggering. It can lead to adverse effects such as tooth discoloration, bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease and sometimes even tooth loss. But even scarier, the buildup of bacteria-filled plaque can cause infection and inflammation in almost every system in the body. From heart disease to infertility, poor oral hygiene can have some severe, while unintended, consequences.
To help our teeth win the never-ending battle against plaque, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that every individual should brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once a day, and avoid sugary drinks and snacks. Though these recommendations may be doable for some, the time and discipline required seems almost impossible for most to accomplish on a daily basis. But good news – there is, in fact, a convenient way around these seemingly stringent rules. There is someone who has your back even if you are unable to remove all the plaque by yourself – the dentist.
The ADA additionally recommends and stresses the importance of bi-annual dental check-ups for this exact reason. Even if you are able to follow a substantial daily routine, you cannot always attack and eliminate every bit of the sometimes stubborn plaque. A dental checkup allows you to sit back while a trained dental hygienist brushes, flosses and thoroughly cleans the plaque buildup on your teeth for you, while using some of the latest technology to maximize dental health. In other words, plaque does not stand a chance against the fancy tools of dental practices.
There are a few additional perks to dental checkups that are often overlooked. Your mouth provides a significant window into the health of your entire body and can shed light on nutritional deficiencies or other systemic infections that may be plaguing the body. Sometimes, certain diseases may first present themselves as mouth lesions or other oral problems that can be easily detected by dentists.
The ADA has these crucial recommendations of a daily routine and a six month dental checkup for a very important reason – prevention. Dental visits simply cost you a few moments of your time but they give you a lifetime of perfect smiles, the avoidance of future costs and pain, and most importantly, peace of mind. So make your teeth a priority and remember, you don’t need to do it alone. Dentists have your back, so be sure to schedule an appointment today.