Your teeth play an important role every single day. They make a beautiful smile, helping you to communicate quickly. (Did you know you can see a smile from the distance of a football field?!) Your teeth also enable you to chew food and speak clearly. They also give your face its distinctive shape and the confidence you carry throughout the day.
A healthy smile will not only transform your visual appearance and your mindset, but it will also improve your oral and overall health. This is why preventive dentistry is as important as caring for your teeth every day with your attentive home care routine.
To maintain optimal oral health, our dental association recommends visiting us, your dentist in Tigard, at least twice annually – or more depending on your individual needs. This will ensure that your teeth are clean and healthy, as well as esthetically pleasing.
What is preventive dentistry?
Preventive dentistry is a means of intercepting damage to your teeth and mouth due to decay, gum disease, oral cancer, cracks, infection, and more.
Preventive care includes:
- regular home care (brushing twice a day and flossing once a day)
- regular visits to Total Health Dental
- thorough professional cleaning
- repair of chips or cracks when they’re small
- decay intervention
- oral cancer checks
- gum disease diagnosis & treatment plan
- receiving, accepting, and implementing dental care information and tips from us, your dentist in Tigard…
- brushing & flossing instruction
- wearing a mouthguard when playing sports that have the chance of impact to your teeth (hockey, basketball, in-line skating, football, soccer, etc.)
- wearing a nightguard to prevent damage from bruxism (grinding and clenching)
- not using your teeth as tools
Benefits of preventive dentistry include:
Optimal or improved overall health – Research over the years has identified a connection between oral health and overall health. While we used to look at your mouth as a completely individual and separate entity, we now know that that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are links that connect the mouth to your systemic health. And we now know that poor oral health negatively affects specific health problems. Here’s a short list of those connections of which you must be aware.
Please share this information with your loved ones, and ask us, or your doctor, for more details. When you work with our dental team who knows these risks and responds to them, you can feel confident that issues may be caught early when treatment is more successful and less disruptive to your life.
- Diabetes – Diabetics are more likely to have gum disease, perhaps because they are more susceptible to infections. Secondly, people with diabetes who have gum disease have more difficulty controlling blood sugar levels. One works against the other.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – The mouth bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis that destroys gum tissue has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease as it increases plaques associated with the disease. Research continues.
- Heart Disease – If you have untreated gum disease, your chances of developing heart disease increase by about 300%. Incredible and especially crucial if you already have heart disease.
- Stroke – If you have undiagnosed or untreated gum disease, you are much more likely to suffer a stroke. Make sure you keep your regular recall appointments!
- Chronic Kidney Disease – Chronic kidney disease can appear on its own or alongside diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Obesity, a risk factor for periodontitis, is also associated with chronic kidney disease. The networks are complex, and we’re yet to discover exactly how they connect.
- Osteoporosis – Periodontitis and osteoporosis could be a risk factor for each other.
- Respiratory Diseases – Gum disease, an inflammatory disease, can worsen inflammation that has occurred due to lung diseases (such as asthma and COPD).
- and more!
As a critical part of your healthcare team, all of us at Total Health Dental are trained to keep an eye out for things you may not have realized. Some of these include…
- Routine dental radiographs can reveal a potential risk of stroke by exposing unusual calcium deposits in the carotid arteries in the neck.
- Over thirty-five thousand new cases of oral cancers are diagnosed each year in North America. If caught early, the five-year survival rate can be as high as 90%. When oral cancer is identified late or not at all, the rate drops significantly.
- Other diseases that we can detect in their early stages include epilepsy, hemophilia, leukemia, malignant melanoma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and tuberculosis. You can help by pointing out any changes you notice, even trivial ones like a small canker or cold sore that doesn’t heal after two weeks.
As your dentist in Tigard, our focus is on you and your oral and overall health. We want to help you live your best life, and as your mouth is the gateway to overall health, providing all sorts of clues about your health, we encourage you to never skip or continually postpone your recall appointments with us.
We really want to help you smile. Call (503) 433-8256 today!