There is a strong link between your oral health and your overall health, so taking good care of your teeth can have a huge affect on your whole body! Bacteria from untreated gum disease can be linked to serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even premature birth!
According to 1-800-Dentist, in addition to proper dental hygiene like brushing and flossing, dental exams and check-ups may be the best thing you can do for your oral health. When you have an appointment with your dentist, your teeth will be examined for tooth decay or other problems, cleaned, polished and flossed. You may have X-rays done that can help detect cavities or damaged teeth that can be treated before dental discomfort sets in. You should also be checked for early signs of gum disease, also called periodontal disease. Some exams also include checking your head, neck and bite for the movement of your jaw.
The benefits of regularly seeing a dentist include:
- prevention of periodontal disease, which can lead to complete loss of teeth and/or other disease
- improved self-esteem (everyone loves a nice smile!)
- and may even save you money in the long run
Dental cleanings are typically covered by insurance and if done regularly, can help you treat minor dental issues such as cavities, thus preventing the need for root canals, tooth removal or crowns which can be very costly!
Dental screenings can also bring attention to other health problems whose symptoms can appear in the mouth or jaw and neck area. A dental exam can identify vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, osteoporosis and even diabetes. Oral cancers can also be detected. According to the American Dental Association, 64,000 Americans are diagnosed with some type of oral cancer annually, and early treatment of these cancers is essential. The five-year survival rate of oral cancers is only just over 64 percent.
If you have not seen a dentist in the past year for a cleaning and exam, you are past due! While you are waiting for your next visit, here are some little habits that can make a big difference in your dental health:
- brush twice a day and floss daily;
- rinse or chew gum after meals;
- don't smoke or use smokeless tobacco;
- and avoid sugary foods and eat well to support your oral health including whole foods like grains, fruits, veggies, calcium rich dairy and omega rich options like nuts which may reduce inflammation.
Finally: be sure you have your next dentist appointment scheduled!
Campbell County Health's Wellness Services works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
This blog was written by Rachel Wilde CPT, MA, CCH Wellness Services Technician and Phlebotomist