Everyone knows that regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings can help prevent tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. But did you know that practicing good dental hygiene and seeing a dentist for regular dental cleanings could help maintain your overall health and potentially detect certain chronic conditions?

Decrease the Risk of Dementia

Studies have shown that individuals with poor dental hygiene, as classified as brushing their teeth less than once a day, had a 65 percent increased risk of developing dementia when compared to older adults who practiced good oral hygiene by brushing their teeth at least three times a day. The risk for dementia is even worse for men who were missing all of their teeth and did not wear dentures in order to chew food properly. These individuals were determined to have a 91 percent increased risk of developing dementia.

Detect and Develop Treatment Programs for Bad Bites

Even if your teeth and gums are healthy, you may still have a bad bite that is negatively affecting your speech and ability to chew. Bad bites can even cause an increase in headaches, TMJ symptoms and muscle pain in the mouth. Regular dental appointments can help detect crooked teeth, crossbites, overbites, and underbites so that you can get the appropriate treatment.

Detect Oral Cancer

Dental checkups and cleanings always involve a visual check for oral cancer and abnormalities in the mouth, like wounds that aren’t healing and white or red spots in the mouth. If oral cancer is suspected, the dentist can administer other tests in order to determine if you have the disease, and like all cancers, the earlier it is detected, the better the chance for recovery.

Detect Health Problems in the Face and Neck

Dentists are well-educated in all of the structures of the face and neck, and during your appointment, the dentist will examine your entire face and neck as well as the inside and outside of your mouth. If you have swollen lymph nodes or a swollen thyroid, your dentist may see those abnormalities first and direct you towards the appropriate medical professional so that you can get an accurate diagnosis.

Detect/Lower Risk of Diabetes

Having chronic high blood sugar can affect your oral health. Individuals with diabetes (even the early stages) can experience more dental problems than individuals without diabetes. This could include dental infections, mouth sores that fail to heal in a timely manner and higher instances of gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay. Regular dental cleanings and checkups can help identify oral health problems that may be caused by high blood sugar.

Diagnose TMJ

TMJ is a painful condition that affects your temporomandibular joint. It can cause difficulty opening and closing your jaw, mouth pain and an increase in headaches. It can be caused by bruxism (teeth grinding), injuries to the jaw and bad bites. An experienced dentist can recommend treatments for TMJ, like nighttime mouthguards to prevent teeth grinding and orthodontics to help with bad bites.

Help Control Bad Breath

Practicing good dental hygiene at home and getting regular dental cleanings can help control bad breath, also known as halitosis. When you eat, food begins the digestive process in your mouth. When food particles mix with saliva, it creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. If the food particles, plaque, and bacteria aren’t regularly removed, it can cause bad breath. Certain health conditions, like dry mouth, diabetes, acid reflux and problems with your kidneys or liver can also result in bad breath, and a trip to the dentist’s office may be the first clue that you have an acute or chronic condition that needs treatment.

Lower Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

Chronic gum disease may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. In a study involving more than 10,000 individuals, it was shown that people who have their teeth cleaned and scaled by a dentist were 24% less likely to have a heart attack and 13% less likely to experience a stroke, according to an article from Science Daily.

Prevent Oral Infections (Abscesses)

When the teeth are not regularly cleaned at home and by a professional dentist or hygienist, gingivitis and periodontal disease can develop. These gum diseases create spaces between the tooth and the gum where bacteria can flourish and create a painful abscess. Regular dental cleanings can help prevent gum disease and abscesses.

Triangle Dentistry located in Raleigh, NC provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns and implants to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3592.