Mouth-Body Health Connection Highlights Importance of Regular Dental Visits

Nearly one-quarter of Americans are so afraid of the dentist that they avoid having treatment.

Unfortunately, you may be risking your health if you don’t visit the dentist. Research has shown that oral health can have an impact on your overall health. Periodic check-ups to monitor for bacterial infections like periodontal disease may even improve your health.

If you’re afraid of the dental office, the best way to address the anxiety is by talking to your dentist. Making your dentist aware of your concerns will help him or her adapt the treatment to your needs. Your dentist may also have useful advice on overcoming your anxiety.

You may also wish to schedule appointments when you’re less likely to be rushed or under pressure. Perhaps a Saturday or early morning appointment is required. If the sounds of the dental office are the cause of your anxiety, try bringing your iPod or portable audio player and listen to music during treatment.

Also, try remember that with dentistry’s many advances, diagnosis and treatment get more comfortable all the time.

One important function of a dentist is the diagnosis of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, develops when bacteria grow in the gums and roots of teeth. A bacterial infection, periodontal disease damages tissue and causes gaps to form around the roots of teeth that can eventually loosen teeth.

It’s a serious health concern because a bacterial infection in the mouth can often cause other health complications. Recent research suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease, stroke, preterm births, diabetes and other conditions.

Only a dentist can clean away the plaque that forms below the gum-line leading to periodontal disease.

With increasing evidence pointing to a connection between oral health and overall health, it’s more important than ever that you see your dentist regularly. Your health depends on it.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Cleaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.