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Importance of Routine Dental Exams

Posted on July 08 by

Regular visits will give your dentist a chance to look for common oral health conditions and provide treatment if necessary. Conditions like gum disease and tooth decay need to be caught early so they can be treated quickly, before they have a chance to become more serious.

Visiting your dentist on regular basis can do more than prevent cavities, below are seven diseases that either contribute to or are affected by neglecting your dentist's advice.

Oral cancer - because most of these cancers are diagnosed by the dentist and if detected at an early stage then it is most treatable. Oral cancer can affect anyone, even people with healthy life styles and is more common than leukaemia, melanoma, cancers of the brain, liver, kidney, thyroid, stomach, ovary or cervix. If not detected early oral cancer has the worst five year survival rate compared to all major cancers, hence at Overton Dental Practice we screen regularly for signs of oral cancer.

Cardiovascular Disease - The bacterias festering in our mouths can easily infiltrate our bloodstreams. While evidence that gum disease lies at the root of cardiovascular disease is inconclusive, bleeding gums, mouth sores, and other scrapes or bruises between our cheeks can provide a green light for mouth microbes to wiggle their way into the circulatory system and inflame the tissues that line our heart (a condition called endocarditis). Several studies suggest that plaque build up in the arteries may precipitate aneurysms. Tooth loss has also been linked to cardiovascular problems.

Diabetes - The relationship between dental health and diabetes goes both ways: Oral infections interfere with blood sugar levels and diabetic symptoms set the stage for these infections to occur. An inflamed mouth is a breeding ground for chemical signals that interfere with sugar and fat metabolism by interfering with insulin secretion. Proteins called cytokines build up around irritated or swelling tissues and can leak into the bloodstream to further throw off diabetics’ already impaired insulin secretion, marring the proper metabolism of sugar and fat found in the diet. Diabetics’ hyperglycemic state only worsens this inflammatory cycle: Too much sugar in the blood mars the structure of protein molecules in the blood, leading to swelling of tissues in the mouth and elsewhere.

Osteoporosis - While this might not be a worry in younger years, what we do now directly influences bone health later in life. Bone-mineral density has been shown to predict periodontal disease — and vice versa. A recent study tracking the rates of periodontal disease in postmenopausal women for five years found that the severity of their mouth problems and osteoporosis increased at a similar rate. The researchers believe this has much to do with how mineral loss makes teeth more susceptible to the bad sides of oral bacteria. Granted, women seem to be at a higher risk for osteoporosis and its related oral health concerns.

Premature Birth - Women who give birth to babies well before their due date tend to have more mouth infections than those who deliver babies closer to their ETAs. Molecular signals released by inflamed gums (cytokines and a species called C-reactive protein, to be exact) sneak out of the mouth and into the placenta via mom’s bloodstream. Damage done to baby-in-the-womb offspring signals to her body that it’s time to get this baby out, albeit ahead of schedule.

Alzheimer's Disease - Impaired cognition doesn’t bode particularly well for remembering to brush, floss, and gargle. People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are at a higher risk for poor oral health, primarily because they’re less able to independently attend to it. Many medications currently used to treat dementia also interfere with the mouth’s saliva production, which raises the risk of mouth and throat issues even higher.

Stress - Life stressors at work, home, or in the environment at large can interfere with our mouth’s ability to tolerate even normal levels of plaque. One study found that stressed out mums had higher rates of cavities and fewer teeth than their less stressed, child-free counterparts. Another found that people working in high stress environments also had higher rates of cavities and other periodontal problems.

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