This article is written by Rachelle Wilber for Carlino & Paton DDS.
You already know that seeing a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings is important to prevent cavities and other problems inside the mouth. Going to the dentist can also be good for your overall health. Studies have shown the correlation between poor dental health and certain medical conditions, and going to the dentist regularly should be a priority if you care about your overall well-being.
Here are four ways that dental care can benefit your overall health.
1. Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Believe it or not, the state of your teeth and gums can affect how well your heart functions. Poor dental health can cause infections that allow bacteria inside the mouth to spread throughout the bloodstream. This may contribute to plaque buildups inside your arteries that sometimes lead to strokes and heart damage. According to Mayo Clinic, bacteria from inside the mouth can also cause an inflammation of the heart known as endocarditis.
2. Cancer Treatment
Certain cancers of the mouth can have a negative impact on your overall health. Oral cancer is often caused by tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption and exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV). If cancer develops inside your mouth, it can spread to other parts of the body and grow potentially fatal tumors. Regular dental checkups often include oral cancer screenings to identify any tumors inside the mouth at their earliest stages. Diagnosing oral cancer in its infancy will make it possible to seek the proper treatments that will help cure the condition easier.
3. A Healthy Delivery
If you’re a woman who’s pregnant, it’s especially important to receive preventative dental care so that you can deliver a healthy baby. Gum disease has been associated with premature deliveries. Your newborn may also be at a low birth weight that isn’t considered healthy if you neglect your dental care. The bacterial strains that spread throughout the bloodstream because of infections inside the mouth can cause additional problems for a developing child inside the womb.
4. Diabetes Management
Diabetes can be managed more effectively with proper dental care if you’re living with the condition. As WebMD states, the inflammation caused by gum disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels, so you should be diligent about taking care of your teeth and gums. Diabetes can also exacerbate other conditions inside the mouth if you’re not seeing a dentist regularly.
A visit to your dentist should be part of your health care routine and will be highly beneficial for your quality of life. If you take care of your oral health, you lower your risk of having to deal with any of these other health conditions.