ADULT ORAL HEALTH
Most people are unaware about how important good oral health and wellness are. Regular dental visits are extremely important and numerous studies show that those who go to the dentist on a regular basis have better overall health than those that don't.
Those that do not go to the dentist on a regular basis can develop serious tooth decay and periodontal diseases over a short period of time. In most cases those problems can be avoided by simply visiting the dentist twice a year for a checkup.
Periodontal disease is a result of plaque that hardens into a rough, porous substance called tartar. The acids produced and released by bacteria in tartar irritate the gums and create periodontal pockets that fill with even more bacteria which often leads to bleeding, red, swollen or tender gums, persistent bad breath, and loose or separating teeth.
Researchers have found a definite connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can place people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. That is why it is extremely important to let your dentist know if there has been any changes in your physical health since your last visit.
FACTORS IN YOUR LIFE THAT CAN INCREASE YOUR RISK OF DENTAL DISEASE:
DO YOU TAKE MEDICATIONS?
- Heart, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants can inhibit the flow of saliva which increases the risk for cavities as saliva helps reduce cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. If you have a chronic dry mouth make sure you increase your intake of water during the day. You can also try one of the many moisturizing mouth washes that are available at your local drug store.
DO YOU SMOKE OR USE TOBACCO?
- Statistics show that the average person will lose 5.4 teeth by the age of 72.
- If you are a smoker the statistics say you will lose 12 by age 72.
- If you smoke or chew, you also have a greater risk for periodontal disease and oral cancer.
- The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, and soft palate tissues in the back of the tongue, lips and gums. If it goes undetected and is not treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread and lead to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement, and even death. More than 8,000 people die each year from oral and pharyngeal diseases. If you use tobacco, it is important to regularly see your dentist for cleanings and to ensure that your mouth remains healthy and cancer free.
DO YOU GRIND YOUR TEETH WHEN YOU SLEEP?
- If you grind your teeth when you sleep you can prematurely wear your teeth out. Have your dentist fit you with a molded mouth guard to wear while sleeping.
DO YOU PLAY SPORTS?
- For those of you who participate in sports, you have a greater potential for trauma to your mouth and teeth. If you play contact sports, like football, soccer, and basketball, it is extremely important that you use a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
TIPS FOR GOOD ORAL HEALTH:
- Invest in a benefit rich dental insurance plan.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reach every surface of the tooth. If the bristles on your brush are frayed, buy a new one.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or after you have been sick.
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for at least 3 minutes. This can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%.
- Floss daily.
- Visit your dentist at lease twice a year for cleanings.