Your mouth speaks volumes about your overall health. The state of your teeth, gums, tongue, and jaw can sometimes be directly related to a medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even arthritis and other diseases. You know it’s essential to have regular check-ups with your primary care physician, and bi-annual dental exams are just as crucial to your body’s wellbeing. Your mouth gives excellent indicators of your general health. Preventive dentistry such as x-rays, cleanings, and gum inspection can not only clue in our dentists on oral concerns but can also give warning signs of undiagnosed medical conditions.
What Is Preventive Dental Care?
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a dental exam and cleaning twice a year. If you have periodontal disease or excessive buildup due to misaligned teeth or poor daily care, you may need additional dental visits to restore and maintain good oral health. Regular x-rays are another critical component of preventive dentistry. During these visits, our dentist evaluates your gum tissue, tongue, and each tooth, looking for signs of gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer, and other dental problems. Bi-annual dental exams identify these issues before they worsen.
If left untreated, these common oral health concerns can progress. For example:
- Untreated tooth decay can lead to an abscessed tooth (infection), which puts the surrounding teeth and jawbone in jeopardy and would require a root canal or a tooth extraction.
- The first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is often reversible with regular dental care and good oral hygiene. But, the later stages (periodontitis and advanced periodontitis) can impact your entire wellbeing, allowing bacteria into your bloodstream through inflamed, bleeding gums. Tooth loss is common with advanced gum disease.
- Early diagnosis of oral cancers involving the tongue, bone, and other tissues offers more time for effective treatment and may require less aggressive care.
Preventive care also relies on proper oral hygiene habits in your daily life. A healthy mouth requires twice-daily brushing, flossing once a day, and rinsing with mouthwash or water after meals and snacks. All of these steps help keep the cost of your dental care down, too, because maintaining a healthy smile is more cost-effective than waiting until restorative dentistry procedures are required.
An unbalanced diet with a lot of sugar-laden foods and beverages will have drastic consequences on your overall health, including your teeth and gums. The link between diabetes and gum disease has been documented in research—uncontrolled sugar levels increase your risk of gum disease. In turn, untreated gum disease makes managing your sugar levels more difficult. Those over 65 are at an increased risk for many of these oral health problems, and high blood pressure and a higher risk of stroke is another connection between your oral and overall health.
Schedule Your Exam at Wood Creek Dental Today
At Wood Creek Dental, our dentists care about your overall wellbeing, as well as your oral health. Come in and see us for a regular exam or get a complimentary second opinion. Schedule your appointment today in Greenville at (864) 288-5300 or in Landrum at (864) 457-3425. Our experienced team serves patients in the surrounding areas of South Carolina.