Dental x-rays are medical images that show the anatomy of teeth and the structures that surround them. X-rays provide information that informs aspects of dentistry like prevention, treatment, and management. At some point, everyone who sees a dentist will have to get an x-ray for one reason or another. For this reason, you should learn…
How Regular General Dentistry Visits Benefit Your Overall Health
Regular general dentistry visits can help patients stay on top of the health of teeth, gums, and the tongue and provide an assessment of potential conditions linked to the health of the mouth. Most people know that they should brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist every six months to maintain a baseline of good oral health. However, they may not appreciate how a good relationship with a general dentist benefits patients beyond the cleanliness of the teeth. Several health conditions can be detected from abnormalities in the mouth, and excessive plaque and gum inflammation can lead to disease if not caught and treated early by a dentist.
Why are regular general dentistry visits important?
Though a regular dental appointment is often referred to as a “cleaning,” it would be a mistake to assume that patients simply sit in the chair to have teeth brushed by a professional for half an hour. The teeth are cleaned, but perhaps more importantly, the health of the mouth is assessed by the hygienist and the dentist. The check-up is an important component of this appointment as the dentist can keep records about receding gums, take X-rays, fill minor cavities, note whether teeth have shifted, and determine whether bruxism or a nighttime clenching habit is an issue that needs to be addressed.
How can dental visits benefit overall health?
When the mouth is unhealthy and the patient does not make regular general dentistry visits a priority, the patient’s overall health can suffer. First, if dental health is neglected, cavities and gum disease can escalate into more serious problems that may only be resolved by the removal of teeth or root canal procedures to save teeth that are not too damaged. Second, certain systemic health problems such as diabetes and autoimmune disease may show up in the patient’s mouth before occurring elsewhere. Dentists can often alert patients to these problems.
Tartar overgrowth can lead to systemic disease
Patients are probably familiar with the “scaling” process in general dentistry appointments in which tartar is scraped gently from the teeth with a series of special instruments. Though plaque, which is a thin layer of bacteria that sits upon the teeth, can be removed at home with thorough brushing and flossing, tartar needs to be scraped off by a professional. Tartar and plaque that are not kept in check are linked to bad breath, gum disease, and a higher risk of heart disease.
Oral health affects the rest of the body
The mouth is an important indicator of the body’s overall health. Diabetes can result in a higher number of cavities due to blood sugar changes. Autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome can affect the mouth’s dryness, cause fissured tongues and mouth ulcers, and speed up the development of cavities. Lupus can frequently cause sores in the mouth that are sometimes not felt or noticed by the patient.
General dentistry professionals closely monitor the patient’s oral health and alert the patient to changes that should be addressed. It is crucial for patients to see the dentist regularly for services that go far beyond a basic cleaning.
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