It is important to understand that the mouth is not a separate entity from the rest of the body. Oral health is an integral component of general health and well-being for all ages. But the relationship between oral diseases and overall health is often overlooked by health care providers, parents, and caregivers. We have more reasons now than ever to take good care of our teeth and gums.
Getting your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis, along with proper home care, are essential in preventing gum/ periodontal disease. Teeth cleanings remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. The reason tartar needs to be removed is because your body sees it as a foreign invader. As with any other foreign invader, like a flu bug or an infection, your body “sends in the troops” using the immune system to fight off the infection. There is a battle in your mouth at all times, and the war is never over. Teeth cleanings level the playing field by keeping things in check. Gum disease is when your body’s immune system is responding to this tartar buildup with inflamed and bleeding gums. If this is left untreated, it will progress into Periodontitis which results in infection, bone loss and loose teeth. At a certain stage, this damage is irreversible, so prevention is the best way to maintain overall health and keep beautiful teeth for a lifetime — and teeth cleanings are a critical piece of this prevention.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET MY TEETH CLEANED
We encourage our patients to come in for a routine dental cleaning or periodontal maintenance every 3-6 months depending on the status of your gums. During your dental cleaning, our professional dental hygienists will use specialized instruments to remove plaque and tartar both above the below where the gums meets the tooth. We will also take the appropriate x-rays so that Dr. Mark and Dr. Meg can complete a thorough evaluation of your teeth, gums and TMJ. During this appointment, you will also receive an oral cancer screening where our doctors will examine your tongue, throat, cheeks, and the floor of your mouth for any abnormalities or signs of oral cancer.
We encourage parents to start bringing their children to the dentist before the age of 2 in order to establish a dental home and to feel comfortable in a dental setting. It is critical to start this early in order to develop good behavior early and to prevent issues from arising in the first place. At Ferdos Family Dental, if your child is under the age of 3 you qualify for a free “knee-to-knee” exam, facilitated by the parent or guardian and one of our dentists. At this visit, we can meet your little one and start developing a positive relationship while performing a screening in order to determine when the time is right for your child to start receiving regular dental cleanings.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CLEAN YOUR TEETH?
Your mouth can be regarded as a window to your overall health. There are many types of bacteria present in our mouths, mostly helpful and some harmful. Harmful bacteria can cause tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, and systemic diseases that affect general health. In people with a healthy defense system, these bacteria can usually be controlled with good nutrition and oral hygiene practices like daily brushing and flossing. But when harmful bacteria grow out of control, they can cause serious inflammation and gum infections. The mouth can then become a port of entry for infection by allowing harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to more inflammation in other parts of your body, such as the heart.
EFFECT OF ORAL HEALTH ON THE BODY
There is a link between gum disease and certain diseases that affect the body including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease. For example:
- Periodontal (Gum) disease can disrupt blood-sugar levels and make diabetes more difficult to control.
- The mouth can also be a reservoir for bacterial infection of the lungs, which can cause bacterial pneumonia.
- Many parents don’t realize that tooth decay is a transmissible infection which can be transferred from parent to baby, making the child more susceptible to dental decay.
Conditions of the body can also have harmful effects on your oral health.
- Medication taken for systemic conditions may cause dry mouth, which increases your risk of dental decay, oral yeast infections, and other oral infections.
- Certain blood disorders, respiratory conditions, and gastrointestinal disorders such as GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) can have a negative impact on your oral health.
- Individuals with weakened immune systems are more likely to get fungal and viral infections in the mouth.
This relationship between the mouth and body makes oral health a key component of total body health and is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Contact us and become a part of our dental family!