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Sun Times Feature Story

Dentistry Is A Necessity - Certainly Not A Luxury

• Regular dentist visits can do more than keep your smile attractive, they can tell dentists a lot about your overall health

    Regular dentist visits can do more than keep your smile attractive they can tell dentists a lot about your overall health, including whether or not you may be developing a disease like diabetes.
   New research suggests that the health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole. For example, when your mouth is healthy, chances are your overall health is good, too. On the other hand, if you have poor oral health, you may have other health problems.
   Research also shows that good oral health may actually prevent certain diseases from occurring.

Gum disease and health
   According to the Academy of General Dentistry, there is a relationship between gum (periodontal) disease and health complications such as a stroke and heart disease. Women with gum disease also show higher incidences of pre-term, low birth-weight babies.
   Other research shows that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases (diseases involving many organs or the whole body) have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. Such diseases include:
• Diabetes
• Leukemia
• Oral cancer
• Pancreatic cancer
• Heart disease
• Kidney disease

   Since most people have regular oral examinations, their dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem in its early stages.

Poor oral health can lead to
   If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, your poor oral hygiene can actually lead to other health problems, including:
• Oral and facial pain. According to the Office of the Surgeon General, this pain may be largely due to infection of the gums that support the teeth and can lead to tooth loss. Gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, and advanced gum disease affect more than 75 percent of the U.S. population.
• Problems with the heart and other major organs. Mouth infections can affect major organs. For example, the heart and heart valves can become infalmed by bacterial endocarditis, a condition that affects people with heart disease or anyone with damaged heart tissue.
• Digestion problems. Digestion begins with physical and chemical processes in the mouth, and problems here can lead to intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders.

What Can You Do
   After understanding potential oral manifestations it is essential to learn the general guidelines promoted by the American Dental Association as a preventative measure associated with good oral health.
1. Brushing your teeth
Good brushing should take a minimum of two minutes and should involve brushing in a circular motion, working your way from one side of the mouth to the another, keeping in mind to pay attention to certain neglected areas such as the very back teeth and your tongue. Dentists recommend using soft bristle brushes and toothpaste that contain fluoride.
2. Floss regularly
It is recommended that individuals floss on a regular basis after meals and before brushing their teeth, The proper way to floss is to push the floss gently between your teeth to the gum to loosen debris your toothbrush cannot reach. When you begin flossing, you may experience light bleeding which will fade once your gums get used to the flossing process.
3. Mouthwash
Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride at least twice a day is a good preventative measure that kills bacteria responsible for the plaque that causes cavities and gum disease.
4. Dental visits
Regular dental visits about every six months are crucial to early identification of potential problems that could develop into more serious problems.
   One can never underestimate the importance of proper dental care and tooth brushing for good health. Truly poor dental care can lead to lost teeth or poor dentition, which may make it difficult to eat. That leads to poor nutrition.
  Mediocre dental care can lead to plaque. Plaque irritates the gum to the point that it bleeds. This allows microscopic amounts of bacteria to enter the bloodstream. The presence of plaque and tooth decay has been noted to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and make diabetes more difficult to control.
  Good dental care can improve your health. Tips to avoid dental problems include brushing your teeth three times a day, eat foods that contain less sugar, and avoid or drink fewer soft drinks and carbonated beverages. See your dentist yearly. Have your teeth cleaned by the hygienist twice a year.
   Call us today to help you have better oral health!

   Remember your smile is a phone call away!