Dental Care and Your Health
Dentists are commonly thought of as after-thoughts. In terms of health priority, dentists are typically much lower on the list of health professionals that are considered "must see". But by neglecting oral hygiene you may be putting yourself at a number of risks that you may not even realize. Dr. Stewart C. Brody DDS, who runs his own practice thinks it's important to raise awareness to the necessities of oral hygiene and cosmetics so that you realize what you're neglecting when you neglect your teeth.
Health Problems Associated With Poor Oral Hygiene
Research has shown 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. Poor dental care can lead to cavities, gum disease and a whole lot of discomfort, but few people know that these problems can lead to more severe health issues such as serious infections in the mouth, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, low self-esteem, sleeping disorders, behavioral/developmental problems in children, and digestion disorders.
Smoking, which leads to a battery of health issues, can cause major problems in the mouth from teeth stains to cancer in lips, tongue and gums. However, oral cancer does not have to be linked to smoking. Not going to your dentist for regular cleanings can increase your risk of developing oral cancers. Going for regular cleanings also ensures that if cancer does develop your dentist will be able to catch it early and help you get the care you need.
Heart disease and stroke have also been strongly linked to oral hygiene. When you don't go for regular cleanings you put extra stress on your body that can increase your risk for heart attacks and stroke.
One of the hottest areas of health research right now is the link that's been established between diabetes and oral hygiene. According to the American Diabetes Association diabetics are at a greater risk for developing gum disorders, but it has also been shown that diabetes and oral health are a two way street. Developing gum disorders can wreck havoc on your blood sugar levels whether you have diabetes or not. Consistently high blood sugar levels will lead to the development of type II diabetes. Poor blood sugar control in people that already have diabetes can lead to more serious medical complications. So make sure you take care of your teeth and gums to help prevent this from occurring.
A list of services your dentist provides can be found on your dentists website.
Psychological Issues Associated
Most people don't even realize it, but having a whiter, straighter smile could change their lives in a dramatic way. Being self-conscious about your teeth can lower your self-esteem which has been linked to lower self-worth and depression. Additionally, studies have shown that being prone to smiling can promote a more positive daily disposition and optimistic perspective on life.
There are a number of ways that you can go about improving your smile which is why cosmetic dentistry is one of the largest components of the dental industry today. Some of the simple procedures done today include teeth whitening, invisalign treatments, veneers and tooth implants. But there are more sophisticated procedures that can help improve your smile available such as permanent bridge implants and full dental restorations.
Sleep Disorders and Dental Health
The two most common sleep disorders associated with dental care are snoring and sleep apnea. The importance of treating these disorders is often times overlooked, but they can each lead to serious health risks. Dr. Stewart Brody is an expert in sleep apnea and has helped in the development of less invasive treatments such as the TAP (The Thornton Adjustable Positioner). You can read more about his ground breaking treatments at [his website]. Sleep apnea is the periodic cessation of breathing while sleeping and can be caused by two primary reasons: 1. it can be due to throat muscles relaxing and blocking your airway, or 2. it can be caused by improper neurological signaling, or a combination of these two. Sleep apnea can lead to broken and unrestful sleep causing daytime sleepiness, chronic headaches, insomnia and difficulty sleeping, and loud snoring that may interfere with your sleep or the sleep of others. Sleep apnea has also been linked to cardiovascular problems, daytime fatigue of yourself or sleeping partner, and interference with medications efficacy. If you experience loud snoring or sleep apnea a dentist may be your best friend in helping to relieve your symptoms and give you a better nights sleep.
Behavioral and Developmental Problems and Poor Oral Hygiene
Developmentally challenged children will need additional assistance in maintaining proper oral hygiene. However, it is important that every child maintains a clean and healthy mouth. Poor oral hygiene can have a serious negative impact on your developing child. Bad breath or stained teeth can lead to other children teasing or not interacting with your child. Additionally, poor oral hygiene has been linked to the development of speech impediments. It can also lead to improper jaw development or difficulty eating due to decaying teeth.
Digestion Disorders and Your Mouth
The most obvious way that poor dental hygiene can affect digestion is that the loss of teeth makes it more difficult to chew your food and digest it properly. However, poor oral care can cause more severe digestion ailments than this. For example, Celiac Disease (a disease affecting the small intestine and leads to the inability to digest gluten) was first discovered by dentists. Celiac Disease is associated with specific dental enamel defects such as teeth discolorations, poor enamel formation, pitting or mottling of teeth, and mottled or translucent looking teeth. Changes in diet are also associated with tooth loss which can lead to unbalanced diets and additional poor health outcomes.
Dr. Brody hopes that this information begins to change your understanding of how important regular dental care is for your health. Most general dentists, like Dr. Brody, provide a litany of services that can help maintain healthy oral hygiene. Using a dentist that you are comfortable with is the first step to maintaining a healthy mouth which will make you a healthier you.