Embarrassed about his teeth, Tom put off visiting the dentist for years. It was not until his doctor mentioned that his oral health might be affecting his overall health that he made a long overdue appointment to see his dentist for a check-up.
Until his physician advised him, Tom, like many others, did not know that gum disease and poor oral health has been linked to issues such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately, Tom ended up being just fine. He got the fillings, crown, and dental cleanings he needed, and now receives regular dental care to help him look and feel his best.
How is Oral Health Linked to Overall Health?
At this point though, you may be wondering how getting a filling or dental cleaning could possibly be related to better health. Well, it’s really rather simple: Your body is not just an assembly of parts.
As any doctor or dentist can tell you, your body is an interconnected system. And every organ is interdependent upon the whole. Which is why it makes sense that bacteria in your mouth can cause inflammation/infection within other organs and systems inside your body- even if they otherwise might not seem related.
The Role of Bacteria in Dental and Overall Health
Bacteria are everywhere.
Many common bacteria are quite harmless, and some are actually essential for life. Certain kinds of bacteria, for instance, are necessary to help you digest the food you eat. Others release enzymes that synthesize critical vitamins such as vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting. Not all are helpful though. Some bacteria are downright dangerous, causing illness and or inflammation.
The tissues of your mouth are nourished by a complex network of blood vessels. This rich supply of blood is vital to your health, but it also creates a ready-made superhighway harmful bacterium can use to access other body systems. What’s more, blood vessels are lined with specialized cells called endothelial cells, which are especially vulnerable to certain forms of inflammation.
That may not sound like much, but if blood vessels become inflamed, they swell. This, in turn, reduces the amount of blood which can flow through them, which can lead to issues with other organs such as the heart and or brain. That’s one more reason that a healthy smile is more than just cosmetic.
Effective Dental Care Can Help Protect Your Health
The good news is that oral health is something that can be improved. Even taking simple steps, such as brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, eating a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco use and regular checkups and dental cleanings can help protect both your smile- and your health.
How General Dentistry Can Provide You with More Than Just a Stunning Smile
Good general dentistry includes routine care such as dental cleanings, fillings, sealants and more to reduce your risk of getting cavities, tooth loss, and or gum disease which can help lower your risk of heart disease and other serious disorders.
Why Regular Dental Cleanings are Important
Regular dental cleanings remove tarter, also known as calculus, which forms above and below the gumline. (Tarter is hardened plaque.) Plaque is caused by bacteria which feed on the sugars and starches in the food you eat. The sticky biofilm created by the bacteria helps them lock onto the surface of your teeth where they feed, releasing acids that erode the surface of your teeth.
If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar. Tarter provides spaces, or pockets, where bacteria can hide or thrive. Tarter is easy to spot; it looks like a brown or yellowish deposit along with your gumline. Brushing and flossing can help to remove plaque, but since it is hard to see, it can still build up over time. A trained dental hygienist can safely remove tarter to better protect your teeth before gum disease has a chance to develop.
How Sealants Can Protect Your Smile and More
Dental sealants, which are often applied to the teeth of children, can also be used for adults. Advanced dental sealants provide an additional layer of protection by sealing off the natural crevices and grooved areas of your teeth where food particles can collect. While sealants do not take the place of regular daily tooth care, they can go a long way towards protecting your teeth and reducing the number of fillings and or dental crowns you may need over the course of your lifetime.
Crowns and Fillings do More than Enhance your Smile
Dental crowns and fillings not only restore the chewing surface of broken or damaged teeth, but they also create a physical barrier that helps to prevent bacteria from invading and infecting the delicate pulp, blood vessels, nerves and tissues on the inside of teeth. A correctly fitted crown or carefully placed filling helps to protect your teeth from further damage, decay, and tooth loss.
Losing a tooth is a bigger deal than many people realize. When a tooth is lost, not only do you lose some of your ability to chew, you also lose bone mass. Losing bone density may also leave your mouth more susceptible to dangerous bacteria, which can lead to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease has been linked to over 120 other health issues ranging from kidney disease, asthma, and others.
Greenspoint Dental: Gentle, Affordable Dental Care
Like Tom, you may be embarrassed about your teeth, causing you to put off dental visits. Maybe you have even had a traumatic dental experience in the past, or perhaps you feel that you cannot afford good dental care. At Greenspoint Dental, we understand the complex nature of oral health. We also know that dental care must be affordable to be accessible.
That’s why our team of dedicated dental professionals will work with you to provide the exceptional dental care you need, at a price you can afford.
We love changing people’s lives by giving them genuine, healthy smiles they feel good about. If you need crowns, fillings, dental sealants, a dental cleaning, or just a checkup, we can help.