Heart disease. Diabetes. Maternity problems. Osteoporosis. Alzheimer’s disease. Cancer. Stroke. All pretty nasty, serious, problems. And all can be tied to good oral health and dental care.
A lot of health problems can be first seen through the mouth. Your dentist can be the first line of defense against these problems. Preventative dental care can pinpoint health issues that could become a problem in the future. Failure to go to a dentist could cost you both physically and financially.
You are what you Eat, Drink and Smoke
Some of your favorite foods are also bad for your health. But maintaining a healthy diet isn’t just going to keep your waistline in check, it will also protect your mouth. Sugar is the No. 1 offender, because it forms an acidic environment in your mouth that can last for hours. After a while, the acid will dissolve your tooth enamel. Be careful of processed foods, too, which contain high amounts of sugar. Even sugar-free juices have some amount of natural sugar.
Likewise, alcohol is acidic and will dissolve the enamel to your teeth. Alcohol also reduces saliva production. Coffee, or, more specifically, caffeine will stain your teeth and interfere with saliva production, which can lead to tooth decay. But it’s the sweeteners, sugar and cream you put in your coffee that’s particularly damaging to your oral care.
And smoking is bad for your oral health. In addition to putting you at greater risk of oral cancer, smoking also increases the risk of gum disease (which can lead to tooth loss), damages your gum tissue, and it causes hard-to-remove stains and tartar buildup.
A mouth full of bad teeth can be embarrassing. But if you fail to regularly see a dentist, then you are increasing the odds of oral health problems. And a small problem can lead to a much bigger problem if left unattended for long enough. Big problems are rarely inexpensive, even when you have dental insurance. Even the smallest of problems can be painful, too. If you don’t have dental insurance, check with your state dentistry society to find out your options. Dental clinics, for example, are a low-cost alternative and can be found in most major cities.
Prevention is the Key to Dental Care
Taking care of your mouth and teeth is like taking care of your car. If you take it in for regular maintenance and oil changes, then your car should run smoothly for a long time to come. Of course, that’s not always the case. But ignoring those maintenance issues will almost assuredly cause you problems – including expensive problems – on down the road.
Likewise, the key to dental care is being proactive rather than being reactive. See your dentist twice a year; if you can’t afford that, see your dentist at least once a year. Remember, preventive dental care is almost always less expensive than emergency care. You can save yourself money, pain, and embarrassment if you go to the dentist often.