Dental Health in Washington DC
Dental health is of great importance. In fact, the state of a person’s mouth, teeth and gums can tell medical and dental professionals a great deal about their overall health. Every individual needs to understand the connection between the two and ensure they are working with both medical and dental practitioners to improve their health in every way possible.
Bacteria & Your Dental Health
The human body houses bacteria, most of which is totally harmless. Good oral hygiene and the body’s immune system help to keep bacteria at acceptable levels. When a person fails to care for their teeth and gums, however, the bacteria can increase to levels that are dangerous to the body. With the growth of this bacteria, individuals become more susceptible to periodontal disease, tooth decay and more.
Furthermore, a number of medications, including antihistamines used to treat allergies and diuretics employed to treat cirrhosis, decrease the amount of saliva flow in the mouth. Saliva works to remove food particles from the mouth and neutralizes the acids that the bacteria produce. This saliva helps to prevent the overgrowth of the bacteria and, when the flow decreases, people become more at risk of dental issues.
What makes this overgrowth of bacteria so concerning is it often causes issues in other areas of the body. For example, research shows periodontal disease can bring about certain diseases, including problems with the heart. The bacteria spread throughout the body, leading to these issues. It is believed the bacteria thickens the carotid arteries in the heart, and this can bring about a stroke in the event they become too thick.
The same is true of other conditions in the body. Individuals suffering from AIDS or diabetes need to take extra care with their teeth, as these conditions decrease the ability of the immune system to fight off an infection. As a result, gum disease may become more severe.
The Impact Of Oral Health On Various Conditions
Researchers continue to study the link between oral health and various medical conditions. Following are some areas of research that are currently taking place.
- Alzheimer’s Disease-Early research suggests individuals who lose one or more teeth before the age of 35 are at greater risk of developing this condition as they age.
- Cardiovascular Disease-Studies have shown that clogged arteries, strokes, and heart disease may all be connected to infections and inflammation that are associated with oral bacteria.
- Endocarditis-This infection occurs in the heart’s inner lining or endocardium and arises when bacteria from another area of the body travel to the heart through the bloodstream. This bacteria then attach to any damaged areas in the heart.
- Osteoporosis-It is believed that this condition, one which leads to weak and brittle bones, may be associated with tooth loss and bone loss in the jawbones.
- Pregnancy-Women who are expecting a baby need to visit the dentist regularly. Periodontal disease has been shown to bring about premature birth and/or low infant birth weight.
When visiting the dentist, be sure to let him or her know about any changes to your overall health. In addition, make certain they have an updated list of all medications currently being taken. Any recent illnesses need to be shared with the dental office, along with any chronic conditions. The more information the dentist has, the easier it is to develop a treatment plan that addresses the patient’s specific needs.
Protecting Dental Health
To ensure good oral health, individuals need to brush their teeth a minimum of twice a day and floss every day. These two steps go a long way to promoting healthy teeth and gums. In addition, patients must visit their dentist regularly, every six months or more often if the dentist feels more frequent checkups are needed. The toothbrush should be replaced every three months and sooner if it appears to be worn and frayed. If a problem does arise in the mouth, make an appointment immediately. Many people fail to do so until they experience pain. This may be harmful to both oral and general health, and individuals must keep this in mind and make dental health a top priority for optimal periodontal maintenance. If you have a child, it’s just as important that they keep up with their oral health as well, and we can assist with their pediatric dental needs.
Contact the Washington Center for Cosmetic Dentistry today to schedule a dental health checkup and inquire about any of the dental specialties we provide, in addition to our General and Cosmetic dentistry service. We’ll go over your medical history, examine your mouth and gums, and determine where changes need to be made to your oral hygiene routine to improve your overall health. This is one area you cannot be too careful. Regular medical checkups keep you healthy, and the same is true of routine dental checkups.
We work with you to find the right treatment plan for your needs, basing this plan on any current issues you are experiencing. In addition, our staff members counsel patients on good oral hygiene and how to ensure optimal health of the mouth and gums. When you care for your teeth and gums, you care for your entire body. Keep this in mind at all times, and contact us today for your checkup. Oral health is too important to neglect.