Your Smile is a Window Into Your Health
March 20 is World Oral Health Day. That includes all of us at Clearwater Dental Associates. It’s a day that is celebrated globally every year highlight the importance of oral health for a healthy body. I’m going to do my part to spread the message about oral health in this blog.
It’s an old saying, but it’s true: People don’t appreciate what they’ve got until it’s gone. And even if we do appreciate it, we always assume it’s going to be there. Nothing embodies that statement more than how we treat our teeth.
Our teeth are the way we chew our food properly so we can eat and digest our food properly. They keep your jaw steady and strong and your gums in place. Yet we take them for granted.
You probably visit your medical doctor at least once a year for a check-up. You probably go more frequently for weight management, to regulate your blood pressure, or to keep an eye out for any other abnormalities in your body that might indicate a health problem. Yet you’re not as vigilant when it comes to your oral health.
Many people only address their oral health when there is pain, meaning there’s already an issue. Why wait that long and have to suffer when regular checkups can prevent it in the first place? If you get your teeth cleaned regularly, you lower the risk of plaque- and tartar-causing gum disease and cavities. If bacteria sets up house in your gums, you can end up with periodontal disease, a chronic condition that can destroy your gums, the tissues holding your teeth, and even your bones!
Dental issues can also be serious enough to cost you your life. In fact, a tooth infection recently killed a 26-year-old long-haul trucker from California, as the Sacramento Bee reports.
Chronic Disease and Oral Health
Your mouth is a window into your general health. A dentist can see something in your mouth that might be an indication of another problem. On the flip side, many chronic conditions have side effects that show up in the mouth.
Diabetes, for example, can cause you to have less saliva in your mouth. Saliva protects your teeth and when there’s less of it, there’s a higher risk of cavities. Diabetes can also increase your chance for inflammation of gums and infection inside your mouth. In other words, you can’t separate what is going on in the rest of your body from what’s going on in your mouth.
Your Smile is Your “Business Card”
While it may not carry the same weight as health issues, you should never underestimate the way your smile looks. Your smile can really make or break a first impression and is critical to how attractive you look to yourself and others. You can look completely put together walking into an important business meeting where you need to be confident and make a good impression, but smiling and showing discolored or damaged teeth can be like handing out a business card that was torn out from a spiral notebook.
And you don’t just have to worry about the way you look. Poor oral hygiene, and some underlying mouth issues, can cause bad breath (halitosis). Many people suffer from halitosis, but very few know when they have it. This is due to something called the Bad Breath Paradox. An article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) points to several previous investigations, all of which indicated that people tend to be terrible at gauging the smell of their breath.
If you habitually neglect your teeth, you could lose them. And when you lose teeth you lose bone, which can distort the shape of your face. Without your teeth, you lose the support for your cheeks and that actually changes the shape of your face, making you look older, sometimes way before you are old.
Make an Appointment
We’re not recognizing World Oral Health Day by using scare tactics. The fact is, the health of your mouth is dependent on the health of your body and the health of your body is dependent on the health of your mouth. Be vigilant and see your dentist regularly.
Come in and we’ll take a look at your teeth and mouth. Maybe they’ll check out or maybe we’ll be able to stop something worse from happening. Call today for an appointment or use our online form to schedule one.