Gateway Gazette

April is Dental Health Month – Dental Health Goes Beyond Cavities

 

Edmonton – When it comes to dental health, most Albertans know that brushing is important to avoid both tooth decay and gum disease. However, the results of good dental health go beyond simply a bright smile. Good dental health is linked to health benefits in other areas of the body as well.

Many people may not realize that the dangers of poor dental health go beyond cavities, and that poor dental health can affect more than just the mouth. It can affect an individual’s overall wellbeing. Many serious health conditions, including respiratory infections, diabetes, and poor nutrition are closely linked.

The connection between gum disease and diabetes is a two-way connection. People with diabetes are more susceptible to oral infections and are at a greater risk of developing gum disease. And treating gum disease can also lead to better control of diabetes.

Regular dental exams by your dentist are also the first line of defense when it comes to early detection. According to the Canadian Dental Association, every year approximately 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer and 1,050 deaths from oral cancer occur. This devastating disease has a low survival rate because it is often diagnosed very late. With early detection the survival rate of oral cancer can be greatly improved. This means going to your dentist for regular dental exams. Your dentist has the training and experience to detect oral cancer early.

Poor dental health can have a significant impact on how well you nourish your body. If you suffer from a sore or infected mouth, it is difficult to eat. For seniors, this can mean substantial weight loss, dehydration, and infirmity. And for children, poor dental health can contribute to behavioral and learning difficulties.

Studies have shown that poor oral hygiene in older adults is a major risk factor for aspiration pneumonia because the microorganisms that can cause pneumonia are commonly found in the dental plaque of elderly people.

Visiting the dentist is the best way to ensure that your mouth is healthy. Your dentist will work to diagnose, treat and prevent dental health problems and allow you to speak, eat and socialize without pain, discomfort or embarrassment. With the increase in evidence showing the connection between oral disease and your overall health and well-being, it is important to understand that dental health goes beyond cavities.

Source Alberta Dental Association + College

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