While most don’t love going to the dentist, we try our hardest to make ourselves do it twice a year. But for some reason, we skip the dentist more than any of our other health-related appointments. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 71.4 percent of women over age 18 had their teeth cleaned in 2008. That means more than a quarter of all women are skipping the dentist!
Here are exactly what health benefits you are missing out on when you skip a cleaning.(Motivation to set up an appointment?)
Here are some non-tooth-related health conditions that may be spotted or prevented by a dentist (or go undiagnosed if you skip an appointment).
1. Heart disease. A new study from researchers at Berkeley found that women who get dental care may reduce their risk of heart disease by one-third. It’s simple – bacteria in the gums, especially bleeding gums can travel to your heart and set up residence.
2. Oral Cancer.Often times oral cancer are asymptomatic. We all have oral cancer risk factors. Smokers (duh) and anyone who consumes more than one alcoholic beverage on a daily basis. New studies are showing HPV from oral sex are very high oral cancer causing risk factors.
3. Nutritional deficiencies. By looking at your tongue and gums, we can tell if you are lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients. One thing they look for is pale tongue, which may indicate an iron deficiency. While its uncommon in our area in Denver, it can be detected.
4. Diabetes. The condition of your teeth and gums may point to diabetes. Uncontrolled gum bleeding after cleanings and other dental observations can lead to a diabetic diagnosis.
Just know that the more you skip out on your dentist, the more damage you can do to the rest of your body. More and more studies are finding systemic links coming from the oral cavity. Take care of those teeth and gums and they will take care of you!