A few years ago, I realized that I was thinking about dental care all wrong. Instead of listening carefully to my dentist and making the necessary changes, I assumed that he was ultimately responsible for making sure that my teeth stayed healthy. Unfortunately, I developed a few serious cavities because I failed to properly brush and floss my teeth, and I knew that it was my fault. I decided to start taking notes at my dental checkups and carefully abiding by the dentist's orders. The difference was almost miraculous. This blog is all about working with your dentist to improve your result.
As you get older, you may think your teeth aren't as prone to the problems experienced years ago, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In middle age, in fact, regular dental cleanings are more important than ever. Here's why:
1. You Still Get Cavities
A staggering 92 percent of American adults aged 65 have cavities, meaning this condition isn't limited to kids. Cavities can become very serious if untreated, leading to the possibility of a life-threatening infection. Even if you don't feel as if there's something amiss with your teeth, you may have the beginnings of a cavity, which can then be sealed off to prevent further decay.
2. Your Old Fillings Might Need Replacing
If you've been accumulating fillings for cavities for as long as you can remember, you should be concerned with one or more of them eroding right out of your mouth. Over time, they can become compromised to the extent that you'll need to see a dentist anyway. Keeping regular appointments means a dentist can keep on top of all your fillings, making sure you're not developing problems.
3. Gum Disease Can Be Caught Early
In its early stages, gum disease doesn't cause a lot of complications, beyond a bit of red or tenderness; however, after a while, you'll be dealing with a constant slew of awful symptoms, from bleeding and bad breath all the way to bone and tooth loss. Seeing the signs early, your dentist can make you aware of the condition and teach you what you need to know to prevent it from reoccurring in the future. Oral health problems may also lead to other compromises to your body, including dementia, respiratory illness, and increasing complications with diabetes.
If you were thinking that dental cleanings served the simple purpose of spiffing up your teeth to a gleaming pearly-white, think again. Seeing a dentist could actually save your life, so give these annual rituals the importance they deserve in your life.
4. Oral Cancer Is On The Rise
Especially for men, there has been an alarming increase in oral cancer cases. On a global scale, cancer of the mouth is becoming more prevalent and one of your first and best defenses against it is a visit to the dentist. If you're having any type of odd pain in the mouth or neck area and/or notice ulcers on your gums or cheeks, take immediate action. A dentist can tell you if you're suffering from gum disease or have something more sinister to concern yourself with. As with most any cancer, the sooner it's identified and dealt with, the greater the long-term chances of survival become.
In middle age, HPV-types of oral cancer can start to develop, even if you were exposed to the disease a long time ago. While every generation needs to take precautionary measures against oral and other cancers, this may be a more pertinent time for you to become even more vigilant.
5. One Good Habit May Lead To Another
If you work at keeping up with regular dental appointments, you may be more likely to keep up with your health in other areas. The first step is usually the most challenging, but thereafter, it becomes easier and easier to keep yourself going in the right direction. Studies show, for example, that changing a small part of your diet, such as to include more fruits and vegetables, often leads to improvements in your lifestyle, like going for a walk after dinner. Getting yourself to visit the dentist may mean altering your habits to include having a sore foot examined by a podiatrist or finally upgrading your store-bought reading glasses to a more appropriate, prescription-strength pair.
More and more aspects of your health take priority in middle age and your teeth and gums should not be an exception. While it's a little depressing to feel as if all of your parts are breaking down at the same time, having them checked regularly is going to keep them in good working order for much longer. Also, being seen by a medical professional may mean catching a worst-case-scenario before it becomes life-threatening, and that certainly is worth a visit to a dentist's office like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock.