Preventive Dentistry 

by John R. Treinen, DDS

Why are Dental Cleanings so Important?

Dental cleanings allow dentists to thoroughly examine their patients. Cleaning the teeth removes plaque and can prevent cavities and tooth decay from causing tooth loss. X-rays are normally only taken every two or three years. Their age, overall general health, their history of tooth decay may also play a role in whether or not x-rays are called for. An experienced dentist often can tell what is happening without the need of additional x-rays but will request them anyway as a confirmation before performing any type of extensive procedure. A thorough dental exam can also indicate other health issues within the body that may need to be evaluated.

What are Common Signs of Gum Disease?

Gum disease may go undetected for a time, but eventually, signs and symptoms will become noticeable. Bleeding around the gums or the loss of gum tissue as the gum line begins to recede are two of the most obvious signs. As gum disease progresses, teeth can begin to decay and loosen in their sockets. Eventually, the teeth will begin to fall out. Gum disease can also lead to an abundance of bacteria in the mouth that may lead to bad breath. Brushing the teeth, flossing regularly, and using a mouthwash approved by the American Dental Association can help to reduce incidence and severity of gum disease.

What Effect Does Cardiovascular Disease Have on the Mouth?

Over the years, doctors and dentists have suggested that there is a strong link between cardiovascular disease and good oral health. Certain studies claim that individuals who exhibit signs of poor dental health on the average have more heart attacks and cardiovascular episodes than individuals who have good oral health. Most doctors believe that if a person regularly cares for their teeth by brushing and flossing, odds are that they also have included heart-healthy habits in their lifestyle as well. One thing that has also been noticed is that individuals who had higher levels of gum inflammation also had higher incidences of heart disease and atherosclerosis.

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