As 2021 winds down, many of us will bid this year a not-so-fond farewell with our sights set on a healthier, safer 2022. If your 2022 includes health goals to improve your overall state of wellbeing, here are reasons why that should also include your smile.
Good Oral Health Goals Reduce The Risk Of Diseases
Regular dental checkups help reduce plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to dental issues including gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath and of course, yellowing teeth. However, what you might not realize is that good oral health also reduces the risk for health conditions and diseases. The plaque and bacteria in your mouth can increase health risks or complications for the following conditions:
- Heart Disease: Oral plaque buildup can contribute to blocked arteries by getting in your bloodstream. This in turn increases your risk for heart trouble such as heart attack and stroke.
- Endocarditis: If you have periodontal disease, the same bacteria that cause gum disease can also enter your bloodstream, reaching your heart and putting you at risk of developing a serious heart infection.
- Diabetes: The combination of gum disease and diabetes can create an endless cycle of inflamed gums and high blood sugar. This is because inflamed gums can keep your diabetes medication from absorbing properly. This leads to high blood sugar levels, worsening inflammation, and in turn stopping your medication from working. This goes on and on. The only way to stop the cycle is to reduce the risk of gum disease or receive treatment for gum inflammation.
- Pneumonia: Lung diseases and respiratory issues can be worsened when bacteria get into your lungs through your mouth. This includes the bacteria in your mouth due to poor oral health care. This is especially risky for the elderly.
As you can see, bacteria and plaque in your mouth can make their way into your bloodstream and lungs and inhibit the proper absorption of diabetes and other medications. The best way to prevent this is to maintain good oral health.
Good Oral Health And Pregnancy
If you are planning a pregnancy for 2022, or are already pregnant, poor dental health can increase the risk for premature birth or low birth weight. Whether you are trying to get pregnant or have already received the good news, a trip to your dentist will ensure you maintain good oral health and reduce the risk for birth issues.
Regular Cancer Screening
Many patients are unaware that your dentist does not just check your teeth and gums at your dental checkups. Dentists also provide oral health screenings to look for signs of cancer in the following areas:
- Soft and hard palate
- Tonsils and uvula
- Tongue and the floor of the mouth
- Inner lining of the cheeks
- Jawbone and the alveolar ridge
- Teeth and gums
Your family physician does not check these areas as part of your annual physical exams. Therefore your dental checkups are the only way to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms that could indicate oral cancer. Oral cancers can spread to other parts of your body if not caught soon enough. Oral cancer screenings ensure early detection, so you receive the treatment you require as soon as possible.
Planning The Right Dental Treatment For Your Needs
There is more to dental care than your regular checkups and cleanings. A visit to your dentist is your opportunity to optimize your dental health and how you experience your dental treatments. You can discuss all of your dental needs with your dentist to improve your treatment, including:
- Adjusting your dental checkup schedule to suit your needs whether that means just visiting your dentist once a year, or more often
- Prioritizing your dental plan to identify the most urgent treatments
- Advice on financial arrangements available
- Checking to see what unexpected treatments might be included in your dental plan
- Instruction on home oral care to improve your oral health and reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay
- Personalized dental care based on your mental and physical health needs
- Accommodations based on dental anxiety or health conditions such as back pain or TMJ issues
- Open discussion about health issues you might not realize can be treated with dental care
Your goal for 2022 should be to build a trusting relationship with your dental team. This is the best way to receive the specialized care you require and identify treatment opportunities unique to your needs and budget.
Perfecting Your Smile For Improved Confidence
If you are dissatisfied with your appearance, it can impact your sense of well-being. Living with imperfections in your smile whether it is staining, misshapen teeth, gaps or crowding, can make you feel self-conscious. You might smile less, or feel less comfortable speaking up at work or in social situations. As a result, your life can suffer as you can miss out on the opportunity to advance your career, meet new people, or even find a partner to share your life with. If you find yourself hiding your smile, or even if you just feel dissatisfied with certain aspects of your smile, there are many cosmetic dental treatments available to help, including:
- Teeth Whitening: This is the most basic treatment but can make a world of difference to improve the look of your smile. Quick, safe whitening treatments can make a profound difference in the tone of your teeth using your choice of in-house Zoom whitening or professional-grade take-home kits.
- Dental implants: Missing teeth can be a true embarrassment, but also can lead to further serious dental issues. Dental implants offer a permanent tooth replacement solution that both looks and feels real.
- Cosmetic Procedures: There are many cosmetic procedures available to correct chips, gaps, permanent stains, poor shape, crooked teeth and more. This includes veneers, bonding, crowns and bridges using realistic materials that help hide your smile imperfections.
You can discuss your smile woes with your dentist and come up with a cosmetic treatment plan for the perfect smile in 2022.