SOMETIMES WE OVERLOOK THE IMPORTANCE OF DENTAL HYGIENE, SKIPPING APPOINTMENTS, NOT BRUSHING OR FLOSSING AFTER EVERY MEAL. DENTISTS ELI ABBO AND BILL ABBO EXPLAIN WHY WE SHOULD “WATCH OUR MOUTHS.”
By Dr. Eli Abbo and Dr. Bill Abbo
I usually like to start by telling them that the lack of hygiene, combined with infrequent dental evaluations and poor oral care, might lead to expensive emergency room visits. Cavities and gum problems, such as gingivitis or periodontitis (bone loss around teeth) detected at an early stage, have a much simpler and less costly solution than treating lesions that have developed over a long period of time. This is why dentists recommend checkups every six months.
Inflammation in your mouth caused by plaque and its progression is also related to other degenerative processes in your body, including:
• HEART DISEASE: Experts agree that there are strong reasons to believe that dental health, particularly gum disease, and heart disease, are intertwined. Inflammation is a common problem in both conditions: the hardening of arteries -or atherosclerosis- and much of the progression of plaque building within the arterial blood vessels are actually an inflammatory process. Several published studies find that gum disease is by itself a risk for coronary ailments. It has been proven that people who have lost teeth, and suffer from gum disease, have a higher risk of strokes.
• BLOOD SUGAR: People with diabetes are more likely to suffer from periodontal diseases, and patients with gum conditions have a harder time controlling blood sugar.
• IT MAY AFFECT YOUR BREATHING: Gum disease may increase the risk of respiratory infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, because of the bacteria that might be inhaled into your lungs.
During a routine checkup, the dentist will look for cavities, plaque, and tartar (calcified plaque). Plaque is a layer of bacteria that forms within minutes of removing it, and when not done right, hardens and turns into tartar, which remains even with regular brushing and flossing. The accumulation of plaque and tartar may lead to oral diseases. Only your dentist or hygienist can properly eliminate it.
A full dental examination includes a thorough checkup of your gums with a special tool to measure the space between them and your teeth. When people have gum disease, these spaces may become deeper, thus the name “pockets.” If necessary, your doctor might need some x-rays as well.
Strange as it may seem, they will examine your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck, in order to look for any swelling or lesions that might become malignant.
Once your teeth are “scaled”, or cleaned, they may be polished with a gritty paste that helps remove any surface stains on your teeth. Finally, your dental professional will use floss to make sure the areas between your teeth are clear.
I recommend to rinse your mouth daily with a good mouthwash, to get rid of plaque and bacteria. This will also help to freshen your breath.
As a dental health professional, I always advice my patients to have regular checkups, for it is the only way to have healthy mouth and teeth, and ultimately a healthier body as well. You will benefit from a beautiful smile, fewer visits to your dentist, longer life, and what’s more, a low dental bill.