Achieving and maintaining good oral health doesn’t just give you a healthy smile, it has great health benefits as well.
We all know that ensuring a healthy lifestyle is necessary to maintain good general health. Most of us take the time and care to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and excess alcohol.
But did you know that poor oral health can also have an impact on your general health?
Considering the link it is surprising that more than half of Australians do not have regular dental check-ups with the same dentist. (AIHW 2015)
We spoke to Health Partners Dentist and Clinical leader, Alyson Loughlin to find out how regular visits to the dentist can help your overall health and wellbeing.
"I think one of the best reasons to attend regularly for dental examinations, is to encourage patients to learn about their own oral health, it’s important that people understand how they can effectively self-manage their health."
How can poor dental health affect someone’s general health?
Your mouth doesn’t operate in isolation from the rest of your body, and what happens in there can have a flow on effect.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease as it is more commonly known, has been linked to a variety of chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and aspiration pneumonia. Seeing your dentist regularly can ensure that you maintain good periodontal health and therefore reduce the risk you face.
Babies born to mothers with periodontal disease are also more likely to be born early (pre-term birth) and have lower birth weights.
What action can someone take to reduce these risks?
Good oral hygiene is often the best defence. Avoiding excess sugar and acid in your foods helps to avoid decay and the wearing down of enamel. While brushing your teeth twice daily, in the morning and before bed, flossing at least once a day can help you to maintain good oral health.
But I can’t stress enough how important it is to make the dentist part of your oral health care routine
While maintaining good oral hygiene day to day is essential, it does not eliminate the importance of seeing your dentist regularly. Think of your dentist as your partner in managing your oral health.
Your dentist is able to ensure continuity of care by developing an ongoing relationship with you during your regular dental check-ups.
When someone comes in to see a Health Partners Dentist for an examination, we will check their medical history, examine their gums, screen for soft tissue diseases including oral cancer, check for dental decay in their teeth and under restorations. Health Partners Dentists also routinely discuss individual concerns such as disease prevention, long term treatment planning and cosmetic treatment at these routine appointments.
Resource: AIHW 2015 - Oral health and dental care in Australia Key facts and figures 2015, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare