Proactive Dental Treatment: Conditions That Regular Cleanings Prevent

When was the last time you had a dental cleaning?  According to the Centers For Disease Control, only 61.7% of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 visited a dentist for any reason during the calendar year of 2013.  If you happen to be among the 38.63% who did not seek dental care, that means you have increased your odds for developing issues that could affect your general well being.  Here are some of the health issues that can arise when people choose to avoid dental cleaning at least once or twice each year.

Tooth Decay

A thorough cleaning requires careful examination of the teeth. While a dental hygienist is likely to perform the cleaning, rest assured that the professional knows how to detect anything that is out of the ordinary. The close scrutiny of the teeth needed to make sure all the plaque and other buildup is gone also means any cavities that are just starting to form can be viewed clearly.  Thanks to the early detection, it is possible to remove the decay and fill the space before more of the tooth is gone forever.

Damage to the Jaw

When people hear of gum disease, they naturally think of something that is affecting the gums.  While that much is true, periodontal conditions can do much more. Left without treatment, the condition will drive plaque further into the gum tissue.  Eventually it will begin to weaken the bone structure of the jaw. At that point, the teeth are no longer held firmly in place. You could find yourself needing to replace those loose teeth with a partial or possibly opting for dental implants much sooner than you expected.

Heart Health

Did you ever think that teeth cleaning could have a positive impact on your heart function? The fact is failing to have cleanings and practicing good oral hygiene increases the odds of developing some type of heart condition. As gum disease develops, it often causes bleeding.  The blood mixes with bacteria and is often swallowed.  Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria will travel to your heart.  If you have cleanings regularly, it is possible to catch any gum disease early, get treatment, and protect your heart.

Alzheimer's Disease

That same bacteria which are capable of damaging your heart can also increase the odds of developing Alzheimer's Disease. As the bacteria reaches the brain, the immune system releases chemicals that help to kill neurons.  Over time, that reduces cognitive function and leads to memory lapses and other symptoms associated with Alzheimer's.  To enhance your odds of remaining mentally alert for the rest of your life, have your teeth and gums cleaned at least twice a year. Doing so will make it easier to identify the presence of periodontal disease and treat it before any long-term damage to the brain can take place.

Pancreatic Cancer

While not all forms of gum disease are known to be factors in the development of cancer, there is evidence that periodontitis can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in men.  According to a study conducted at the Harvard Medical School, men with periodontal disease have a 64% higher risk of developing the cancer than men who have excellent dental health.  If nothing else, reducing the risk of cancer should be enough motivation to have a dental cleaning once or twice each year.

The decision is yours.  On the one hand, you can consider regular cleanings to be unnecessary and a nuisance. On the other hand, you can realize they are an important part of standing a chance to live a long and healthy life. Make your choice wisely.