Heartland Dental Care Oral Health Feature In The Wall Street Journal
Many of us, including those we know and love, suffer from undiagnosed health issues. But what we now know is that a simple dental visit could be the key to actually healing our body.
Early detection is key to success
While our society often push's better nutrition and fitness to improve overall health, it's ironic that the medical professional that can best help many of us is our dentist. Let's face it, while diets and excercise are important, an oral exam gives your dentist a bird's eye view into what's really happening in the rest of your body.
Detecting risk factors
For example, periodontal infection occurring below our gum line often shows few outward symptoms, but recent studies published by the American Academy of Periodontol- ogy show that this infection dra- matically increases our risk to heart and respiratory diseases, low birth- weight babies, stroke, osteoporosis and diabetes. All of these are serious health concerns that touch the vast majority of our society.
As well, in just one visit your dentist can detect signs of oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that this cancer affects 36,000 Americans a year with almost half dying in the next five years. And while it's usually invisible to the naked eye, dentists now use noninvasive ways to identify oral cancer in its earliest stages with a painless procedure that takes only a few minutes.
The key to success, as with any medical illness, is early detection. The general public doesn't hesitate when it comes to an annual physical or visit to their physician but for dentistry the mindset is different. Fear and a lack of urgency are commonplace. The American Association of Endodondists reveals 80 percent of American adults fear the dentist; half won't schedule a visit because of it. Great strides in patient comfort have been made in recent years. Procedures are more comfortable with attention paid to patient sensitivity. Advancements in digital technology aid dentists in diagnosing problems much sooner and dental professionals are turning an ear to patient fears. With advances in the dental field the procedures utilized to diagnosis these conditions are virtually pain-free.
Improving overall health through oral health The days of self diagnosis or taking a "wait and see" approach to dental care can only delay the treatment so many individuals need. This needs to be a way of the past! In short, our mouth is a great place to start to improve our overall health. It's not always what we can see that causes the greatest effect. Sometimes it's what we can't. When's the last time you, or any dentist, looked?
You never outgrow the need for fluoride. Cavities occur at any age. Many people consume bottled water, fruit drinks, or sports drinks which may not contain fluoride. The application of professional fluoride will strengthen your teeth to remineralize the tooth structure.
Stress can become evident in your mouth as well. Bleeding gums, clinching/grinding your teeth or decreased saliva flow are all symptoms. See your dentist today.