When you think of reasons for going to the dentist, what comes to mind? Perhaps a toothache, that sparkly clean feeling, or getting checked for cavities pops in your headfirst. Those are all great reasons to get a dental checkup, but your Spokane Dental team plays a larger role in keeping your whole body healthy. Here are four health benefits for getting regular dental checkups:

1. Lower Risk and Better Outcomes for Cancer

At every dental appointment, our doctors and hygienists examine the oral tissue for signs of cancer. We examine the tongue, cheeks, gums, and throat and are trained in cancer detection. Studies¹ show that regular dental checkups are associated with diagnosing mouth and throat cancer at earlier stages, which means earlier intervention.

The cancer prevention benefits of regular dental visits go far beyond early detection of oral cancer. In a study² published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, research showed a 24% increase in developing cancer amongst patients that had advanced periodontitis (gum disease). John Hopkins Medicine combined research to examine the link between gum disease (mild, moderate, severe, as well as edentulous, meaning no teeth) and found higher instances of lung and colorectal cancer.

Regular Dental Checkups

The only way to treat periodontal disease is with regular dental cleanings. Our hygienists are able to remove the inflammation causing bacteria through cleanings and prevent the disease from worsening, stopping the inflammation process. Stopping this inflammation and bacterial overload has a direct positive impact on the overall health of a patient’s body.

2. Management of Disease

As we mentioned, managing the bacteria and inflammation in the mouth directly affects the rest of the body. This fact will put the importance of oral heath into even better perspective: treating gum disease through regular dental cleanings has been shown to improve blood sugar control in diabetic patients.

While blood sugar and healthy gums may seem unrelated, the link is inflammation. Inflammation in the mouth disregulates blood sugar levels. Managing oral health means better management of all inflammatory diseases.

3. Better Pregnancy Outcomes

Gum disease in pregnancy is linked to poorer pregnancy outcomes, like preterm labor or low birth weight babies. Although treatment options change during pregnancy and things like x-rays are avoided, dental cleanings are considered safe and beneficial in pregnancy.

There are many factors that can make it more difficult for a pregnant woman to maintain oral health such as morning sickness, food aversions, and decreased immune system function. Partnering with your Spokane Dental team we can help manage oral health through pregnancy, for a healthier you and baby.

4. Healthy Aging

As we become older, managing health can become more difficult. One way to age more healthily is through managing oral health. In a study monitoring Alzheimer's patients, those with gum disease declined in memory ability six times faster than the patients who did not have periodontal disease. Other diseases that manifest more as we age can be helped by the proper management of oral health and systemic inflammation as well.

The link between oral and overall health lies in managing inflammation. The great news is our dental team is trained specifically in preventing and treating inflammation in the mouth, oftentimes without the patients even realizing it. We know how imperative to our patients’ health and quality of life a healthy smile is, and work hard in helping every individual in our dental chair eliminate oral disease.

We recommend a dental checkup and cleaning every six months. This timeline works to prevent oral and gum disease, and stay on top of the plaque and bacteria that grows on teeth underneath the gums where a toothbrush cannot reach at home. A little overdue for a dental cleaning? No problem! We can get you back on track. Call today to schedule an appointment for a healthier you! (509)822-5614

Image credit: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/more-evidence-of-link-between-severe-gum-disease-and-cancer-risk