Are you ready to eat right, toss the cigarettes, and “sweat to the oldies”? New Year’s resolutions are most often about leading healthier lifestyles, but we don’t think about including our mouth in those thoughts. They may just be the most important part of keeping us healthy, especially during COVID-19. This year we saw heightened complications in the midst of the pandemic in patients with tooth and gum issues.
Tooth decay and gum disease is a major health problem that does not normally get a lot of New Year-New You, attention. In fact, 80 percent of adults have some form of gum disease.
Many are not aware of the diagnosis, symptoms, or its lasting effects. People with gum disease are more likely to develop diabetes or heart disease. Pregnant women increase their risk of delivering low-birth weight and premature babies, and periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Pancreatic Cancer. Periodontal disease presents inflammation in the body, which can lead to an increased risk of breathing difficulty, causing a devastating, life-threatening impact on patients who have been hospitalized with COVID-19.
There is no better day than today to take better care of your mouth and teeth. A few tips:
- Brush twice daily: Mouths are your front-line defense for bacteria that damages not only your teeth and gums, but also other organs and systems in your body.
- Floss daily: Your toothbrush cannot reach between your teeth where bacterial film likes to build up. Daily flossing cleans the spaces between teeth, depriving bacteria of a safe haven.
- Two dental cleanings a year: Your dental hygienist supplements your daily brushing and flossing by cleaning the pockets where bacteria may escape your own routine. Additionally, the hygienist provides a vital screening for problems between dental checkups.
- Get a regular annual dental checkup: Preventative dentistry is better for your health and much cheaper than dealing with major dental problems.
- Visit a periodontist for gum evaluation: All adults should have a full periodontal examination once a year. This important assessment provides you and your dentist with a baseline measurement to record your pocket depth (space between your teeth and gums), the presence of gum disease, gum recession, bleeding, tooth mobility, and plaque build-up.
- Eat, drink, and be wary: The enemy of oral health is a group of natural bacteria that thrives on sugar and dissolves the protective enamel covering the teeth. Refined sugar is present in an overwhelming number of foods and is part of the modern diabetes “epidemic.” This year, make a commitment to tooth and health-conscious eating habits.
- Consider a new and stronger smile: Getting dental implants and crowns for missing or broken teeth isn’t a luxury; these problems can have a domino effect that will leave you with shifting teeth, a vulnerability to gum disease, and other growing damage. These necessary restorations will improve your quality of life and your long-term health.
Do not wait for slight gum problems to become severe. Get screened and seek an expert evaluation from a periodontist today. Improving your dental health and preventing tooth decay can have a larger health impact than just a healthy mouth and brighter teeth – it may just save your life.
Learn more and schedule your appointment at DrKarlSmith.com.