Whilst dental check-ups and hygienist appointments are nothing short of vital for maintaining good teeth and gums, there are still millions of people in the U.K who don’t regularly attend. Even more surprisingly, 30% of Britons admit that they have never seen a hygienist, and a quarter of Britons don’t brush their teeth everyday…
These revelations mean there is a long way to go where educating patients on their oral health is concerned. In this blog, we’ll explore:
Dental check-ups are a preventive undertaking on your part, to ensure dental problems don’t escalate to become serious. Unlike other parts of the human anatomy, teeth can’t renew and repair themselves post-damage. The earlier problems are stopped, the easier it is for your dentist to perform minimally, or non-invasive treatment to protect them from issues like cavities, decay, infections and disease in the future.
Dentist visits aren’t all about your teeth though. During your appointment, you will also be screened for mouth cancer, which can affect any of the soft tissues in your mouth. An elusive disease at first, mouth cancer can be incredibly difficult to spot when you’re staring down into the deep dark depths of your mouth in the mirror at home. At the practice, we use incredibly powerful dental loupes to see every nook and cranny inside your mouth, so that any anomalies are quickly detected. Mouth cancer has an extremely high recovery rate when spotted early, so it’s important to see a dental professional every six months, so the early signs can be identified. These are characterised by symptoms such as:
There is now an increasing amount of research linking poor oral health to the condition of the respiratory system, and to brain inflammation. A 2019 study found that the bacterium that causes gum disease is also linked to Alziehmer’s. The DNA of the P. gingivalis has been shown to be present in the brain fluid of people living with the neurological condition. Research has also now concluded that P. gingivalis occurs prior to the development of Alziehmer’s, demonstrating bacteria build up as a pre-cursor, rather than as a consequence. It’s believed that gum disease creates brain inflammation, which brings about changes such as the production of beta-amyloid plaque, aka that which is associated with Alzheimer’s.
Futhermore, there is also a tangible link between plaque and heart disease. The bacteria that infect your gums, causing gum disease, can eventually travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body. Once there, vessel inflammation can increase the liklihood of blood clotting, heart and attack, and stroke.
Whilst this all doesn’t sound like good news, the solution for avoiding these problems is actually really simple; keep your mouth clean and free from plaque. Here’s how….
As we touched upon in the intro, Britons still aren’t in tune with how beneficial a routine checkup with the hygienist is. A hygienist is responsible for the removal of biofilm deposits (plaque and tartar) along your gum line. This type of dental cleaning is essential because it can’t be performed at home. Special instruments are used by your hygienist, who uses their professional dexterity to take away the sticky bacteria coating your teeth. The longer these deposits are left to affect your teeth, causing an initial bout of inflammation which causes symptoms like bleeding gums and gum recession. Eventually, this very gradual (and often referred to as ‘silent’) disease can really take its toll on your teeth. Catch things early by coming in for routine hygienist cleanings, to avoid the gum and bone deterioration caused by periodontal disease. As without healthy bone and jaw, your teeth will not have a hospitable environment in which to sit, causing them to eventually fall out.
This is very dependent on your risk factors for both gum disease, tooth-related problems, and oral cancer. If you have specific risk factors for certain conditions, we may ask you to come in more frequently than 6 months – a year. The risk factors for some common dental and oral health-related problems include:
Dental decay: a high-sugar diet, poor brushing routine, neglecting to visit the dentist.
Gum disease: smoking, neglecting to visit the dentist, wider health problems.
Dental infections: you have undergone root canal treatment in the past, you have multiple cavities.
Oral cancer: symptoms like red or white patches (and the other oral cancer symptoms mentioned above), smoking, excessive alcohol intake, a poor diet.
Make sure you’re attending regular dentist checkups to underpin the efforts you’re making at home to uphold your dental health. Regular dental visits can also help to reduce your nerves if you’re someone who suffers from dental anxiety. We have help many patients overcome their fear of the dentist, and they are now no longer anxious to come in to have their teeth checked over.
Contact us to join our practice in Canary Wharf, which boasts lots of natural light, a welcoming and smiley team, and experienced dental professionals who care about your wellbeing.Back to Blog
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