If you want to hear good news from your dentist at your next dental exam, you need to brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once a day, and avoid foods and beverages high in sugar. If you smoke, quit and if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
Regular exams and cleanings are also important to your dental health. This is especially important for older adults, diabetics, cancer patients and pregnant women. Nobody looks forward to going to the dentist, but we go anyway. Regular checkups and good dental hygiene habits can help prevent dental disease, and dental examinations give dentists the opportunity to spot dental issues and general health problems, too.
Signs You Should See a Dentist
Besides scheduled examination, there are times when your body is telling you should see a dentist. Some signs to look for include:
- Swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
- Teeth are sensitive to hot or cold
- Consistently bad breath
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Frequent dry mouth
- Mouth sore that won’t heal
Other reasons to see a dentist include:
- You have fillings, crowns, dental implants or dentures
- You’re pregnant
- You have a medical condition like diabetes, cardiovascular disease or eating disorder
- You smoke or chew tobacco
- You’re undergoing hormone replacement therapy, radiation treatments or chemotherapy
- Your family has a history of tooth decay or gum disease
Diseases A Dentist Might Discover
When a dentist examines your teeth he or she is looking for indications of health and dental issues.
- Acid Reflux – Problems with halitosis might indicate a disease like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Another symptom can be tooth erosion.
- Type 2 Diabetes – Periodontal disease, which is most common in people 65 and older, can disrupt your body’s ability to control blood sugar. Those with type 2 diabetes are more prone to periodontal disease.
- Low Bone Density – Loose teeth could indicate low bone mineral density.
- Autoimmune Disease – Severe dry mouth can indicate Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease.
- Celiac Disease – A gastrointestinal autoimmune disease can affect the teeth by damaging tooth enamel, discoloration and spots.
- Eating Disorders – Symptoms of anorexia and bulimia can be seen in the mouth including tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth and canker sores.
Although you may not like going to the dentist, it is important to see one regularly. If costs are a problem for you, consider purchasing dental insurance. A good policy can help with your budget.