Did you know that going to the dentist could save your life?

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We’re all aware that dentists are there for us when we need them to take care of a painful cavity, to whiten our teeth or to remind us to floss more. But maintaining the health of our mouth is just as important as maintaining the health of the rest of our body, which is why dentists recommend receiving a routine check-up once every six months. Just one trip to the dentist could alert you of potentially serious issues, such as the ones described below, and early detection is paramount to preventing each of these possible health problems.

To Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. In its earliest stages, gum disease begins with bacteria and plaque build-up in the mouth, which inflames the gums and causes them to bleed easily. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread beneath the gum line, where it will begin to deteriorate the bone and tissues that hold teeth in place. Regular dental cleanings and examinations, as well as a good oral hygiene routine of daily brushing and flossing, can significantly reduce the risk of gum disease.

To Detect Oral Cancer

The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that as many as 40,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013. The oral cavity, which includes your lips, cheek lining, gums, tongue, floor of your mouth and hard palate at the roof of your mouth, is just as susceptible to cancer as any other part of your body. As much as 75 percent of oral cancer cases are linked to tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption, but other factors that contribute to your risk include poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition and infections caused by bacteria or viruses. If detected and treated early, oral cancer is highly-curable, so it’s important to receive routine dental check-ups, during which your dentist can evaluate your health history and look for signs of cancer, such as hardened lumps and sores in the mouth or rough areas on the tongue.

To Avoid Dental Emergencies

By routinely visiting your dentist, any minor dental issues you may unknowingly be facing are far less likely to develop into serious dental emergencies. During a regular exam, your dentist can detect early signs of problems, like cavities, broken fillings or gum disease – and if these problems are neglected, they may require extensive treatments, surgery or extraction. In order to avoid costly procedures and painful incidents in the future, it’s essential to follow through on a preventative dental care plan that includes regular check-ups.

To Identify Other Serious Medical Conditions

A dentist helps prevent serious conditions related to your oral health, as well as your overall health. Symptoms of severe, life-threatening medical issues can often be detected during a routine dental examination. For example, a symptom as simple as gum bleeding may indicate the presence of leukemia or a platelet disorder. In addition, routine dental X-rays can spot bone deterioration that is indicative of osteoporosis.

Not many people enjoy going to the dentist – at times, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, seeing the dentist could potentially save your life, not to mention the appearance of your smile. Plus, excellent dental practices are now doing more than ever to ensure your comfort during your visit, as they hope to encourage you to return for your next check-up. To defend against potential problems like oral cancer, broken teeth and more, find excellent dental care near you and receive a routine examination once every six months.

About the Author

Dr. Frank Nia, one of the skilled and highly-trained general dentists at Stonewalk Family Dentistry in Alpharetta, GA, is a dual graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received both his DMD degree from the School of Dental Medicine as well as his MSEd in Higher Education from the Graduate School of Education. An active member in the dental community, Dr. Nia is a firm believer in the notion that preventative dental care should focus on improving patients’ overall health, rather than only the health of their teeth. To further his training and expand his knowledge of the field, Dr. Nia also participates in multiple dental organizations that aim to better develop widespread clinical and care standards. When he’s not busy working to improve the lives of his patients, Dr. Nia enjoys playing tennis, football and golf, as well as spending quality time with his wife and family. To learn more about the experienced and compassionate team of dental experts at Stonewalk Family Dentistry, please visit www.stonewalkdentistry.com.

Copyright © 2013 StonewalkDentistry.com

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