The high-stress lifestyle which we all live these days leaves us with very little time to take care of one the most important things – our health. There is simply no time to take precautionary measures. The doctor ceases to become someone we visit only when there is no getting out of a health scare, and that too when we are unable to treat the problem ourselves! Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly an appropriate way to go. Timely checks help us avoid last minute tensions, and in turn, time and money so to say.
On that note, we realised that somehow the most ignored health aspect is taking care of our teeth. Unless someone is grappling with a toothache or maybe a loose tooth, there hardly is a time when we visit a dentist on our own. So much so that in the process we fail to see the long-term repercussions of missing a dental check. According to National Oral Health Programme, only 50% of India’s population uses a toothbrush and just 2% of the population visit the dentist.
Teeth are an indicator of not just a clean mouth but also a healthy heart! Yes, you read it right. During a routine dental exam, a dentist will check for any gum problems, decaying of teeth, and any tartar or plaque build-up. However, the overall oral condition will also indicate if you suffer from any vitamin deficiencies (especially vitamin C), and other serious problems such as diabetes or oral cancer. Dentists are also ideally supposed to check for the movement of your lower jaw joints (TMJs) to indicate any joint problems and peripheral head and neck issues. But most importantly, there is a strong link between healthy gums and our heart. Apparently, the oral bacteria easily spread through the body worsening any impending heart diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and other inflammatory conditions. No, we don’t mean to scare our readers at all. Just trying to reiterate the importance of dental hygiene for the overall wellbeing.
Even if you brush twice a day, floss, avoid harmful substances such as tobacco and cigarettes, it is vital to go for a dental exam every six months. That is what the American Dental Association recommends for all, young and old. Just schedule a 6-monthly appointment with your dental practitioner so there will be no hassle in remembering the dates. Do check with the doctor if the daily dental routine you follow is on the right track; if the brushing and flossing technique you use are correct; if there’s anything more that needs to be done for the maintenance of the teeth and gums. At such appointments, you will be checked if the previously done fillings are still strong or need rework. That is critical because the way we chew the food has a direct effect on our entire digestive system. Sometimes, dentists may even ask you to take an x-ray to check for any root damage. That again is very important since it will avoid significant pain, if some tooth root does show to be problematic, in the later days. Hence, dental exams allow a thorough complete protection against future concerns and thus are absolutely indispensable on a periodic basis.
Before any dental procedure, don’t forget to share your medical history with the dentist. It is important that they know about your medications, medical history, heart diseases, diabetes, pregnancy etc. It is also always recommended that you share your health concerns, allergies, or anxieties with the dentist. In today’s age of smartphones, you don’t really need to carry too many files with all such details with you. All you need to do is maintain your medical history through a mobile app, and share the information with the doctor during your visit!
The sound of the drilling by some dental devices or pain experienced during treatment in the past may be keeping you off such visits. However, don’t be nervous. Do remember that it is all momentary. And also, something for your own good. Once the check-up/ treatment is done you are good to go for another couple of months without any worries. Your teeth will look cleaner, you will feel so fresh and healthy, and more than anything else, the bright smile will be so worth it!