Regular Dental Checkups And Cleanings Protect Far More Than Just Your Teeth

Why do you go see the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup? If you answered "to keep your teeth healthy," you're not wrong... but you really only gave half the answer. The whole truth is that regular dental care and teeth cleaning protect a lot more than just your teeth. Here's a look at three other ways dental care protects your health.

You'll reduce your risk of heart disease.

Heart disease kills thousands of Americans every year, and even a non-fatal heart attack is a very big deal. Clearly, you want to do all that you can to protect your heart, and that includes seeing the dentist regularly. When your teeth and gums are not kept clean, oral bacteria proliferate. If these bacteria make their way to your heart, which they can, they will cause inflammation, which increases your chances of heart conditions like plaque buildup in the coronary arteries and eventually heart attack. Keep your teeth and gums clean, including with regular professional cleanings, and your heart will be glad.

Kidney disease may be detected earlier.

Diseases of the kidneys often don't cause any obvious symptoms, to the patient at least, until they are in their later stages. However, your dentist may notice signs of kidney disease before you do, enabling you to get earlier treatment, yielding a better end result. Bone changes in the jaw often occur pretty early on in the kidney disease process. This is because your body stops removing urea from the blood, which stops the body from absorbing calcium properly. Your teeth may become loose in your jaw to an extent that only your dentist is able to notice at first. Your dentist may also notice that your salivary glands are inflamed -- another sign of kidney disease.

Oral cancer will be detected earlier.

There are so many different types or oral cancer. They are all easier to treat when they are caught early, but unfortunately, oral cancer does not always cause pain early on, and some lesions may be hidden in spots where you can't readily see them. But they can't hide from your dentist! Your dentist and dental hygienist will screen you for oral cancer at your checkup appointments. With early treatment, you do not have to worry as much about the cancer spreading to other nearby tissues like those in your neck, lymph nodes, and brain. 

Don't skip those regular dental cleaning appointments. Your health depends on it!