Archived Story

Resolve to have better oral care

Published 10:25am Monday, December 31, 2012

As we enter the new year with so many good intentions, I would like to invite everyone to add one more resolution to their list — improved oral health!

As a practicing dentist in Austin, I see firsthand the effects lack of regular dental care can have on the overall health and well-being of so many people. If you want to feel good, stay healthy and look great throughout your life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.

Brush your teeth and gums. Floss. Improve your diet. Visit your regular dentist. These simple behaviors work! As Benjamin Franklin stated: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Whether you are 8 or 80, your oral health is very important. If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime. Losing your teeth is not inevitable, as it was for many in previous generations. However, your mouth changes as you age, so being vigilant throughout your lifetime and having regular dental check-ups to detect any early signs of dental disease is critical to maintaining a healthy mouth and healthy body. Some 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year, even though regular dental exams, combined with good oral hygiene, can prevent most dental diseases.

Today we know that there are associations between oral health and overall health and that physicians are beginning to work more closely with dentists to monitor the health of their patients. Dentists are a critical part of a patient’s health care team, in that they are often the first ones to detect changes in a patient’s oral condition that can signify overall health problems. People with diabetes, for instance, have a greater chance of developing gum disease, at a rate three to four times higher than people without diabetes. And, untreated, gum disease can lead to a breakdown of gum tissue and bone that may eventually result in teeth becoming loose or falling out. The good news is that your dentist may detect early stages of gum disease during regular exams, and treatments are available to help stop the progression.

I urge you to make a resolution today to adopt healthy oral care habits at home and seek regular dental care. You can help your teeth last a lifetime and have a smile you’ll be proud of.

 

Travis Schmitt

dentist

treasurer

Minnesota Dental Association

Austin