Did you know your mouth is the gateway to your body? Your oral and general health are closely entwined. Research has found connections between various dental issues and certain medical conditions, which means a healthy smile is more important than ever. While you might believe your teeth and gums are healthy, here are 4 shocking facts about oral health you should know.
1. 91% of adults have cavities.
Although tooth decay is preventable, 25% of adults have untreated decay. Your teeth are protected by the hardest substance in your body, but it’s not indestructible. Every day, it’s attacked by cavity-causing bacteria that slowly wear away at it until a hole forms. Unfortunately, your enamel can’t regenerate, and you’ll need a filling. You can safeguard your smile from cavities by committing to a good home oral hygiene routine and limiting your sugar consumption. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup to keep your mouth cavity-free.
2. 50% of adults have gum disease.
Cavities aren’t the only cause of tooth loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50% of adults have gum disease. With no treatment, the infection will destroy the supporting structures on your teeth and may enter your bloodstream. Gum disease has been linked to many serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Besides brushing, flossing is the most effective solution to combat gum disease at home. If you develop red, swollen, or bleeding gums, contact your dentist right away for an appointment.
3. 1 in 6 Americans has a dental emergency annually.
2 million Americans visit a hospital ER every year for dental emergencies, but most aren’t equipped to treat oral health issues. While they can prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers, only a dentist can treat the underlying problem. Often, oral emergencies result from untreated dental problems, like tooth decay. You can avoid needing an emergency dentist by keeping your mouth healthy at home and visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. Wear an athletic mouthguard if you play sports, and don’t use your teeth in place of scissors or other tools.
4. It costs more to delay dental care.
Brushing and flossing are your first lines of defense against preventable dental problems, like cavities and gum disease, but they aren’t enough. Routine cleanings and checkups prevent decay and infections to preserve your natural smile while reducing your long-term dental expenses. Research has found that every $1 spent on prevention can save up to $50 on restorative and emergency fees.
If it has been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, it’s never too late to recommit to a healthy smile, so you don’t become a statistic.
About Dr. Peter A. Pate
Dr. Pate achieved his dental degree from the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry and regularly pursues continuing education to provide advanced services, like veneers, dental implants, and sedation dentistry. If it’s time for your next cleaning and checkup, contact our office today to request an appointment.