Diabetes and coronary heart disease are very common problems, but people with these conditions should pay more attention to preventive dental care. Researchers have discovered that people with diabetes or coronary heart disease, or both, who look after their dental health are less likely to have serious health problems associated with these diseases, including a reduced risk of hospitalisation.
A US study found that people who received regular preventive dental care enjoyed reduced healthcare costs and were less likely to require inpatient care. The study focused on people who received at least one preventive dental care visit annually and found they achieved substantial savings for inpatient and outpatient care and prescription medications. Most importantly, patients remained healthier overall.
Which Preventive Dental Care Treatments Can Help and Why?
Preventative dentistry is very straightforward, and treatments that can help include your regular dental exams and especially your dental cleanings. This is because preventive dentistry focuses on helping to detect and prevent disease, particularly gum disease. Gum disease or periodontal disease is strongly linked with health conditions that include diabetes and heart disease.
How Does Gum Disease Affect General Health?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by plaque buildup, and it is often associated with poor oral hygiene. If you fail to brush and floss your teeth regularly, dental plaque soon hardens into calculus or tartar, and the bacteria in plaque infect and inflame your gums. The infection and inflammation cause gums to become red, tender, and bleed more easily. As they bleed, the harmful bacteria that cause this disease can migrate from your mouth directly into your bloodstream, and from there, they can travel freely around your body, creating more inflammation. Gum disease can worsen existing health problems like diabetes and heart disease or increase the risk of developing in the first place.
Unfortunately, the early signs of gum disease are easy to miss, so your regular dental exams are extremely important. When you come and see us regularly, we can soon check your gum health, and if you have early signs of gum disease, we can provide appropriate dental care. Often the early signs of gum disease, a condition called gingivitis, are easily treated by cleaning your teeth professionally, getting rid of plaque and tartar buildup and eliminating the bacteria that cause this infection.
Once your teeth are thoroughly cleaned, we can always review your oral care routine with you if necessary. Sometimes it can be very useful to go over brushing and flossing techniques, especially as we have lots of tips and tricks to make these essential tasks easier and more effective.
When you visit our practice, we prefer to take a holistic view of your health, considering your oral health and overall health. After reviewing your dental and general health, we can devise a suitable treatment plan to help you maintain a healthy mouth and body more easily. If you already have diabetes or heart disease, or both, we can monitor your oral health more closely and may recommend more frequent dental cleanings to help keep your gums strong, healthy and free from infection.