Is My Dentist Just Checking for Cavities During a Dental Exam?

Seeing the dentist for a dental exam is not solely about inspecting for those dreaded cavities. There are good reasons why dentists suggest that we have a dental exam twice a year. Undoubtedly, checkups are important for having a beautiful smile and keeping your teeth and gums healthy. However, exams check for health issues that might not be strictly limited to your gums and teeth.

Regular dental exams help diagnose problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and many other health problems while they’re still in the early stages. This is particularly helpful as health issues are most easily treatable with early detection. If not detected and treated in the early stages, some diseases can cause severe problems. However, it isn’t only your mouth, as some things your dentist discovers may indicate diseases elsewhere in your body.

Regular visits with the dentist can reduce your risk of various diseases. Putting off professional cleanings will allow the bacteria in your mouth to form a biofilm on your teeth. This bacteria can find its way into blood vessels and tissues, causing inflammation or illness elsewhere in your body.

Your dentist can also help save you from a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, people who do not get their teeth cleaned regularly have a 24% greater risk of suffering a heart attack and a 13% higher likelihood of a stroke than those who get dental exams regularly. The dentist may also check for high blood pressure in their patients and refer them to a doctor.

Symptoms noticed by your dentist, such as swollen or bleeding gums or tooth enamel erosion, can be signs of diseases such as acid reflux, eating disorders, or osteoporosis. If you have periodontal disease, it may be a sign you could have diabetes. Crohn’s disease could be indicated by ulcers in the mouth, whereas a condition called oral candidiasis might be an indicator of a critical health issue like HIV.

Additionally, dental exams screen for risk factors for diseases like oral cancer.

So, hopefully, you now know why your regular dentist appointments are important to your health.

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