Ongoing preventive dentistry is the best way to prevent the occurrence of oral problems and the other medical conditions that can often stem from a lack of oral hygiene. From childhood we are taught the importance of brushing and flossing, which is the basis of oral hygiene.
And even with regular brushing and flossing and other personal dental care, regular dental checkups are required to ensure that no problems are developing unnoticed. These problems are not just limited to stained teeth, cavities, gum infections and halitosis, which are the most common dental problems. Any infection in the mouth can spread to other parts of the body and result in a wide range of medical conditions, some of which can be serious. According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, 75% of Americans have some form of periodontal disease, which only a dentist can treat.
Regular visits to the dentist – normally every 6 months – are a key factor in dental health. During the visit you will be checked for gum disease and infections of various kinds, screened for oral cancer, checked for cavities and causes of halitosis, as well as the removal of tartar and plaque.
Regular professional check-ups are meant to supplement a daily oral hygiene regimen. Regular brushing and flossing as well as the use of mouthwash are the first steps in dental health. Making a habit of oral hygiene and following the basics of dental health will give you a healthy smile and fresh breath, and can also save you from the consequences of all the other diseases that poor oral hygiene can lead to.
Did you know almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year? And that the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64 percent? When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.
The oral cavity includes your lips, cheek lining, gums, front part of your tongue, floor of the mouth beneath the tongue and the hard palate that makes up the roof of your mouth. The throat (pharynx) starts at the soft part of the roof of your mouth and continues back into your throat. It includes the back section of your tongue as well as the base where the tongue attaches to the floor of your mouth.
During your dental visit, Dr. Acosta can talk to you about your health history and examine these areas for signs of mouth and/or throat cancer. The screening will consist of a visual inspection of the mouth and palpation of the jaw and neck. Regular visits to your dentist can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily. In between visits, it’s important to be aware of the following signs and symptoms and to see your dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks.
Gum, or periodontal, disease, is a threat to your oral health. Research is also pointing to possible health effects of periodontal diseases that go well beyond your mouth (more about this later). Whether it is stopped, slowed or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day, from this point forward.
Periodontal disease can be caused by many factors including bacteria in the mouth, family history, systemic diseases and medications that affect the gum tissue and the bone that hold the teeth in place.
The signs of periodontal disease are red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums, pus formation between teeth and gums, gums receding from the teeth, changes in the alignment of the upper and lower teeth, and bad breath.
As the progression of periodontal disease continues, the gum tissue and bone is effected and can lead to extensive bone and tooth loss. Once the bone has been lost it will not grow back, but with continued maintenance and therapy appointments many patients can keep their teeth for many years.
Additionally, periodontal problems can lead to health complications that affect other parts of the body.
Dr. Acosta is committed to treating this condition. As a team, we educate the patient during every phase of treatment.