Did you know that 92% of Americans over the age of 20 have cavities due to tooth decay and more than half of those over the age of 30 have some degree of gum disease? These statistics underscore the importance of good dental care in halting these progressive conditions before they lead to much bigger problems that affect not only your oral health, but your overall health as well.
At Lancaster Dental Care Associates, our team stands by our name, and we offer a wide range of services that are designed to help safeguard your dental health. Whether it’s through early intervention in the form of fillings or great preventive care, our goal is to give our patients in Lancaster, California, the tools they need for a lifetime of great dental health.
As part of our services, we’ve found that patient education is key, which is why we’ve pulled together the following reminder about how to take care of your teeth and gums and why it’s so important for your overall health.
The bigger picture
Before we get into the best way to care for your teeth and gums, let’s take a closer look at what’s at stake. Thanks to gum disease and tooth decay, primarily, 178 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and 40 million people are missing all of their teeth.
This tooth loss goes far beyond aesthetic concerns. While it may seem obvious, tooth loss affects the way you eat and speak, and it can also lead to bone deterioration in your jaw, which puts your healthy teeth in peril.
While these are localized problems that we can easily remedy to ensure that your dental health stays on track, the reach of oral conditions like gum disease extends much further than your mouth.
If it’s left unchecked, the infection that goes along with periodontitis can have an impact on other areas of your health. For example, a recent study found that patients with Alzheimer’s disease had higher levels of P. gingivalis, a type of bacteria that’s associated with gum disease. While more research needs to be conducted to establish the exact link, this study shows that an association exists between the health of your gums and Alzheimer’s disease.
Gum disease may play a role in several other health conditions, including:
- Endocarditis — an infection in the lining of your heart
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy problems, including premature birth and low birth weight
The bottom line is that the human body is closely connected, and a problem in one area -- even in a small area like your mouth -- can have a more systemic effect.
An ounce of prevention
Now that we’ve covered some of the dangers of poor oral health, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to head off these problems.
We know you’ve heard it many times throughout your life, but the care you provide your teeth and gums at home is critical. At a minimum, we recommend that you:
- Brush twice a day
- Rinse thoroughly after eating
- Floss once a day
Of course, there are always things you can do to improve upon this regimen, like brushing after every meal, but we understand that life can get awfully busy. So why not compromise and anytime you drink a sweet soda or eat something that you know may not serve your dental health, give your mouth a good rinse with water?
And if flossing is difficult for you, water picks are great tools that dislodge food and debris from between your teeth and around your gums.
If you do your part at home, we can do ours during your twice-yearly dental cleaning. These all-important visits allow us to thoroughly clean your teeth, getting into some of those places that at-home care can’t reach. In fact, a good teeth cleaning is often all it takes to clear up gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease.
Between your diligence at home and our services here at Lancaster Dental Care Associates, we can help keep your dental health in tip-top shape and avoid some of the more serious complications that can come with diseased teeth and gums.
If you have any questions, or if you’d like to schedule your dental cleaning, please contact us at 661-282-7512 or book an appointment online.