Regular dentist visits can do more than keep your smile attractive – they can also tell dentists a lot about your overall health, including whether or not you may be at risk for chronic disease. New research suggests that the health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole. For example, when your mouth is healthy, chances are your overall health is good, too. On the other hand, if you have poor oral health, you may have other health problems. Infections that start in your mouth can lead to even worse health concerns. Gingivitis is a common inflammation of the gums. It can develop into periodontitis, a much more serious infection that can cause tooth loss. Both gingivitis and tooth loss can be fought against if the right steps are taken.
Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in top shape and allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems and improper jaw alignment. Provide your dentist with a complete medical history and inform him or her of any recent health developments, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health. Talk to your dentist about how often you should visit. If you have a history of cavities or crown and bridge work, or are wearing braces, you should visit the dentist more often. Some people, such as diabetics or smokers, have more gum disease than the general population. They also should visit the dentist more often.