Your dental health is something that you should always keep a keen eye on. More often than we should, we think of going to the dentist as something that is more about whitening and straightening teeth than actual healthcare. While going to a dentist is going to help keep or restore a beaming white smile and can straighten teeth, it’s something that is important for your health and overall well being. Your mouth is a part of your body where its importance is often overlooked—it’s what we use to eat and breathe and speak. An unhealthy mouth can lead to greater health issues in the future, even beyond discomfort, pain, and unpleasant breath.
Everyone has pretty good oral health here, right?
Despite what we might think about the oral health of our home, the Northeast isn’t a bastion of perfect smiles, minty fresh breath, and whitening strips. New York State actually ranks 26th out of all of the American states and territories in overall oral health. We are literally at the middle of the pack, and we could all do better in taking care of our smiles. The percentage of children, ages 2-17, that go to the dentist every year is 84%, that same statistic for adults, 18-64, is only 64%. Just by looking at these broad numbers, it’s pretty clear that as we age we push the importance of keeping up with oral care lower and lower in the hierarchy of our lives. And, while the younger among us tend to see dentists an oral surgeons more often 1 in 5 children in the US still go without any form of dental care, more than 40% of children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten, and these children are 3 times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain.
What are the threats and how serious are they?
What are the biggest threats to your oral health then? What is it that is causing so much harm to our smiles? A few of the biggest culprits probably won’t shock you—tobacco, lots of sugar, skipping dental visits, and not brushing after meals. Some of these things are easier to curb than others, and if you are looking to preserve your smile, your lungs, and your skin there are options for you and places that can help you kick the habit. A diet high in sugar and acidity is bad for your teeth, but malnutrition is a factor in oral decay as well. If we don’t get the nutrients necessary to maintain and grow, our bodies aren’t getting the things they need to fight infections and protect from disease and other oral health threats. Eating a big plate of greens and getting the right amount of complex carbohydrates in your daily diet aren’t just things for bodybuilders and athletes to worry about, it’s important for electricians, first-grade teachers, parking attendants, waiters, and stay at home moms too.
Let’s be really real.
Let’s be real for a minute, we all put things aside and let problems linger in the back of our mind until they become too big to ignore. We’ve got the pile of clothes that are clean but we’ll find time to put them away later, the dish that sits a little too long in the sink waiting to be cleaned, and that molar that kind of hurts when you eat something that’s cold but it’s not a big deal so we’ll just tough it out. One of these things is a medical issue that shouldn’t be put off, the other two are things that make us bad roommates. Neglecting dental issues can lead to bigger problems downs the road; it could result in large-scale decay or even infection. We shouldn’t neglect out mouths.
Without going into a long tirade about the importance of oral health, developing good dental habits and eating well, or making it a point to see a dentist more than once a year (which we should), I’ll just leave it with one simple statement. We’re not superhuman; none of us can afford to put off healthcare issues whether it’s a broken bone, a chipped tooth, or a weird sting when we drink cold water.
See your dentist today and ensure your smile stays beautiful and healthy.
Schedule an appointment today, give us a call at 315-698-6880