Brushing, flossing, and proper nutrition are key for good health. But good personal dental habits may not be enough to prevent dental issues and disease. To maintain good overall health, you should include consistent dental visits. Failure to do so may have dire consequences.
Potential Effects of Insufficient Dental Care
Most people understand the most common consequences of avoiding the dentist. You may suffer from cavities and gum disease. And these issues can get far worse over time. The longer you delay dental care, the more damage you may suffer.
1. Tooth Loss
Untreated tooth decay and gum disease can lead to the loss of one or more of your teeth. Regular check-ups can identify problems before they advance to that point. But neglect and no dental treatment are a recipe for pain and loss.
2. Gum Disease
Long term neglect is a common cause of periodontal disease of the gums. If you’re ignoring tender, inflamed, and bleeding gums, you may be inviting periodontitis. Early intervention with a deep cleaning at the dentist can stop this disease in its tracks.
3. Oral Cancer
Screenings for oral cancer are a vital part of preventative dental care. Early detection may be helpful for the prevention of mouth cancer. These screening are even more important when you’re in a high-risk group. This includes smokers, heavy drinkers, and people with a history of extreme sun exposure.
4. Other Health Problems
Poor dental care can affect far more than the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. Every part of your body is interconnected. Neglecting one system can have a detrimental impact on your overall health. For example, periodontal disease is linked to many diseases.
- Heart disease: Research shows that oral bacteria may cause or worsen some cardiovascular conditions, like endocarditis and stroke.
- Dementia: Many studies show a correlation between poor dental health and mental decline from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Respiratory infections: Increased bacteria from periodontitis may cause more distress for those suffering from respiratory disease.
- Diabetes complications: Inflammation from gum disease can worsen some symptoms of diabetes.
- Pregnancy complications: Low fetal weight and early labor are possible consequences of periodontitis.
- Infertility: Sperm health and the ability to conceive may take a hit from poor oral health.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Research shows a link between chronic periodontitis and ED.
- Osteoporosis: Brittle bones are another condition that may be linked to gum disease.
5. More Sick Days
Pain from toothaches and related illnesses have financial consequences. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources reported 20.5 million missed work days related to dental health problems. It impacts education, too. Statistics for missed school reveal that 51 million hours of school were lost to poor dental health in a single year.
6. Cosmetic Issues
Health issues are your most serious concern. But even if you’re lucky enough to avoid disease, your appearance may suffer. Cracked, chipped, and stained teeth are potential hazards of insufficient dental care. Bad breath may be an issue, as well.
Dental Care for Better Health
Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and seeking dental treatment, when indicated, are key to better health. But even if you’ve neglected this care for many years, you can still benefit from a return to the dentist. Dentistry has undergone many advancements. Many treatment options are available for ailing gums. You may even still be able to save failing teeth with a root canal.
Implants and dentures can replace missing teeth and improve how you look and feel. It’s never too late to pursue good dental health, and an experienced dental professional can guide you.