At Durham Dental, we educate our patients about the importance of taking care of their teeth, so that they in turn take care of their entire body. Most patients know that a regular hygiene appointment helps prevent cavities,gingivitis, gum disease and bad breath. But not as many know that there is a connection between oral health and avoiding chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Heredity and risk factors like smoking and unhealthy diet are of course also factors, but research shows people with gum disease are 40% more likely to have a chronic illness, too – – 91% of patients with heart disease have gum disease (periodontitis). The connections are being researched but they appear to have a lot to do with inflammation. Inflammation around the teeth or gums activates the body’s immune system and without oral hygiene that constant immune response has side effects. Our patients receive thorough routine care and education about how to best take care of their teeth, in turn taking care of their overall health and well-being.
Why Brushing and Flossing is Not Enough
While it’s vital to brush and floss regularly, those two healthy practices don’t do the job by themselves over time. They slow the buildup of dental tartar –the source of inflammation – but they don’t stop it altogether. That’s because once tartar forms, even a little bit, it becomes a site for buildup. Its unique surface and consistency is a foundation for more tartar to form. And once it forms, tartar is too hard and too firmly attached to be removed by brushing and flossing alone.
Hygiene Can Also Mean Harder Teeth
We offer our patients fluoride varnish treatments at each hygiene appointment. When fluoride varnish is applied as part of your oral hygiene appointment it helps prevent tooth decay and it also remineralizes – or hardens – the surface of your teeth. It’s just one more good reason to schedule that “cleaning” appointment!