What To Expect When You Neglect Your Oral Health

The Picture of Neglect

Some dentists say that they’ve observed that the most negligent group when it comes to oral health is that set of people in their twenties. These young adults call themselves health-conscious, mind you, and are very much aware about healthy foods, healthy lifestyles and practices. They have the discipline to work out at the gym, attend yoga classes, and engage in sports. However, if you ask them about the state of their teeth and gums, they’d say they’re fine, nothing is painful and their teeth and gums look good.

Putting their energy, resources and their time into the pursuit of their general health, they tend to forget their mouth. If ever they see their dentist, who will tell them about a bad bite, a small cavity, a little puffiness in the gums, these people will likely shrug off the advice, not feeling anything wrong. After all, regular dental visits are not exactly at the top of their list.

Down the road at some time, a compromised tooth will become painful or sensitive, or their gums start to bleed, then only then will they seek dental care. The fix by this time may require more extensive repair or replacement. It doesn’t take long for significant damage to be done. In as little as a year and a half, neglect can create a torrent of issues. Some will be difficult if not impossible to fix.

Many patients in their 50s will have unsalvageable teeth which could have been saved if they were helped by their dentists 30 years earlier. Basically, if you don’t see your dentist for two years, you’re already compromising your health. If you skip visits for five years, you’re going to see some bone loss. Ten years without professional dental care and you’re almost certain to have severe bone loss.

Bone loss is asymptomatic, people just don’t feel it happening. Bones become less dense and more fragile as one gets older, becoming prone to breakage. Unfortunately, harmful bacteria in the mouth hasten the process of disintegration in the bone supporting the teeth. Teeth can loosen in their sockets and fall out and nothing can be done at this point to stimulate bone growth. Bone loss can be prevented with good habits that diminish bacterial growth in the mouth so that teeth are preserved longer.

Being mortals, we are designed to age and die. Our teeth and gums will eventually give way, but we can slow it down by paying attention to our oral health.


Caring About Oral Health in Bellingham

If you are concerned about your overall health, certainly your oral health is part and parcel of your well-being. Keep your regular visits with us and preserve your dental health for the longest time possible.

Less Emergency Visits with Proper Dental Care

Benefits of Preventive Oral Care Plans

If you are a health provider or the patient, did you know that with a preventive care benefit, you can reduce the times you have to go to the emergency department of hospitals and even hospitalizations?

If dental services are integrated more tightly into the medical care system, it can cut utilization by those people with chronic conditions. Research shows that those with chronic illnesses but without dental coverage through medical insurance companies had a higher rate of hospital stays than those with dental benefits. On the other and, those who had dental coverage but did not use the benefit for preventive services had 3 times higher incidence rate of emergency department visits than those who took advantage of routine dental care.

Having quality dental coverage, and using it for preventive care, can contribute to overall good health. Research reinforce how integrating medical and dental coverage and care can be associated with improved health and lower costs for those who suffer from chronic medical issues.

We know already that poor dental health has been linked to an increase in heart disease and that gum disease and other dental issues contribute directly to cardiovascular events. There are strong correlations between oral health and the successful management of chronic conditions.

Research found that persons with serious oral health conditions spent twice as much as other members on healthcare expenses. Individuals with dental health issues are also 25 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease, two times as likely to experience an emergency visit or hospitalization, and are also more likely to be diagnosed with autoimmune conditions, kidney disease, and anemia.

Seeking oral care throughout life can help detect more serious problems still to happen. Unfortunately, dental benefits are not always available, or often financially separated from traditional insurance coverage. This affects the access for individuals on the lower end of the socioeconomic strata. Individuals in the lowest income brackets are half as likely as well-off patients to visit a dentist. This situation calls for more concern if good oral health is targeted to be available to all.


Preventive Care with Benefits in Bellingham

Know that at Tetrick Family Dentistry, we practice preventive dentistry on all our cases. Proper preventive care avoids or delays oral diseases that are also linked to chronic health issues. Visit us in Bellingham.

Worse Than Candy: Other Foods That Wreck Your Teeth

Watch These Everyday Food and Drinks

We all know that candy is bad for the teeth. The high sugar content of candies can build up as plaque on tooth surfaces, even under the gums. Later bacteria attacks the plaque and turn them acidic, and can eventually lead to cavities and tooth decay. Little did you know that there are far more dangerous food stuffs out there worse than candy.

What’s Worse than Candy?

Just as bad as candies is eating dried fruits; they have a high sugar content and are very sticky, tending to adhere much longer on tooth surfaces. They can also get stuck in-between teeth. Skip the dried variety and opt for fresh fruits instead. Another culprit is soda. A 12-ounce can of soda has 39 grams of sugar, about ten teaspoons. Soda is also very acidic. Bottled juice can also be acidic and often contains added sugars, as much as ten teaspoons per serving. It would be better to make your own fresh fruits instead.

Pasta sauce is acidic. Tomatoes, which make up most pasta sauces, are healthy, but they’re also acidic. Eating tomato sauce with spaghetti enhances the damage to the enamel of teeth. The acid in the sauce can break down the enamel and the carbs in pasta help feed cavity-causing bacteria. Another is apple cider vinegar. While it has detoxifying properties, it is high in acidity and can erode enamel quickly. If apple cider is part of your regimen, always dilute it with water, drink it in one sitting, and rinse well afterward.

Coffee and tea are both acidic and diuretic, which means they can dry your mouth. A dry mouth makes you more prone to cavities and gum disease. Popular blended coffee drinks is even worse because of all the added sugar. Protect your teeth by swishing with water afterward. Beer, wine, hard liquor, and cocktails can also do damage. Beer has carbs which can turn acidic, wine is sugary and so are cocktails. Also, remember, the higher the alcohol content of the drink, the more it can dry the mouth. Check the USDA for the nutrient content of foods.

Other foods that can pose a danger to your teeth that are worse than candy, are gummy vitamins, flavored chips, cough drops and flavored yogurt.

Advising Moderation in Bellingham

Ask Dr. Tetrick, your Bellingham dentist, what other foods and drinks considered to be harmful to teeth and gums. While what we’ve mentioned are favorites, moderation, if not avoidance, is key to oral health.