Dental visits are important for preserving the health of your teeth and gums, but a healthy set of teeth is not the only potential benefit of regular dental checkups. Researchers have found evidence that oral health problems could affect parts of your body far from your mouth. In addition, dentists are often the first healthcare professionals to notice the signs of certain types of cancer. If you've been putting off making a routine appointment with your dentist, here are some compelling health reasons not to delay any longer.
Gum Disease Could Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
Studies suggest that people with gum disease are more likely to get heart disease. According to research published by the U.S. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the oral bacteria that cause gum disease may interact with the immune system to cause inflammation in the heart and blood vessels.
During a checkup, your dentist uses a metal tool to check the health of your gums. You might not enjoy this part of the dental visit, but it is essential to find out whether your gums are sensitive or bleed easily. Gums that bleed, hurt, or are red or swollen can indicate that you have gum disease. Your dentist can recommend treatments to tackle the bacteria that are attacking your gums, which may also help to protect you against heart disease.
Dentists Can Spot the Early Signs of Cancer
Dentists and dental hygienists spot the early signs of oral cancer more often than doctors, according to OncoLink. During a routine checkup, dentists look carefully at your tongue, gums, lips, and other tissues around your mouth. They are trained to spot signs of cancer in these parts of the body, such as discolouration, sores, lumps, or thickening in certain oral tissues. Dentists who notice these worrying symptoms will refer you to a cancer specialist, who can conduct tests to find out whether you have oral cancer and recommend treatment.
Oral cancers that are detected early are easier to treat. You may eventually notice symptoms of oral cancer yourself, such as sores that refuse to heal or persistent pain or numbness inside your mouth, but it is best not to wait until symptoms become unmissable before seeking medical attention. By visiting a dental clinic once every six months for a checkup, you can be sure that the early signs of oral cancer will not go unnoticed. For more information, contact a business such as Melrose Dental.