A healthy mouth in 2013
As we enter the new year with so many good intentions, I would like to invite everyone to add another resolution to their list...improved oral health! As a practicing dentist, I see firsthand the effects lack of regular dental care can have on the overall health and well-being of many people. If you want to feel good and stay healthy throughout your life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.
Whether you are 8 or 80, your oral health is very important. If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime. Losing your teeth is not inevitable, as it was for many in previous generations. However, your mouth changes as you age, so being vigilant throughout your lifetime and having regular dental check-ups to detect early signs of dental disease is critical to maintaining a healthy mouth and body. Some 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year and both cavities and gum disease don’t cause pain in their initial stages. By the time they do hurt, much damage has already been done.
Today we know that there are associations between oral health and overall health and that physicians are beginning to work more closely with dentists to monitor the health of their patients. Dentists are a critical part of a patient’s health care team, in that they are often the first ones to detect changes in a patient’s oral condition that can signify overall health problems. I urge you to make a resolution today to adopt healthy oral care habits at home and seek regular dental care. You can help your teeth last a lifetime and have a smile you’ll be proud of.
Dr. Kevin W. Dens
KEVIN W. DENS is a board trustee of the Minnesota Dental Association (www.mndental.org).