How often do you visit the dentist? We’re actually pretty good about this in the UK: most people visit at least once a year, with half of adults in a recent study claiming they attended a general dental check-up every six months, and 21% saying they went on a yearly basis.
The study was carried out by the Oral Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month 2016, and showed positive signs that the nation’s attitude to dentistry had improved significantly during the past few decades. Whilst 61% of English adults now say they go to the dentist regularly, in 1978 this was just 44%. However, 2% still say they have never visited a dentist.
Regular dental check-ups are, of course, vital to good oral health. At Danny de Villiers Dentist in Weybridge, early detection techniques are used to spot potential problems such as tooth decay and gum disease before they’ve had the chance to become serious. Often, this means spotting and treating them even before the patient has experienced any symptoms of note.
As with most health issues, gum disease and tooth decay are easier to treat the earlier they’re caught. Untreated decay can lead to painful infection and the need for root canal treatment in order to save the tooth. Both dental decay and gum disease will ultimately lead to tooth loss if they are left untreated.
What fewer people realise is that visiting the dentist can also benefit general health and wellbeing. A number of studies have linked gum disease to a host of serious health issues, including:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Low birth weight in babies whose mother had the condition
Tooth loss brings obvious issues with eating a healthy diet, whilst badly decayed teeth that make eating difficult or painful have been proven to be a causal factor in some cases of malnutrition.
Another vital role that a dentist plays is spotting early warning signs of mouth cancer. Oral cancers have an alarmingly high ratio of deaths to cases diagnosed, and late diagnosis is a major contributory factor. If a dentist spots anything of concern, an immediate referral will be made to a hospital specialist.