Has your fear of visiting the dentist started to affect your health? About 36% of Americans have a fear of dental treatment, keeping many from regular appointments.1 Staying away from dentist’s offices for long periods of time can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and other complications that greatly affect overall health. A regular check-up, no matter how scary, is crucial for optimal dental health
Dental health may influence several overall health conditions
Gum disease is the most significant dental disease affecting adults. In fact, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years or older have some form of gum disease.2 Keeping your gums healthy can reduce the risk of a number of serious health issues:
- Heart disease and strokes. The American Heart Association reports that mouth bacteria that can cause infections has been found in stroke patients’ brains. Research is still ongoing on the exact relationship between gum and cardiovascular disease, but the research suggests detailed check-ups might help reduce the risk.3
- Diabetes. Conditions spanning from inflammation to gum disease can lead to higher blood sugar levels and elevated risk of diabetes.4
- Pre-term birth. An expectant mom’s gum health can indicate a possible premature birth. Pregnant women who entered labor early were one and a half times more likely to have gum disease than women who experienced a full-term pregnancy.5
Break the cycle of poor dental health
You can proudly display your pearly whites by creating good dental habits.
- Polish your smile. To have a healthy mouth, brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time with toothpaste that has fluoride and floss once a day.
- Check it out. Conquer the dentist chair twice a year. In between check-ups, self-examinations can help you see the health status of your mouth.
- Pass the brush. Teach your children these healthy habits to establish good oral health from the start. Cavities are the single most common chronic childhood disease.6 The sugars in milk, juice and sodas linger in kids’ mouths, which can cause decay. Even though children will lose their “baby teeth,” the habits they form in their early years will last a lifetime.
With a GuideStone® dental plan, you have access to a wide variety of tools and information to help you improve your dental health. Learn more today.