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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why You Should Never Skip the Dentist

Even though everyone knows you have to visit the dentist twice a year, some people still put it off. In addition to preventing periodontal disease (aka gum disease) and making sure your pearly whites are in tip-top shape, there are other health benefits from visiting the dentist. The following health conditions may not be directly related to your teeth, but they can be identified and prevented by a dentist:

• Oral cancer. Smokers and people who consume more than one alcoholic beverage daily are at a higher risk. When you have your teeth cleaned, the hygienist does a visual and manual inspection and can spot anything that looks suspicious.

• Heart disease. According to a new study conducted at Berkeley, women who get dental care may lower their risk of heart disease by one-third. Need we say more?

• Diabetes. Doctors say there is a cause and effect link between diabetes and oral health. If you are diabetic or gave a family history of diabetes, your dentist may recommend upping your cleanings to three or even four times per year.

• Nutritional deficiencies. Dentists may be able to see if you’re lacking certain vitamins and nutrients by looking at your tongue and gums. A pale tongue, for example, might suggest an iron deficiency.

When money is concerned, it is also less expensive to have regular cleanings than to shell out for major procedures like root canals in the long run.