You work out every few days. You try to eat right. Your weight is in the proper range. Do you also go to the dentist regularly? If not, you are missing out on a key aspect of your physical health.

Human oral health is tied to physical health.  This bond grows stronger and stronger as a person ages.  Mouth infections can spread to the rest of the body. That’s why it is vital to address an abscess with antibiotics. Any problem that is allowed to fester around the teeth leads to bigger and bigger problems down the line. That’s why being active about your oral health is so important.

Tooth Loss

Many adults have lost a tooth by the time they are age 40.  If they address this problem with a dental implant, they are less likely to lose more teeth. That’s because dental implants help reinforce the bone.  They actually reduce the risk of severe jaw bone loss.

The bone loss must be caught early. Otherwise, it may have a ripple effect, causing more teeth to get loose and fall out.  Some may have surgeries to try and correct this problem. While this is a good solution, every procedure has a certain level of risk associated with it.  

Replacement teeth help physical health in another way.  If your teeth are good, you are more likely to eat a healthy diet.  On the other hand, if you lose enough teeth, your diet will suffer, and your health with it.

Wisdom Teeth

If you still have your wisdom teeth, you aren’t alone.  Despite the large numbers who have them removed each year, the majority of the population still has their third molars.  Unfortunately, those third molars can exacerbate gum disease and contribute to problems in the back teeth. 

Knowing this is half the battle. The other half is regular dentist visits to make sure that your wisdom teeth aren’t infected and aren’t causing infections in the adjacent teeth.  You also need to find out if you have gum disease in the back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth tend to contribute to that problem.

There is a connection between retaining your wisdom teeth and long term health.  Since wisdom teeth contribute to more infections and to crowding, the presence of these third molars is often a detriment to a person’s oral health.  Everything that affects the mouth can eventually have an effect on physical health. 

Gum Disease

Scientists have been studying the correlation between gum disease and health problems. There is no clear data to explain why the same people often suffer from those two problems. Yet this is a perfect example of how regular dental visits can provide warnings about broader health issues.  

Dentists have many scientific tools to find problems early.  As with your physical health, an early diagnosis generally means that the issue can be corrected and further problems deflected.  They can even find oral cancers early, and this can save a person’s life.  

Late-Life Dental Surgeries

A person’s risk of an adverse reaction to a procedure rises as they age.  This makes prevention and early intervention even more important.  A healthier mouth keeps a person out of the oral surgeon’s chair. This means less chance of a reaction to anesthesia and less chance of developing a related infection.  

Few of us are serious enough about our oral health. Maybe focusing on the physical health aspects will encourage all of us to be more vigilant. Instead of thinking of it as preventing cavities, we can think of it as protecting our bodies from long-term damage.