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Why dental care is key to staying healthy


Why dental care is key to staying healthy

Did you know that comprehensive health care includes regular dental visits? Your teeth and gums are part of your whole body, right? Research shows that the health of your mouth reflects the health of the rest of your body. That’s why it is important to remember to take care of those pearly whites, especially before something starts to hurt. Here are some facts about teeth and gum health and why regular dental care is essential.

Healthy mouth = healthy body

The Academy of General Dentistry has found that gum disease can lead to other health conditions including strokes and heart disease. Pregnant women who have gum disease have higher rates of complications when giving birth.

As many as 90 percent of people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and some cancers also have oral health problems. These symptoms include sores in your mouth, swollen gums, dry mouth and tooth pain. This means that if you see a dentist regularly, he or she may also be able to help identify other health issues.

Getting your dental check-up

Regular dental checkups are recommended twice per year (unless your dentist tells you otherwise). Checkups allow a dental hygienist to clean your teeth and gums and give the dentist time to review the overall health of your mouth.

Exams not only help you stay healthy but also give your dentist a chance to identify problems, such as cavities, before they worsen. Getting cavities filled and taking care of other problems are important and can help prevent infection, pain, tooth loss and other problems down the road.

Taking care of your teeth between visits

Going to the dentist twice each year is important, but is not enough to keep you and your mouth healthy. Some important ways to reduce oral health problems and prevent gum disease and cavities include the following:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes
  • Flossing regularly
  • Eating healthy foods full of vitamins and nutrients and cutting out sugar-laden snacks
  • Avoiding tobacco products. These contribute to gum disease and cancer.

Finding a dentist

Locating a dentist that accepts your health insurance and provides low-cost comprehensive dental services can be hard. For clinic locations and more information, visit

This article was provided by Neighborcare Health, an SHA partner. Neighborcare Health is the largest provider of primary medical and dental services for low-income and uninsured families and individuals in Seattle. They serve more than 75.000 patients each year at nearly 30 medical, dental and school-based clinics. Find a clinic in your neighborhood. All are welcome at Neighborcare Health.