General dentistry is important for maintaining the health of your smile and your overall health. Unaddressed tooth decay or gum disease can cause infections and other conditions that can put your entire body at risk for health problems. Proper tooth care needs more than brushing and flossing morning and night. If this were all it takes to keep your teeth in top shape, you would almost never need to go to the dentist.
However, good oral health requires more attention than that. Many people will wait until a problem, such as toothache or bleeding gums, arises to go to the dentist. To keep your gums and teeth healthy and avoid other oral health problems, regular dental care visits are essential. Poor dental health is also linked to a number of health problems, including diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Routine dental checkups are about total health care, not just your teeth. The Academy of General Dentistry states that there is a significant relationship between gum disease and other health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Good oral health can actually prevent other diseases. Dentists and medical professionals agree that the vast majority of systemic diseases, that is, those that affect several organs or the entire body, manifest themselves in the mouth.
Normally, the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, keep bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that could cause oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.