By Michael G. Rehme, DDS, NMD, CCN
Here’s something a lot of people never think about: how their teeth are the only visible part of their skeleton. I think that’s a powerful concept.
Also powerful is realizing that your teeth and gums not only give clues as to their own condition but also to your health in general. That’s why it’s so important to receive more than “just a cleaning” at your regular hygiene visits.
Effective hygiene is about education and prevention. It’s about motivation and participating in a dental health program designed to protect and stimulate the tooth and body connection.
An effective hygiene exam should include checking the pH of your saliva and evaluating a live sample of the microorganisms in your mouth under a microscope. It should also include an oral cancer screening, a tongue diagnosis, advice on nutritional support if desired, and, at least once every two years, a complete periodontal charting.
Providing this more expansive type of hygiene exam usually requires about an hour to complete, but you’ll find it’s time well spent. The information we collect allows a more thorough evaluation by the hygienist and the dentist and also provides a greater insight into your health. All together, it creates an understanding of your needs in order to maintain or improve your state of health.
Back in July of 1998, the American Academy of Periodontology published a report stating that “infections in the mouth can play havoc elsewhere in the body.” Microbial infections, including those caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites have demonstrated an association between periodontal diseases and numerous systemic complications: cardiovascular disease and stroke, diabetes, respiratory diseases, osteoporosis, pre-term low birth weight babies, and many more. Periodontal disease has been linked to chronic fatigue, increased risk for contracting colds and the flu, and overall malaise.
So are regular dental cleanings necessary? Absolutely. Did you know that 85% of adults have periodontal disease of one sort or another? Your hygienist monitors your progress on a regular basis – so long as you get to your dentist’s office.
Isn’t it comforting to know that someone else can help you keep an eye on your health?
Dental problems are not only diseases of the mouth but disease of the body. Any time part of your body becomes diseased, it stresses your entire immune system. The stress can be most harmful when the disease is a chronic one, which is the form from which most patients suffer.
A hygienist, educated in biological dentistry, can probably play the single most important role in your total preventive program. What used to be a “regular cleaning” becomes a much more valuable experience for your health.
Edited from original