An attractive smile can increase one’s confidence, sociability and sense of well-being. But behind a dazzling smile, maintaining healthy teeth and gums is just as important to prevent serious health conditions.

Untreated cavities can be painful and may lead to serious infections and gum disease. When plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, thickens on the teeth, it can harden into tartar and contribute to gum infections. Left untreated, gum disease can cause loss of teeth and risk of serious illness. Bacteria in plaque can travel from the mouth to the lungs, causing lung infections.

Poor oral health has also been linked to sleeping problems, behavioural and developmental problems in children, and can affect one’s ability to chew and digest food properly. Researchers are investigating possible links between poor oral health and heart disease and between poor oral health and women delivering pre-term, low birth rate babies.

While oral health is important at all ages, older adults may have less access to oral care services and dental professionals if living on fixed incomes without dental insurance. Seniors in long-term care facilities may be especially susceptible to complications from poor oral health because of frailty, poor health and increased dependence on others for personal care. In many cases, oral health problems in residents go undetected until there are acute symptoms, such as pain or infection.

The best defense is prevention by removing plaque every day with brushing and flossing before it can build up and harden into tartar. Regular checkups are also a proactive way to prevent dental health problems – before they even become a problem!

At our practice, we emphasize prevention. Regular checkups and excellent daily oral hygiene are the best defense against serious problems with your teeth and gums.