Dental care, like any other kind of health care, is usually most effective when it involves a proactive approach to prevention. Stopping problems before they have a chance to start is simpler and less complicated. But rather than taking a purely defensive approach to dental care and focusing on halting potential troubles before they expand into something worse, most dentists recommend a more positive and proactive strategy. As the coaches of sports teams often say, the best defense is a good offense – and by taking the offensive in regard to dental care it is possible to ensure optimum health and well being.
A positive approach will, for example, take a holistic or whole look at dental health and pay attention to the ways that our overall mental and physical health are interconnected and interdependent. If there is disease in one part of the body, for instance, it can lead to dental problems – or it may have been originally caused by dental problems. One often cited illustration of this kind of relationship between various functions of the body and their influence on one another is the link between healthy teeth and a healthy heart. While most of us don’t stop to consider that kind of relationship – since brushing and flossing seem to have little to do with cardiac health – dental professionals inform us that there is a very real and significant connection between the two.
Sometimes, for instance, infections in the gums work their way into the soft pulp of the tooth and down into the root canal, where they can quickly spread through the bloodstream. Since the heart is the central component or engine of the circulatory system – and blood travels in and out of the heart as it is pumped through the veins and arteries – it is easy to see how an infection in the bloodstream can quickly arrive in the heart. So a pesky cavity or swollen gums may seem relatively minor and unrelated to our overall medical health. But if that kind of dental condition causes an infection to erupt that soon finds its way into the heart, it can become a life-threatening situation.
As is the case with any health care approach, it is a good idea to cultivate healthy habits. Eating well, getting plenty of exercise, and taking steps to reduce stress so that we have a positive outlook on life and get a good night’s sleep are all things that can contribute to overall health. Brushing and flossing and making regular trips to the dentist – at least twice a year for routine checkups – are also fundamental to our oral or dental hygiene. Do these kinds of things as a regular practice or regimen, and soon they become part of a healthy lifestyle that just comes naturally to us.
In other words, preventative dental health is all about nurturing a healthy way of living, and that is best done with the wise counsel and attentive oversight of a qualified and trained dentist. That’s why it is also a good idea to try to find a dentist you like and then keep them as long as possible. The longer the relationship with a dentist lasts, the more they will become familiar with you and your overall health issues – and that will ensure that you get the best possible advice, treatment, and preventative dental care.