Out of a survey commissioned by the Australian Dental Association, an alarming 68 per cent of the respondents, numbering 25,000, admitted to not having visited the dentist Gordon in two years. Also, cause for concern was the 67 per cent who delayed seeking professional dental care for poor oral health issues like cavities, bleeding gums and fractured teeth.
Putting off seeking professional dental care for a dental problem or even getting a routine teeth and gum check every six months puts more than your dental health at risk.
Why people delay dental care
People often cite the costs of dental care as the reason for avoiding the dental chair. The problem with this is that ignoring the treatment of a minor dental problem will only result in the problem becoming more complex the longer it is left untreated. Treatment for complex dental problems like root canal therapy will invariably cost a whole lot more than it would to treat and fix simple issues like getting rid of plaque or filling in cavities. Treating complex dental problems may also require more than one appointment in the dental chair.
Another reason Australians may avoid seeking dental care is dental phobia – a condition whereby a patient’s fear and anxiety of the dental environment prevents them from getting the treatment they need to treat dental diseases. Modern dentistry has seen much progress in making dental care more comfortable and relaxing for the patient. Many dental practices accommodate the needs of nervous patients by including techniques like sedation dentistry in their dental service menus. Patients can also practise relaxing techniques to help with their fears and anxieties.
It must be said that the longer the dental chair is avoided, the more invasive the treatment will need to be to restore dental health.
Why delaying dentistry is a concern
Medical researchers have long discovered that a healthy mouth holds significant, life-long benefits for physical and mental health and wellbeing. It is a well accepted fact that a lack of proper oral hygiene leads to problems with teeth and gum health.
When teeth are in a state of decay, it is par for the course for the patient to experience dental pain. Pain by its very nature can make life intolerable. Dental pain can easily interrupt your daily routine making working and sleeping a challenge. Eating is made difficult, too, which means the body may not be able to receive the adequate nutrition it needs for optimal function.
Lack of proper oral hygiene raises another great concern – the overpopulation of bad bacteria in the mouth. Dental diseases occur when bad oral bacteria outnumber the good kind. Periodontitis is one such dental disease that can have serious consequences for physical health.
Bad bacteria responsible for the development of gum disease have been found to leave the oral cavity and enter the body via the bloodstream. These disease-causing bacteria travel via the bloodstream and land in vessels and arteries of the cardiovascular system. Here they form clots to inhibit blood flow, increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack.
Like the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system can also be under attack by bad oral bacteria. They can contribute to inflammation in the lungs leading to potentially fatal illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis.
Dental care is important as it protects the health of your teeth and gums as well as life-sustaining organs such as the heart and lungs.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.