One of the first things children are taught in their schools is to brush their teeth regularly. This is because we communicate primarily through our mouths. To take better care of our mouths, we go to the dentist. That’s when then the dreaded appointment is placed—the child’s first visit to a dental clinic.
About 30 million to 40 million people—an estimate of 9% to 15% of Americans—don’t go to a dentist due to dental anxiety and phobia, an extremely common phenomenon. They cite fear as the main reason, as a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation revealed.
However, dental anxiety and phobia are used interchangeably, but in reality, they are two completely different things. Anxiety is when you’re feeling worried or nervous about visiting a dentist in Meridian, Idaho for an appointment. It’s common for people to suffer from anxiety on their way to the dentist. They can’t sleep the night before and when they’re on the dentist’s chair, they start to feel uneasy.
Perhaps because the mouth is such an intimate part of the body and the idea of a complete stranger probing in there—and their total lack of control—drives this anxiety.
Phobia is a different phenomenon. It’s an intense irrational, unreasonable fear of an object or situation. People suffering from dental phobia end up avoiding the dentist’s chair for too long, sometimes years or even decades. This results in severe gum infections or periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss, and regular pain.
Importance of Dental Care
Regardless of how you feel about going to the dentist, the importance of dental care cannot be denied. People who have neglected this, perhaps unknowingly, put themselves in more physical danger than they are aware of because research has shown that dental care is directly related to overall physical health.
That is because your mouth contains different species of bacteria. The good bacteria help digest food, but the bad, harmful bacteria can cause illnesses and infections. It all starts with the gums.
Common Dental Problems
Bleeding gums are caused by an infection due to poor oral hygiene. When these bacteria enter the bloodstream, it’s easy for them to spread to the rest of the organs of the body. According to experts, your likelihood of having a heart attack increases by almost 50% if you have gum disease.
In women, the spread of an infection from the mouth to the reproductive organs could have an adverse effect on your fertility. Even when you’re pregnant, these bacteria could affect your unborn baby.
Another disease that could develop in people with gum disease is Type 2 diabetes where the blood sugar in the body is too high because the body is unable to manufacture insulin. Insulin is a type of hormone that breaks down blood sugar for energy. Studies have indicated that gum disease sufferers are 50% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes because the inflammation can prevent the body from processing insulin properly, leading to a condition known as insulin resistance.
These are just some of the diseases research have shown to be affected by gum disease. Equally as important is the sense of mental well-being that comes with having a healthy mouth.