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Preventive dental visits should begin with the eruption of the first tooth or by age 1 whichever comes sooner.1
47.2% of adults, equaling 64.7 million individuals, have some form of periodontitis by age 30.2
To maintain optimal oral health, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends regular dental visits, at intervals determined by a dentist. Based on a recent study, published in the Journal of Dental Research titled "Patient Stratification or Preventive Care in Dentistry," researchers speculate that high-risk patients would likely benefit from more frequent dental visits, while low-risk patients may see the same benefits from only one cleaning per year.3
The risk of oral cancers is the highest risk in heavy smokers and drinkers. According to some studies, the risk of these cancers in heavy drinkers and smokers may be as much as 100 times more than the risk of these cancers in people who don’t smoke or drink. People who both smoke and drink alcohol, no matter the amount are at higher risk for oral cancer than those who do neither.4
Although largely preventable, dental caries (tooth decay) remains the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults.5
Certain risk factors put individuals at higher risk for periodontal disease, including diabetes. Research shows that there is an increased prevalence of periodontitis among those with diabetes, adding periodontal disease to the list of other complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.6
Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene, causing gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.7
There is no definitive evidence at the present time that proves gum disease causes heart disease or stroke, or treating gum disease reduces the risk of those diseases. Gum and heart disease share common risk factors, including smoking, age and diabetes. Studies have found an association between the two diseases that cannot be explained by the common risk factors, however, more evidence is needed to address whether periodontal disease can cause atherosclerotic heart disease.8
The oral cavity reflects the overall status of the body. Systemic diseases are often manifested in the oral cavity before the disease itself is suspected.9
Dry mouth is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep the mouth wet. Dry mouth increases the risk for tooth decay. It’s important to know that dry mouth is not part of the aging process itself. However, older adults are also more likely to have certain medical conditions that can lead to oral dryness and many older adults take medications that can dry out the mouth.10