Dental Health Screening: Why Regular Checkups Help Protect More than Just Your Teeth

Dental health screenings can help keep you healthy from head to toe.

Dental health screenings can help keep you healthy from head to toe.

One of the great benefits of having a good dental insurance plan is that regular appointments for teeth cleaning and oral exams are covered. One big reason for this is that insurance companies know a focus on prevention can actually help an individual lower their future costs for dental repairs.

But there’s another reason why your dentist and oral hygienist want to see you twice a year: to help keep you healthy from head to toe.

During a routine visit to the dentist, several serious diseases (such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) can be detected. If you’re like many people, there’s a good chance you see your dental hygienist more frequently than you see your general practitioner.

So how great is it that dental hygienists are trained to screen their patients for signs and symptoms that may indicate problems in other parts of the body?

Pretty great.

In fact, during a dental health screening, a trained oral health practitioner can spot over 120 signs and symptoms of non-dental diseases.

…a trained oral health practitioner can spot over 120 signs and symptoms of non-dental diseases.

If that sounds like it would be time consuming, well, it is. Trying to fit an oral hygiene exam, scaling and polishing, and a doctor exam into a one hour appointment can be a major challenge.

Early detection and prompt referrals

The good news is: the more frequently you have your teeth professionally cleaned, the less time your hygienist will need to spend scaling and polishing your teeth, and the more time will be available for your oral care team to devote to overall health screening, early detection of any concerns, and prompt referral to a primary care provider.

If all you want is a brighter smile, then that may sound like it’s a waste of time.

But if you ask them, your dentist and oral hygienist will very likely tell you they have a bigger goal in mind for you: keeping you healthy all over, so you’ll have every reason to smile.

Learn more about your oral health.

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