Many Americans avoid routine dental care out of a fear of the dentist. You might be surprised that this avoidance of proper dental care can lead to a variety of other medical conditions. While your teeth can become weak and damaged, you might also notice the following medical problems.
Chronic facial pain
Chronic facial pain can be caused by a variety of things, including teeth problems. For example, if you are constantly teeth grinding, you are likely to have increased facial pain. Facial pain management can be difficult without a diagnosis. Medical providers may be at a loss of the cause of teeth grinding or chronic facial pain. It sometimes takes the specialized skillset of a dentist to identify that the teeth grinding is leading to the facial pain. With this knowledge, a dedicated chronic facial pain treatment can be created.
Sleep apnea can be caused by dental problems. The problem with sleep apnea is that people generally do not know they have it until they are faced with serious symptoms of it. Approximately 2 to 4% of all Americans have an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. This accounts for approximately 1 in 50 individuals being undiagnosed. Sleep apnea should be regularly monitored by both a physician and a dental provider. The symptoms of sleep apnea can be controlled with a CPAP machine.
There are many causes of insomnia. More than half of Americans lose sleep due to stress or anxiety. Additionally, insomnia can be caused by chronic facial pain, sleep apnea, or dental problems such as teeth grinding. Sleep insomnia is another condition that is difficult to treat, especially if you do not know the cause of it. Insomnia treatment usually requires an understanding of what is causing it. Regular visits to your dental provider can rule out dental problems as a cause. Treatment is important because routinely not getting enough sleep can lead to medical problems and even accidents. A National Sleep Foundation Poll shows that 60% of people have driven while feeling sleepy (and 37% admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel) in the past year.
Chronic migraine sufferers understand the significant effect it has on their life. Chronic migraines can make it difficult to work, be a part of a relationship, or even sleep at night. Chronic migraines are also very difficult to diagnose and treat. Many headaches and migraines are caused by dental problems. When the teeth are misaligned or the person is doing a lot of teeth grinding at night, headaches can occur. Chronic headache treatment can start in the dentist office with good dental care.
The commonality between medical problems
If you look at the symptoms and specific conditions of these problems, you will notice that they all are difficult to diagnose. Additionally, all of these medical problems can be caused by poor dental health. Although routine dental cleanings and checkups will not necessarily prevent or entirely treat these medical conditions, they are an important part of diagnosing and developing an all inclusive treatment plan.
The United States places significant importance on regular routine medical care. This is not, however, the case with dental care. This is troublesome as many medical conditions that are difficult to diagnose can be caused or made worse with dental problems. Teeth grinding, in particular, can exacerbate many of these problems. It is important to keep up with routine dental care, especially when any of these medical problems are known.