Why are Dentists So Important?

            March 6th is National Dentist’s Day. What better day to stop and say thank you to the people who help us have beautiful smiles all year long? Dentists do crucial work. Today, we want to dive into exactly what that work is and why we should be so grateful for them. We’ll look at what dentists do, why that job is vital, and how you as their patient can let them know you appreciate it.

What do dentists do?

            First things first: what does a dentist do? Is their job more than just swooping in, making some notes in illegible handwriting, and rushing off to the next patient?

            The short answer: yes. The job of a dentist is to promote and preserve the oral health of their patients and reduce any potential threats to it.

            In daily practice, this may take many forms. Your dentist is not the one who does your cleaning in most cases; that’s your dental hygienist. But your dentist does perform a vast array of other services for you. These fall into three broad categories: preventative, restorative, and emergency work. As the Cleveland Clinic explains, restorative work includes things like fillings, crowns, and dental implants. Preventative treatment includes things like sealants, fluoride treatments, dental x-rays, and exams. Emergency work means things like root canals and taking care of knocked-out teeth. It’s also your dentist who diagnoses problems as they come up.

Why is protecting your oral health important?

            Okay—we understand that the job of a dentist is to protect our oral health. But why is that so important? Why go through the hassle and pay the expense of seeing a professional? Is it really that important?

            Dental health and heart health

            Neglected oral health has been shown over and over to have a strong correlation with heart complications—some, even fatal. Endocarditis, for example, as Total Care Dental explains, can happen when “bacteria gain entry from the mouth into the bloodstream and attach themselves to areas of the heart. This bacteria infects the inner lining of the heart, its chambers and valves. The infection can become fatal if not treated immediately.” One important reason to care for your teeth is to stop that harmful bacteria from getting anywhere near your heart.

            Dental health and pregnancy

            Pregnancy brings a host of hormonal changes to a woman’s body. Failing to protect oral health during this turbulent time can be especially dangerous. VeryWellHealth explains that, “Problems in the mouth have been linked to a range of such issues, including:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Preeclampsia
  • Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (also known as trench mouth)
  • Tumors on the gum tissue of the mother (epulis gravidarum)”

            Dental health and Alzheimer’s

            It may sound far-fetched, but new research has shown that “the loss of teeth and gum disease may be associated with a reduction in brain volume that reflects the atrophy of brain tissue.” In other words, there is a connection between fewer teeth and lesser brain volume. Which one causes which is not exactly definite yet. However, “according to the study, a missing tooth was the equivalent of brain shrinkage of nearly an additional year of brain aging, and severe gum disease was equal to 1.3 years of brain aging.”

While the theory is still a work in progress, it has been suggested that gum disease causes systemic inflammation in the body, which then causes damage throughout the body, including to brain cells. This could be the source of the damage that leads to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Though the theory is not concrete, it’s not worth neglecting your dental health to test it, either.

That was only a few examples of problems that might be caused or exacerbated by neglecting oral health. And even if we put aside the consequences that oral health has to systematic health, poor oral health is a hindrance to quality of life in and of itself! The only conclusion we can draw is that protecting your oral health is vital to a good quality of life. This means that we owe dentists a big thank-you for the work they do. Without them, our oral health and overall health would suffer.

How can you say thank you?

            So, the big question this leads to is how we can show our appreciation. You can show you’re grateful in big or small ways. This year, consider:

Writing your dentist a thank-you note.

Handwritten notes are wonderful ways to show that you care. If you’re struggling to think of what to say, the Internet is full of dentist thank-you notes templates and prompts to help you get started. A card is a very personal, sweet way to let them know that the work they do is seen and valued. Consider adding a bouquet of flowers or a gift card with it to make it that much sweeter.

Giving them a social media shout-out.

If you appreciate your dentist, give them a shout-out! This increases their publicity, as well as letting them know you’re thankful for them. You can use the hashtag #NationalDentistsDay to reach more people.

Referring friends and family.

Perhaps the best gift you could give your dentist for National Dentist’s Day is to tell your friends and family how great they are. A loyal client base is one of the best tools a dentistry has for expansion. Try and think of at least three friends who might benefit from the warm, welcoming environment you’ve experienced at your dentist’s, and then let them know!

Dentists aren’t just harried, overworked professionals who scribble things on notepads in handwriting no one can read. They work hard day in and day out to preserve the health and longevity of the smiles of their patients. For that, we ought to say thank you. This March 6th, consider letting your dentist know that you’re grateful for them by writing them a card, giving them a shout-out on social media, or telling your friends and family. If you need to schedule your next appointment with us, please contact our office today. 

About Our Team

Our team of dental experts has well over 30 years of combined experience in the field of dentistry. To learn more about them, please visit our team page or stop by the clinic and say hello!