Although we mostly focus on orthodontic treatment on this blog, we thought we'd take some time to discuss the importance of visiting a general dentist. Maintaining oral health involves not only keeping your teeth aligned, but also making sure that your teeth and gums are clean and healthy. General dentists provide a valuable service in performing that job, which is why we were troubled when we heard the results of a new survey. According to a recent Gallup poll, one-third of adults in the United States have not visited a dentist in the past year. 

The rates at which adults visited the dentists varied by age, as those between the ages of 18 and 29 were less likely to visit the dentist than older Americans. Not making regular visits to the dentist could result in dire consequences. 

"Recent medical research has indicated that when combined with other risk factors, poor oral health may be linked to both heart disease and stroke, possibly due to dislodged oral bacteria entering into the bloodstream," the Gallup report states. "Maternal periodontal disease, too, has been linked to preterm births, and may increase risks for other diseases such as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, among others."

General dentists play an important role in orthodontic care because they are often the first people to identify a misalignment. They will then refer a patient to an orthodontist for further evaluation. When teeth can't be properly cleaned, plaque and bacteria can build up in the mouth, resulting in infection. 

Even after orthodontic appliances are placed on the teeth, patients will still need to visit a general dentist for regular cleanings. 

If your general dentist thinks  you may need orthodontic braces, contact the friendly staff at Upper Eastside Orthodontists to schedule a consultation. 

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