Why do people avoid going to the dentist? Is it fear? Is it the cost? In this episode, Dr. Chuck reveals the No. 1 reason why people don’t go to the dentist, and how that affects overall health.
Why don’t people see the dentist? That’s the topic of the show today on Your Filthy Mouth and you may be surprised by the No. 1 reason. As a Dentist, I was totally surprised.
I guess I’m going to just go with money as my answer to the number one reason people don’t go to a Dentist.
That’s actually the number three reason that people don’t go. And when I saw the number one reason, it was like, oh my gosh, that makes complete sense, but you never think about it.
Let’s start with the number three reason people don’t visit the dentist. The number three reason is money. They think a lot of the work may not be covered with the dental insurance they have. Andnumber two is fear. Fear of pain from past experiences maybe with wisdom teeth being pulled or having a root canal.
The number one reason why people do not see a dentist is. Lack of pain! Think about it, lack of pain. Nothing hurts. I don’t need a dentist. There’s no reason I should go there. Why do I need a dentist? There’s no pain, I’m fine.
And here’s the big problem with lack of pain. According to the Center for Disease Control, CDC, 70% of the population over the age of 65 has periodontal disease. That’s huge. That’s seven out of 10 people who have gum disease going on.
So you’ve got this gum disease going on. Again, 70%, seven out of 10 have this gum disease going on inside of them dumping the bacteria that causes cardiovascular disease, absolutely no pain. 50% of heart attacks, 40 to 50% come from oral infections.
Periodontal disease has bacteria that cause cardiovascular disease. 90% of oral infections have absolutely no pain.
People often think that if something serious is going on with your body, it’s going hurt somewhere, right. Well, High blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, cancer, there’s no pain!
So when you keep waiting for the pain, just ’cause it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Let’s connect the dots. Let’s see what’s happening here. So there’s no pain, there’s no motivation to go. But when you have a toothache, there’s nothing that can stop you from getting to a dentist as soon as possible, right?
So, what’s this mean?
The nontechnical way of saying it is that a good portion of heart attacks are possibly caused because of bacteria in the mouth. According to the researchers, 40 to 50% of heart attacks are caused. By oral infections; tooth infections, gum infections, oral infections. They’ve already proven that the bacteria in gum disease are causative for cardiovascular disease. That’s huge.
And the key is?
Get an exam, get an oral examination from a qualified dentist, from a good dentist because you’ve got to know what’s going on inside of your mouth. As of right now, this is 2019, generally speaking, physicians don’t ask for a report about the oral health of your mouth, okay. The physician has no idea what’s going on.
But everything you’re talking about is things that they would see; diabetes, glaucoma, heart attack, Alzheimer’s, but they’re not making the connection. A lot of times, we’re treating symptoms. What’s the source? Many times, the source is right under your nose, it’s your mouth!
A healthy mouth is attainable for everybody. You don’t need a Hollywood smile to have a healthy mouth. The first thing you can start with is what you do at home. Okay, that’s number one, so let’s not blame the dentist for your bad teeth. Let’s see what you can do at home between your diet, your home care. What kind of time are you spending on your own home?
It’s just got to be a priority, right?
People spend more time taking care of their vehicles. They make sure that the car is nice and shiny and looks great, okay, but their own mouth? Eh, you know. That’s kind of your grill, too. That’s part of your car. The vehicle we get around it doesn’t have four wheels. It has two legs. And this is why you have to take care of that vehicle.
Wow, that’s amazing and so very true!
When you think about it, we just need to help connect the dots between what’s happening in here and the rest of the mouth. We have to share this information and understand that just because it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t mean it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it’s okay.
So what should we do?
You’ve got to get an exam and get to a good, qualified dentist. We talked before about what a good, thorough exam actually consists of. And then, following through and doing what the expert, the dentist tells you to do.
Follow through with the treatment. If the physician tells you that you need to get your gum disease taken care of because that’s affecting your heart, okay, you probably are going to have a higher chance of actually doing that work.
When the dentist tells you that you need to take care of your gum disease, that’s not healthy, and they might not connect it to the heart or just some of these other issues, but they’re telling you it’s not healthy, so go ahead and get your periodontal disease taken care of, your gum disease is taken care of. Get your cavities taken care of. If you’ve got any dental infections, any abscesses, this is the front door to your whole body. So the whole idea is let’s clean this thing up.
Between your dentist and your physician, let’s get some communication. And you may have to ask your dentist, would you please send the results that you find in my mouth, would you please send that information to my physician? So that my physician can do a better job, has more information when they start making recommendations for my treatment.
Because it could get you off medications, right?
My goodness, yeah. Once you take care of oral infections, many of these other issues just tend to go away. So yeah, I don’t care where the infection is, your body. If it happens to be your mouth, take care of it. If it’s your hand, if it’s your foot, take care of it. It’s the same process, except for the mouth is a wet, warm, dirty place that bacteria go like crazy.
Why do we think about the mouth as being a different part of your body? I mean, if the doctor said, hey, you’ve got to take this medicine to take care of your heart that beats too fast or something, you would do that, but why doesn’t the doctor tell us you need to take care of your mouth because your heart is bad. I don’t understand.
At some point, the dentists, well, the dentists have their schools, the physicians have their schools and it seems like there’s just not the communication. And I’m hoping that it’s being taught more today that we need to work with each other ’cause we’re working on the same body.
And if there’s no pain, but it’s affecting the rest, by golly, this thing is important. So that’s the whole idea is we’re leaving it up to the patient, to the family. You find out how healthy your mouth is. Make sure there are no infections going on. So many infections, as we said, 90% have no pain. So get a good exam, find out what’s going on. If there’s nothing, wonderful. Let’s keep it that way. If there is something going on, get it taken care of ’cause the mouth has, you’ve got infections, you have an airway, which is you have to make sure you can breathe at night.
This makes a lot of sense Dr. Chuck!
Okay and think about this. And may also have your bite checked because when the bite is off, that can cause headaches, neck aches, a lot of other things. So it’s not just a pretty smile and chewing your food and that. There’s way more than that.
Question of the Week
Today’s question comes from Missy and she was saying that her husband chews tobacco and that she’s very worried about cancer. She’s a lot more worried about him getting cancer than he is. What should she be looking for in the way of signs of cancer?
Well, she maybe should be looking for a new husband. It’s nothing to play with, you know? People think that it’s no big deal, it’s just oral cancer. Yeah, oral cancer is horrible, it’s no fun. And you have to look at what are the factors that chewing tobacco, other tobacco, dipping. Many times I’ll look into where the, usually it’s guys who are doing it, occasionally there’s a grandmother or two.
Yeah, yeah. But you look inside there and you can see all these white wrinkles going in there. They call that a precancerous condition. It doesn’t mean it is cancer, but that tissue has a much higher susceptibility of becoming cancerous. Whenever you have oral cancer, the surgery is usually very disfiguring. You lose part of a tongue, half a jaw. And what I tell, in fact, what I was telling this one young guy that he had it all in there, I said, you got a couple of kids, don’t you? He said, yeah, boys. He started telling me about the boys and I said, you know, your boys need a dad. They really do.
He’s got to be thinking about things like that and quit right away.
That’s quite a heavy price to pay and if you’ve ever seen someone after this surgery, I mean, you can’t unring a bell. The whole idea is to take it seriously. It’s no fun. Okay, some people have to give up cigarettes, whatever the heck it is, it’s not fun. I’m not saying it’s easy. But not giving it up has consequences. That’s even more not fun.
So you were saying white wrinkles.
Yeah, a lot of people even know it’s there. They said, yeah, I got this back in there. It’s been in there for a while. Okay, how long do you wanna play with the devil, you know?
Sure, sure. Good point, alright. Alright, well let’s go ahead and wrap up the three takeaways for this episode, which we’re talking about the number one reason people don’t visit the dentist. And the number one takeaway is.
Well, people don’t see a dentist because of the lack of pain. So, let’s not let the pain be your motivator. Why don’t you use the calendar instead? Let’s look at the calendar. You’re making sure you’re getting an oral exam once or twice a year. Make sure that everything in your mouth is good and healthy. So again, don’t wait for the pain, look at the calendar. And make sure you’re getting regular oral check-ups. I tell people I’d much rather change my oil than replacing my engine.
Ooh, yeah. Okay? It makes more sense.
The number two takeaway was seeing a good dentist.
Yeah, not all dentists are alike. Not all physicians, not all auto mechanics, not all electricians. I mean, it’s just reality, okay. So make sure you find a good dentist. We’ve got an episode on how you can find a good dentist or steps you can take in finding a good dentist. Because there are good dentists everywhere, okay. There are also other than good dentists in many places, so you’ve got to be careful that you’re talking with a good dentist. So yeah, be timely, get a good examination.
And then, the last one was to follow through with what the dentist tells you to do. I mean this is about so much more than having beautiful white teeth and perfect veneers.
Yeah, when the dentist tells you-you’ve got these issues going on, take care of them, especially if there’s any infection issues, any airway issues, any bite issues. Those are things that are affecting way more than your smile and chewing and talking. It’s affecting your whole body, so you gotta treat it. Knowledge is not power. Just ’cause you know about it doesn’t mean it’s taken care of. Now you have to actually do something about it and get it taken care of.
You’re smart, I like that.
That’s the school of hard knocks, you know?
The information that Dr. Chuck is sharing is so valuable. He’s not selling anything. He really just wants to get the word out about how what happens in your mouth is affecting the rest of your body, so please share it with your network and your social media. Tell people at work and home about how important it is to have good, regular check-ups and let them know what you learned today about how no pain is the number one reason people don’t visit a dentist and remind them that many illnesses don’t have pain but are very serious!