DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - During tough economic times, many people feel they must choose between basic needs like groceries or dental care.
Delaying dental work can be more costly to your pocketbook and your health.
Debbie Roche is a two year dental patient of Dr. Randy Sandlin. She knows the importance of regular dental care and checkups.
"It's so important not only for your dental care, but also your medical care. It can create so many other health problems," said Roche.
Some patients skip these visits because of low income, lack of dental insurance, or other reasons.
Postponing treatment for a $150 dollar cavity now could lead to larger health problems costing thousands later.
Dentists will tell you skipping these visits can hurt more than your gums, and ignoring dental concerns can actually lead to overall health problems.
"They can accumulate the bacterial plaque, the hard calcious tartar that accumulates on the teeth, which harbors bacterial and creates inflammation and infection within the gums. That inflammation, that infection can find its way into the blood vessels," said Dr. Sandlin.
He said that can lead to major health problems.
"The lining of the blood vessels becomes inflamed and becomes an easy target for arterial plaque to form, which can lead to blockages, strokes, and heart attacks," he said.
Even the smallest infection can grow and run deep.
"What we tell patients is this bacterium that lives under the gum line their favorite food is jawbones. And they'll accumulate and grow and cause loss of attachment of the gum tissue to the tooth," said Dr. Sandlin.
Dentists recommend yearly checkups, flossing and brushing every day, not smoking, and eating nutritious foods.
This is good advice for your health.