by Laura Wellener, DDS


shutterstock_120091642Gift giving often tops the list of tasks at the holidays. Rather than sweaters or gadgets, let’s talk about a different type of gift. And it’s for yourself. It is the gift of good oral health.

Good oral health is important for so many reasons. A healthy mouth means teeth and gums that are free of disease and pain as well as healthy jaw bones and soft tissues. However, the mouth is also the gateway to the rest of the body. The mouth often offers clues to our overall state.

It is well documented that gum disease is linked to cardiovascular disease. Gum disease (or periodontal disease) has also been linked to stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, certain cancers and the list goes on. The exact relationships aren’t entirely understood at this time, but obviously periodontal disease is bad for a multitude of reasons.

Giving yourself good oral health could be one the best gifts you’ve ever received. Achieving, or maintaining, good oral health means different things to different people.

Perhaps there is some dental treatment you need that you have been putting off. Consider completing the treatment before it gets worse. For example, once a tooth gets a cavity, it never goes away on its own but it can certainly get bigger. Think of it as an investment in your health.

There are some of us that have not been able to keep up with oral health. This could be due to health or financial reasons, fear, or just life being hectic. Now is a great time to get yourself back on track. It will be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dental team will check you for cavities, gum disease, oral cancer and other abnormalities. You and your dentist can discuss options to address any needs, and your dental team will help you develop a plan for staying healthy, including which dental products are right for you and the proper way to use them.

If you’ve been keeping up with your dental health pretty well, you’ve already given yourself a great gift. Make the promise to yourself to keep it up.

Most all of us could benefit from spending a little more time every day caring for our mouths. Brushing, flossing, using any recommended rinses, properly cleaning removable appliances or dentures, etc., for just a few minutes a day can lead to drastic improvements in the health of your mouth. Carving out this time is a gift to yourself. Preventing dental problems is much easier and less expensive than fixing them once they’ve occurred.

Wherever you are on the oral health spectrum, getting or staying healthy will be a great benefit to you. It is a gift to yourself that you will literally use every day.


Dr. Wellener, owner of Wellener Dental in Pinehurst, can be reached at 910-295-1010 or