The latest advances in modern dentistry can go a long way toward perfecting a crooked smile, but teeth issues are still making self-conscious people hide their pearly whites behind a tight-lipped grin. Where the cost of dental work may be part of the problem, anxiety is another big issue. Dental phobia, or fear of the dentist, could be keeping more than 15 percent of Americans from visiting the dentist for regular checkups [source: Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center].
Poor dental habits can lead to tooth discoloration, periodontitis, tooth decay and even tooth loss. That's not all. The implications of poor dental care may be far reaching. A number of serious medical conditions like heart disease, stroke and even some forms of cancer have been linked to mouth bacteria and infections [source: American Academy of Periodontology]. If this is the case with your teeth and gums, you need to put your fear aside and head to the dentist, instead of pretending it isn't happening.