Your dentist is more than just an oral health advocate; he is a qualified medical professional. Dentists are trained not only to evaluate oral health, but to assess medical issues that are developing as a result of oral health issues.
The link between oral health and overall health
Your mouth is a window to the rest of your body; as such, it can reveal things about your health that may make early detection and treatment possible. Systemic conditions like diabetes and AIDS can first manifest as lesions or sores in the mouth, while bleeding gums may be an indicator that cancer is present somewhere in the body. Taking care of your oral health will help to safeguard against the development of systemic diseases and give you advantages toward experiencing vibrant overall health.
What a look into your mouth reveals about your health
Regular visits to your dentist can reveal certain things about your overall health. Your dentist is interested in whole-body health; in discovering conditions that may be linked to disease elsewhere in the body, he is able to work closely with your primary care provider to diagnose and treat issues.
Some common issues that your dentist can help to diagnose and provide treatment for include:
Diabetes--both type 1 and type 2 diabetics have an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. People with diabetes have suppressed immune systems, which means they are less likely to fight off harmful bacteria that can contribute to the development of gum disease. Inflammation in the mouth becomes a vicious cycle, as it can contribute to blood sugar volatility. If your dentist notices abscesses, swelling, or loss of bone in the mouth that is stubbornly resistant to treatment, he will likely refer you to an endocrinologist for further evaluation. If it is determined that you have diabetes, you may have to visit your dentist more frequently to keep gums and teeth healthy.
Oral cancer--The first sign of oral cancer is the presence of red or white sores in the mouth. They may appear on your lips, tongue, gums, inside your cheeks, or in other parts of the mouth. These spots can go undetected for years, as they do not cause pain in the initial stages of development. By the time pain is present, it is often in later stages of deterioration, and you will need medical intervention to avoid further complications. Most dentists are trained to regularly inspect and screen patients for signs of oral cancer, and they can refer you to an oncologist or medical doctor as soon as they notice issues.
Excessive stress--Believe it or not, your dentist needs only to look at the condition of your teeth to tell if you are experiencing excessive stress. Many people develop a condition called bruxism, or tooth grinding, which is usually done when sleeping. If your enamel is worn down, or if teeth are chipped or cracked, you likely have been engaging in some tooth grinding. A dentist will be able to fit you with a mouth guard to keep your jaws apart while sleeping; this protective cover will protect your teeth against excessive grinding and allow you to alleviate musculoskeletal stress on bones, muscles, and teeth.
Prematurity and low birth weight--When gum disease is present in the mouth of an expectant mother, it triggers the chemical release of a compound called prostaglandin. This chemical compound triggers reactions in the body that cause pre-term labor and low birth weights in children. Studies show that children who are born prematurely, or those with low birth weight, can develop significant health issues later in life. If you are expecting, it is vital that you take care of your health and, in turn, take care of the health of your unborn child.
Heart disease--Researchers are now finding clear links between gum disease and the development of heart disease. One theory is that inflammation in the mouth can contribute to inflammation in both arteries and in the lining of the heart, causing it to lose efficiency in pumping blood throughout the body. By treating inflammation in the mouth, you may be able to reduce the incidence of heart attack and stroke, even if you are predisposed to these conditions.
Dr. Krueger: Your Partner In Total Health And Wellness
Dr. Gordon E. Krueger DDS, MS, PA and his talented team of professionals know just how important it is to care for your mouth. He is passionately committed to caring for every patient, helping to restore both oral and overall health. If you want vibrant health, it’s time to start caring for those teeth! Contact us to set up an appointment today; visit https://www.gordonekruegerdds.com/ for more information. A beautiful smile and better health are in your future!