Have you ever wondered why your dentist or dental hygienist ask questions about your overall health? Patrick, Miree and Magadalena are keen to update your medical story and learn if you have diabetes, heart disease or other health concerns so we can better manage the impact on your overall dental health.
But it’s very common to have our patients ask, What on earth does my health have to do with my teeth?
Teeth for some people are like cars, lawn mowers, or air-conditioners – we take them for granted and only realise how important they are when something goes wrong.
In recent years, studies have shown that poor oral health can put your overall health at risk. Your mouth, like many other parts of the body, is home to many bacteria.
This build-up of bacteria has been shown to influence your overall ability to fight infection and interfere with your immune system. But, with daily brushing and flossing these bacteria can be kept under control. Without proper oral care, bacteria builds up and reacts with sugar and starch in the diet to form acids and toxins that decay teeth and the bacteria infect your gums. Over time, severe gum disease may develop, resulting in inflammation that eats away the bone of your jaws, that holds your teeth in place. This is known as periodontitis. In fact, gum disease is the most common chronic inflammatory condition in the world.
Gum disease is characterised by red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss, bad breath, loose or drifting teeth, and it’s usually completely painless.
Ongoing inflammation in your mouth can also allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. This may lead to severe infections in other parts of your body, such as your heart and kidneys. Poor oral care makes it harder to control blood sugars in diabetic patients and can actually predispose you to having diabetes. If your blood sugars are not controlled your gum disease is harder to manage and you get caught in a vicious cycle.
Gum disease in the elderly has been linked to pneumonia and complications if you ever end up in hospital for other serious illness. People with diabetes, heart disease or a family history of these conditions often find regular visits with their dentist or hygienist every 3 to 6 months will greatly assist keeping their gum disease under control , and helps reduce inflammation.
The key to a healthy mouth and thus healthy body, is to understand that there is a link between what is happening in your mouth and the rest of your body. That’s just one of the reasons, as your experienced Moss Vale Dental team, we ask you about your general health.
(There’s actually a whole lot of other reasons we like to keep in touch with your whole health outlook, but that’s for another blog!)
If it has been 6 months or more since your last dental clean or you are concerned about your dental health or experiencing bleeding gums please call Shelley on reception to arrange a professional oral health check and clean – 02 4869 3111