The Dentist and Whole Body Health
Going to the dentist is a smart and healthy choice for much more than just a person’s teeth. Yes, each tooth is important, but dental work affects so much more of the whole body than many patients realize. Think oral health care is an unnecessary luxury? Think again. An individual’s teeth, gums and mouth are intricately connected to many regions of the human anatomy. Here are some examples:
STDs can be deadly. Did you know that sexually transmitted diseases may first be detected inside the mouth even before a person may suspect he or she has contracted anything? Syphilis and gonorrhea are two STDs that show signs in this region. Untreated sexually transmitted diseases can cause sterility, blindness and death.
Alcohol or drug abuse:
Signs that a patient’s health is being affected by excessive alcohol or drug use can show up in a patient’s oral region including lips, excessive corrosion of tooth enamel and sores in mouth. The dental professionals who discover this may be able to alert the patient to trouble brewing and a need for substance abuse treatment.
AIDS and HIV:
These deadly diseases may show up as sores in a person’s mouth and on the tongue. Early detection and treatment can minimize the consequences.
Cancer of the cheeks, tongue and lips may be first seen by the dental practitioner or hygienists. Oral cancer has a better prognosis if caught early so these health care workers are on the look out during routine check ups.
Complications of diabetes:
While tooth decay doesn’t cause diabetes, it can certainly contribute to complications. Sufferers of this malady are at an increased risk for gum disease, cavities and losing a tooth. Extra care must be performed in order to keep diabetic smiles in tip-top shape.
Osteoporosis is a condition which can strike at any age but is most common in middle-aged or elderly women. This is especially true of thin, small boned, fair-skinned females. Weight bearing exercises and additional calcium in the diet may help to add bone density. This condition may first show up in teeth and jawbones. Weakened bones in all regions of the body can lead to breakage, cavities and more.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Periodontal illnesses and gingivitis are linked to an increased susceptibility to heart trouble.
Arteries that are clogged present an invitation to a debilitating stroke. Dental decay and gum disease are associated with this condition
Babies born too early:
An infant that is born too prematurely may be saddled for life with developmental delays, learning disability and birth defects. Extreme prematurity can even lead to death. Untreated dental problems are linked to premature birth.
It’s important for patients to see their dentist once or twice a year for preventative maintenance such as cleaning, x-rays and a thorough examination. Not only will they avoid dental problems, their whole body will remain healthier.