You probably don’t need to be told to see your dentist twice a year; after all, you’ve been hearing since grade school how important it is to protect your teeth from cavities! But did you know that those biannual examinations can find more than just tooth decay and gum disease? Here’s how your mouth is linked to your overall health – and how your dentist in Tracy has been looking out for the rest of your body.
What Does My Mouth Have to Do With My Overall Health?
Systemic diseases, such as diabetes or HIV, affect the whole body; the majority of them have oral symptoms.
Here are some common examples of diseases with oral manifestations:
- Diabetes may cause bad breath and bleeding gums.
- Oral cancer, the sixth most common type of cancer, may appear as a white or red patch on the gums.
- HIV and AIDS can cause painful lesions in your mouth; in addition, they can disrupt your immune response, which can make infections from gum disease even worse.
- Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to declining oral health over time.
- Bone loss can cause teeth to become loose and the jawbone to become weak.
Can My Mouth Cause Problems for the Rest of My Body?
If there’s an infection in your mouth that goes unchecked, it could potentially cause problems elsewhere in your body. During gum disease, the bacteria from the infection may enter your bloodstream. This might contribute to endocarditis, a condition where the inner lining of the heart has become infected. Similarly, some research suggests that the inflammation caused by oral bacteria might play a role in heart diseases, clogged arteries, and strokes. There have also been studies exploring a possible connection between gum disease and premature labor in pregnant women.
How Does My Dentist Help Protect My Overall Health?
Many health problems can be checked for during routine dental work; for example, a regular examination often includes an oral cancer screening, and X-rays can show signs of bone loss. Your dentist usually sees you more often than your regular doctor; because of this, they can often be the first to find evidence of systemic diseases in your mouth. That way, they can point you in the direction of additional tests and treatments that can provide a better prognosis early on.
Of course, your dentist’s first job is to clean plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums, which in the long run can prevent infections that can spread. In this way, by , your dentist can help look after the rest of your body. This is why it’s vital to keep your dental appointments; you’re protecting more than just your smile.
About the Author
Dr. Tejdeep (“TJ”) Rattan has been in the dental field for nearly a decade and makes a point of keeping up with the latest technologies and treatments that can better his patients’ lives. He has received over 500 hours of dental training from all around the world. To make an appointment for a preventive checkup and examination at his practice, Innovo Dental and Implant Studio, visit his website or call 209-207-9076.