What You Didn’t Know Your Dentist Knows

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I bet you didn’t know…

You probably didn’t know that poor oral health and bad home brushing habits can lead to full body disease and illness.  Dentist know more about your overall health than you might guess. When your dentist sits down and individually checks each of your teeth for cavities, simultaneously double checking the depth of tissue pockets at the gum line they are actually finding much more than you might suspect.

What you expect

These are some of the evidentiary findings that patients expect their dentist to check for and treat.

  • Gum disease
  • Periodontal disease
  • Cavities
  • Tooth cracks or fractures
  • Potential bone loss
  • Oral cancer

Did you know?

On average dentist attend 8 years of college. After graduating they continue to attend hours and hours of, annually required, Continuing Education throughout their careers. A well trained dentist, with a keen eye, can protect you from more than cavities and gum disease. While with most unexpected medical conditions a qualified dentist can work with you to resolve the problem, there are a few conditions that may also require attention from your regular physician.

What you don’t expect

After a thorough history and a complete examination of a patient’s mouth here are a few of the conditions or diseases that a dentist can diagnose or indicate as a potential threat.

  • Heart Disease
    • Gum disease, red inflamed gums, dry mouth and other physical health conditions may indicate to your dentist that you are at risk of heart disease.
  • Bruxism
    • While looking at those pearly whites a dentist has a view like you will never have. Excess wear, grinding, tiny fractures and cracks caused from misaligned teeth and or resulting from clenching the jaw, even while sleeping are all signs that you may need treatment for bruxism.
  • Diabetes
    • Chronic, unresolved periodontal disease in conjunction with a drastic weight loss or weight gain, excess thirst are a few of the symptoms that can uncover diabetes.
  • Sleep Apnea
    • Excessively tired patients, those who feel exhausted even after a full night’s rest are symptoms that millions of people suffer from when they have a condition that stops regular breathing while they are asleep.
    • Dentist who have special equipment can treat this condition, sometimes with lasers or other tools to help improve patients health and reduce risk of sleep apnea getting worse and related problems, including death.
  • Speech Problems
    • When teeth are misaligned they can potentially distort the way some sounds and words are pronounced.  Dentist can offer a variety of ways to straighten teeth, helping them to stay cleaner and healthier but also helping patients develop better speech patterns.
  • Dry Mouth
    • While not having enough slippery saliva can spell disaster for teeth and gums, it’s also a potential indicator of high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, or other medical conditions, making teeth and gums more susceptible to decay and infection.

Other medical conditions that have been linked to poor oral health

  • Low birth weight babies in mothers with poor periodontal health.
  • Dementia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

While doctors and scientist have not conclusively demonstrated the direct connection between gum disease and general health, there is definitive evidence that the millions of bacteria that colonize even tiny pieces of tartar and plaque are able to enter the bloodstream through the gum tissues. Once in the blood stream those bacteria can do significant damage to anything in the body they encounter. Making conditions that affect the heart and lungs exponentially compounded.

Autoimmune diseases, diabetes and other diseases that negatively impact oral health generally attack the entire body and sensitive tissues comprising not just the oral cavity but the delicate organs inside the body as well.

Developing a strong relationship with a dependable, knowledgeable dentist can help improve and protect your whole body health and keep a bright smile strong and beautiful too.

 

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