That Dental Appointment Could Save Your Life
Seeing your dentist regularly is a very good idea because our oral health reflects our overall health and I really believe that for me my regular dental check ups are as important as my annual physical.
In a recent conversation with my dentist regarding the need for an infected tooth to be removed ~ something I have been putting off ~ he reminded me that the infection in my tooth is literally inches from my brain, and not that far from my heart. That really got me thinking about just how important regular dental check ups are and very much for me all about preventative care, as this is not something my physician would have picked up.
Understand, a general physician oversees the health of the whole body and if there is an issue with a certain part of the body that needs some ‘expertise’ the doctor will refer their patient to a specialist. Therefore, a symptom in one area of the body might link to an issue in another part of the body. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t enough time for one person to learn about all the intricacies of the human body. They’d be in college their entire life. As it is, those in dentistry and medicine already spend years in college training for their healthcare field. There also isn’t enough time in the day for a general physician to take care of all of their patients’ needs, including oral health and that’s why that dental appointment could save your life. So, think of your dentist as a specialist because that is who they are, only difference there is not a 6 months wait to get an appointment.
When the Hygienist or Dentist ask at the beginning of your appointment if there have been any noticeable changes in your health consider that a medical/dental health question not just a pleasantry to pass the time of day.
Research shows that more than 90% of all systemic disease have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. Some of these diseases include:
- Oral cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) are especially vulnerable to developing diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease, the risks of which increase with age. Researchers believe that symptoms of these conditions can manifest in the mouth, making dentists key in diagnosing the diseases. For example:
- Bad breath and bleeding gums could be indicators of diabetes.
- Dental x-rays can show the first stages of bone loss.
- A sore and painful jaw could foreshadow an oncoming heart attack.
Seeing the dentist regularly is a wise and healthly decision. In many cases, a dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem in its early stages since many people have regular oral examinations and see their dentist more often than their physician.
Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in top shape and allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, improper jaw alignment and signs of developing oral and overall health problems.
When you visit your dentist, be sure to provide a complete medical history and inform them of any recent health developments, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health. You can play a major role in improving your oral and overall physical health by following these practices:
- Brushing your teeth for two to three minutes, twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste. Be sure to brush along the gumline.
- Flossing daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach, although my dentist says that I only have to brush the teeth I want to keep.
- Eating a healthy diet to provide essential nutrients (vitamins A and C, in particular).
- Avoiding cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
- Limiting your alcohol intake.
- Carefully following your physician’s and dentist’s instructions about health care, including using prescription medications, such as antibiotics, as directed.
- Seeing your dentist immediately when you have any unusual oral symptoms like bad breath, mouth sores, red or swollen gums or sore jaws.
So whatever you do, don’t cancel that appointment with your dentist on the basis of its just a cleaning, because they plan to save your life. Or if its been awhile, call today!
Contact us and let us help you achieve your smile goals today.
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Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
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