Any dentist will tell you that dental care is important, but what we might not explain is exactly WHY dental care is important. Though you see a different doctor for your physical health than you do for your oral health, much of what your dentist does is connected to your overall health.
The most common reason for visiting the dentist is to get a teeth cleaning. And while professional dental cleanings are a great way to keep your smile bright, they are also vitally important to your health. Cleanings are the dentist’s opportunity to assess your dental health & detect problems that may also affect your general health.
A dentist can tell a lot about you & your health by looking at your mouth. Things like bad breath & the color of your tongue can be indications of health issues that may be affecting your entire body. The level of build up on your teeth (plaque, tartar, etc.) can be an indication of how healthy & balanced your diet is.
Here are a few more examples of how your dental health & your overall health are connected:
- Studies have shown a link between gum disease & heart disease. Seeing your dentist regularly to treat &/or prevent gum disease may help prevent cardiovascular problems in the future.
- Because of certain hormonal changes during pregnancy, a dentist or dental hygienist may know a woman is pregnant even before she tells them, just by looking at her gums. Pregnant woman are also at higher risk for periodontal disease, which has been linked to low birth weight & premature birth.
- Dentists can perform tests to detect oral cancer. Early detection of oral cancer can have a large impact on outcomes.
- Gum disease affects the ability of patients with diabetes to control blood sugar. Also, the high blood sugar associated with diabetes can put patients at higher risk for infection, including gum disease.
With all of this knowledge of how your dental health & your overall health are connected, be sure to keep your cleaning appointment with your dentist & bring up any concerns or questions you may have.