Perhaps you’ve heard before that the oral cavity is a gateway to the rest of our body. You probably haven’t heard that poor oral health is indicative of and can lead to heart disease, respiratory disease, pneumonia, clogged arteries, endocarditis, and sepsis just to name a few. “Good dental health isn’t just about having beautiful teeth, it also reflects on our overall health”, stated one local dentist.
When you visit the dentist, the examination consists of much more than the teeth. Your dentist does a thorough check of your oral cavity, looking for signs of the above mentioned diseases as well as cancer and others. When they find a problem, they can then refer you to your primary care provider or specialist as the case may dictate.
Many of these diseases, such as Pemphigus Vulgaris, show their first symptoms in the oral cavity, thus allowing your dentist to catch them in their earlier stages, making treatment much easier and more effective.
For cancer detection, dentists utilize fluorescent blue light devices to detect otherwise invisible symptoms. These devices have stopped cancer in its tracks countless times, all because the patient was visiting the dentist regularly.
Dentists do more simple things, too, to make sure their patient’s overall health is in good standing. Your dentist may check your blood pressure and refer you to your primary care provider if necessary.
One dentist recalled a patient earlier on in his career, high blood pressure, diabetes, and periodontal disease. The dentist treated her periodontal (gum) disease, and the blood pressure and sugar levels stabilized. After learning of this link, her physician began referring patients with similar symptoms to their dentists for gum disease treatment.
It wasn’t until more recently that clearer evidence has been provided showing the association between gum disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The problem that oral health faces is that the majority of the population only pays close attention to their oral health when they are experiencing pain or discomfort. Once the pain goes away, so does the patient’s preoccupation with their oral health.
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and keeping your oral cavity clean is conducive to a healthy lifestyle. “Keeping your mouth clean is easy and doesn’t take much time” stated one local hygienist. She continued, “The three keys to oral health are brushing (preferably with an electric toothbrush), flossing, and using a mouthwash to kill the remaining bacteria in your mouth.
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