Recent research confirms that oral health is important to the body’s overall health. If the “eyes are a window to the soul”, the mouth can provide clues about the health and well being of the body. Regular dental exams have become about more than teeth. These days, it’s likely your dentist and dental hygienist will also examine your tongue, gums, throat and mouth for signs of disease that can provide clues to overall health – and help keep you healthy overall.
Importance of Regular Dental Exams
Routine dental examinations can provide evidence that something is wrong. Sometimes people think that if there is no pain then there is nothing wrong, but they may be doing an injustice to their health. Being proactive can help to ensure there is no ongoing or future possibilities of disease.
Diseases in the body can show up as signals in the mouth. For instance, leukemia may show signs of gingival bleeding, enlargement and ulceration. Measles may result in Koplick spots- small white lesions on the inside of the cheeks. These signs show up in the mouth even before the patient knows they have a disease.
Impact of Smoking – Signs in the Mouth
Do you smoke? Nicotine can cause blood vessels to constrict, which can interfere with the body’s ability to fight infection. People who smoke and have diabetes have a 20-fold increased chance of losing their teeth. Nicotine complications show up in routine dental clinical exams as white milky tissue with black spots scattered within. This may not be a healthy finding and the patient may be referred for biopsy of the tissue.
Periodontal Disease Impact on Lung Disease and Pneumonia
Diseases in the mouth can lead to disease in the body, a fact that is well-documented. Regular dental examinations can recognize periodontal disease, which may be treated easily in its early stages. If untreated, can make chronic obstructive lung disease and pneumonia worse.
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
There is a direct physiological connection between diabetes and periodontal disease. Inflammation in the mouth impairs the body’s ability to utilize insulin. High blood sugar provides the environment for infections to flourish. Management of both the periodontal and diabetic issues can be a win-win for the person.
Periodontal Disease and Heart Attacks
Periodontal disease has been linked to heart attacks.
Periodontal Disease in Pregnancy – Effect on Baby
Periodontal disease in pregnant women can have an effect of underweight and preterm birth.
Serious About Your Health? Visit Your Dentist!
It is the dentist’s responsibility to examine and review the current health condition of the patient at regular dental exams. An understanding and commitment to good oral hygiene and acceptance of healthy habits can lead to a harmonious thriving body. Be proactive – visit your dentist!
Call Steven A Goodman Dentistry at 718-448-3366 for a checkup now – make dental health an important part of your overall healthy body plan!