We all know that brushing and flossing properly, along with routine visits to the dentist, are the best ways to keep your smile looking and feeling its best. What many don’t know, is that there are additional positive side effects to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Health Screenings at the Dental Office
When performing a thorough oral exam, your dentist will look for possible signs of illness, any suspicious sores, spots, or discolorations that may need attention and recommend that you see your primary care physician or a specialist.
Some conditions that may be discovered first by a dentist include:
- TMJ – The wearing down of teeth and symptoms of TMJ are signs of teeth grinding, which is often triggered by stress.
- Diabetes – Gum disease that resists treatment or progresses quickly may indicate diabetes. People with diabetes are also predisposed to developing gum disease.
- Skin Issues – Some skin conditions can also appear in the soft tissues of the mouth. These include some autoimmune disorders like psoriasis.
- Gastrointestinal Disease – Chronic ulcers in the mouth along with abdominal pain can be indicative of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease.
- Oral Cancer – Dentists are trained to spot suspicious lesions that warrant further investigation.
Not only can your dentist alert you to possible underlying health concerns through the examination, but also, the treatment intervention they provide can actually lower your risk of developing more serious health conditions.
Your Mouth as a Gateway to Overall Health
Dental Services that prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease reduce the number of bacteria living in your mouth. While a certain amount of oral bacteria is always present, in the presence of poor oral hygiene or gum disease, the bacteria accumulate rapidly and become difficult to manage.
When potent oral bacteria is allowed to access the bloodstream through small cracks in diseased gums or be inhaled into the airway, they can travel to the lungs, heart, and other parts of the body. Several university studies have linked oral bacteria to the following health conditions:
- Heart Disease
- Respiratory Illnesses
- Premature Birth
- Early Onset Dementia
The effect of oral bacteria on the heart and lungs correlates with an infectious process or a buildup of plaque observed in the arteries. This plaque may also play a role in the high link between gum disease and dementia. However, the forgetfulness that accompanies dementia plays a large role in these patients losing the ability to care for their teeth properly.
The unstable nature of blood sugar in people with diabetes cause a vicious cycle of their diabetes worsening their gum health and their gum health worsening their diabetes. A vigilant oral hygiene routine and many visits to the dentist are needed to help prevent gum disease from escalating the symptoms of diabetes.
Gum disease produces enzymes that are similar to those created at the end of a pregnancy. These “counterfeit” enzymes can sometimes instigate pre-term labor. Oral hygiene and an extra visit to your dentist is highly recommended during pregnancy.
To Learn More, Call Valley Brook Dental in McMurray, PA Today
If you are experiencing any dental issues, take a proactive step toward increasing your overall well-being and give our office a call today to make an appointment. Dr. Joseph Gurecka provides gentle, compassionate dental care for McMurray, Upper St. Clair, Canonsburg, South Fayette, McDonald, and Washington