Most of us see the dentist more often than we see a doctor. So today’s dentists are encouraged to screen patients for other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. In fact, the conditions within your mouth may indicate more serious systemic diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer. Because many medical conditions are related to oral heath this is the natural progression in modern dentistry. Many studies show there are associations between gum disease and the risk of diabetes, preterm birth, and heart disease. The term that detail the link between oral health and other diseases are called “oral-systemic health.”
Prevention is always better than a cure. To prevent the onset of diseases and to promote the discovery of existing medical conditions, many people are surprised to hear that general dentistry can help improve one’s overall health. Today’s healthcare methods are always evolving and have become more and more holistic. Yes, dentists can be your best and first line of defense towards preventing diseases and for a healthier you.
Why General Dentistry?
Among medical practitioners, dentists are the most frequently visited among healthy individuals. Specifically, dental visits average every six to nine months. Depending on the severity of the dental issue, some patients are even required to visit their dentist on a monthly basis.
Many medical conditions include oral symptoms. Sleep apnea, for example, involves restricted airflow into the system, causing heavy snoring and shortness of breath during deep sleep. Dentists commonly detect sleep apnea in patients through candid conversations, examinations, and observation. Sleep apnea patients may complain to their dentists the lethargy they feel in the morning, and dry mouths they experience resulting from prolong opening of the mouth during sleep (a mechanism patients adapt to manage airflow).
Commonly Diagnosed By Dentists
Other diseases that can be diagnosed by skilled dentists include mouth sores, which may be signs of herpes simplex virus infection or of syphilis. Worse, what a patient may feel to be just common mouth sores may just be the initial phase of oral cancer. Who else could better observe that than your reliable dentist?
Dentists, as well, can diagnose diabetes. As blood sugar level increases, your overall health will be affected, including your oral health. You will be more prone to dry mouth which when left unattended can lead to ulcers, infections, inflammation of gums, and tooth decay. Thrush is also common for diabetic patients, since the fungi causing the medical condition thrives on high sugar content and can lead to missing teeth.
To illustrate further, gum disease is also found to have correlation with the occurrence of heart attacks, pregnancy complications (premature babies), and kidney diseases. With frequent dental visits, these and many other signs and symptoms can easily be monitored.
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