While it’s true that taking care of your teeth and gums is the best way to keep your smile healthy and beautiful, there are additional benefits to maintaining ideal dental health.
When you see your dentist regularly, they can detect certain signs that signal any underlying issues. Also, when you care for your teeth and gums, you are ridding your mouth of bacteria that can travel to other areas of your body and cause systemic disease.
Your Dental Care as a Health Screening
When performing an oral exam, dentists also take note of any possible signs of systemic disease that can appear in the mouth. Your dentist will discuss any findings, such as suspicious sores, spots in soft tissue, and discoloration of the tongue that may need attention and make a recommendation for you to see your primary care physician or a specialist.
Some conditions that your dentist may recognize include:
Stress – Worn teeth are a telltale sign of teeth grinding, which is often linked to stress.
Diabetes – Gum disease that is resistant to treatment or progresses rapidly can be indicative of diabetes. Similarly, diabetics are also prone to developing gum disease.
Skin Disease – Many conditions that have an effect on your skin may also present themselves in the soft tissues of the mouth. These include autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis.
Gastrointestinal Disease – Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease may appear in the mouth as sores or ulcers.
Oral Cancer – Dentists are trained to spot suspicious lesions that may be the first sign of oral cancer.
Heart and Lung Disease – In the case of severe gum disease, your heart and lungs should be examined as there is a correlation between the bacteria that cause decay and gum disease and the risk of cardiac and respiratory infection.
A Look at Decay and the Bacteria that Cause it
Dental conditions can also directly affect other parts of the body. Bacteria originating in the oral cavity can be especially potent and feed off carbohydrates and sugars that are left behind after eating and drinking.
When these bacteria are allowed to grow unchecked, they can be inhaled, or absorbed into the body through small breaks in your gums or other soft tissue. These are generally a direct result of inadequate brushing and flossing and can be exacerbated by systemic illness.
Your Smile is More Important than Ever
Understanding the relationship between oral and overall health makes going to the dentist all the more important. Proper dental care should be regarded as one of the steps you take to ensure your total well-being.
If you are in need of a high-quality, comprehensive dentist near Wake Forest, give Dr. Craig A. Winkelmann at Wake Forest Dental Arts a call today.