When you go to the dentist, he or she will ask questions not only about your teeth and gums but also about your overall health. Why does your dentist need to know about your other health problems? Although you may think that your health history is only of relevance to your primary care doctor, your dentist is a key player in your overall health team. Here are some of the conditions that your dentist can play a role in diagnosing and managing.
Good heart health starts in your mouth. The plaque and bacteria that build up your teeth and gums cause decay and inflammation not only in your mouth but also throughout your body. This inflammation can affect your heart, as can the bacteria that is associated with poor oral health. If you have heart disease, you may need more frequent dental cleanings, and your dentist will want to monitor your periodontal health closely. He or she may also talk to you about your home hygiene regime so you can keep plaque under control between visits.
Sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and even car accidents. Many people think of CPAP therapy when they think of treating sleep apnea, but your dentist can offer an alternative solution that works even better for some patients: oral appliance therapy. With a custom-made oral appliance that you wear when you sleep, your chin can be pushed slightly forward to keep your airway open, so you breathe easier and get the rest you need.
Diabetes and gum disease are closely related. Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, and gum disease increases the risk of poor blood glucose control—and in some cases, gum disease can be a symptom of diabetes in people who have not yet been diagnosed. Your dentist needs to know if you have diabetes so he or she can develop the appropriate care plan for reducing your risk of gum disease.
Don’t let your oral health compromise your wellbeing. Make an appointment with John Carson, DDS today! You can reach our dental office in Tucson at (520) 514-7203.