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A Healthy Mouth is Key to Overall Health

Oral health refers to the health of the teeth, gums, and the entire oral-facial system that allows us to smile, speak and chew. For thousands of years, there has been the saying that health enters the mouth; therefore, if you have healthy teeth and gums, you are assumed to eat healthy food, which keeps you fit and alive.

Good oral health is evident when a person has:

  • Healthy pink gums

  • No bleeding when flossing or brushing

  • Healthy teeth

  • Low bacteria count in the mouth

  • Pleasant breath

  • Non-sensitive teeth

Chronic periodontal disease is one of the major oral diseases that can be detrimental to your overall health. Bacteria from your mouth gets into your blood system and travels to your heart, which attaches itself to damaged tissue and causes inflammation.

Some heart conditions that can occur from this bacterium are endocarditis, clogged arteries, heart attack, and stroke. In addition, oral bacteria can cause other bodily complications, such as respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Other oral complications, such as an abscessed tooth, can cause infection to spread to your jaw and other areas of your head and neck. If located near the sinus, it can cause a sinus infection, and you can develop sepsis, a life-threatening condition that spreads throughout your body.

You have learned about a few oral diseases and complications that can affect the health of your body. Now let’s discuss medical conditions that can harm your oral health.

Autoimmune diseases can affect your entire body, including your mouth. An autoimmune disease is when your body’s immune system begins to attack other parts of your body, affecting its ability to fight infections and other diseases.

One of the most common autoimmune diseases that impact dental health is Burning Mouth Syndrome. This disease is painful, often causing a scalding sensation on the tongue, lips, palate, and throughout the mouth. In addition, eating certain foods is difficult due to the autoimmune process your gums are undergoing, and without proper nutrition, your health will diminish.

Significant illnesses that impact oral health:

  • Oral cancer

  • Sleep apnea

  • HPV

  • Cancer

  • High blood pressure

  • Diabetes

Now that you understand WHY your dentist needs to know your medical history let’s discuss WHAT your dentist needs to know to keep you healthy.

  • Current medications

  • Allergies

  • Herbal supplements

  • Illnesses

  • Surgeries

  • Recreational drug use

  • Dental history

  • Past adverse health issues

One of the vital pieces of information your dentist needs to know to take care of your oral health is the type of medications you are taking, including vitamins, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs. Each of these can considerably impact how your dentist treats you.

Here are a few examples of medications that can have negative consequences if your dentist is unaware you are taking them.

  • Antidepressants or antipsychotics can cause significant health issues when mixed with nitrous gas

  • Recreational drugs can affect the ability of your dentist to properly numb your mouth for dental procedures

  • Oral contraceptives can become void when taking certain antibiotics prescribed during dental procedures

  • Nitrous gas can interact with pain relievers, sleeping meds, or alcohol

Now you know WHY and WHAT, but you must know HOW to protect your oral and overall health.

  • Floss daily

  • Brush your teeth for two plus minutes twice a day

  • Eat a healthy diet with limited sugar

  • Replace your toothbrush every three-four months

  • See your dentist at least two times a year for cleanings

  • Avoid tobacco use

  • Address any oral health issues that occur

When you become a patient at Family Dentistry of Lakewood, you complete medical forms providing us with necessary information. Please make sure you take the time to answer all the questions in completion so we can effectively treat you.

Take the first step and contact Family Dentistry of Lakewood at 253.584-3121 to schedule a visit. We are ready to help you with all your oral health needs. Also, check back next month as we continue discussing the connection between oral and overall health.


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