What Your Dental Health Could Be Saying About Your Medical Health
I just learned that my dental health can provide insight into my overall health, so I have just one question… why do my wellness team members work in silos? I have a medical doctor, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor and naturopath – all who rely on me to deliver pertinent information between them. I am not qualified to know who needs to know what and when, so I rely on my healthcare professionals to guide me.
There are so many medical factors that influence our dental health, and vice-versa, that it is a daunting task to understand what is important, and what isn’t. What I do appreciate is that Dr. Jamshid Nematollahi, at Downtown Whitby Dentistry in Whitby, takes the time at each appointment to ask me leading questions that help me share pertinent health information that might impact my dental health.
“It really makes a lot of sense,” says Dr. Nematollahi. “Oral infections and dental decay are a result of bacteria in the mouth causing damage to the tooth’s enamel and structure. These same bacteria can easily enter the blood stream or airways and travel to other parts of the body, causing problems for those who are at risk for, or battling, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disorders and more.”
Most Common Health Connections
Let’s look at some of the most common connections between our dental and medical health.
- Cardiovascular Health: Researchers have found is that the same bacteria responsible for dental disease could contribute to blockages around the heart. These bacteria trigger an inflammatory response in the body and causes reduced blood flow due to swelling, which leads to the risks of clots putting you at risk for heart disease & stroke.
- Diabetes: Certain diseases, such as diabetes, lower a body’s resistance to infection, making those living with the disease more prone to oral health problems and often the dental issues more severe.
- Respiratory Disorders: Some respiratory infections occur when the micro-organisms from the mouth and throat travel into the lungs. When these micro-organisms reach the lower respiratory tract, they may cause an infection or worsen an existing lung infection.
- Osteoporosis: Those with osteoporosis often report bone loss in the mouth, leading to loose and lost teeth. Certain medications used to treat osteoporosis might carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
- Medications: Some medications cause “dry mouth,” significantly limiting the body’s ability to create saliva, which is an important element in reducing bacteria in the mouth. Without this key step, these micro-organisms are free to run amok in the mouth and travel throughout the body.
So, now that you know the connections are real, take time to share your medical history with your dentist and any key dental changes with your medical doctor. Your body is one whole being and should be addressed as such.
If you want a team that cares about your dental health as much as you do, and utilizes the most up-to-date technology to make your experience a positive one, give Downtown Whitby Dentistry a call at 905-430-7045. We are a family dental practice in Whitby that welcomes and treats people of all ages.