We rely on our teeth much more than we sometimes realize. Our teeth help us enjoy meals, flash a bright smile, and even speak clearly. Understanding the role that your teeth play in your everyday life and caring for them properly are crucial to maintaining good oral health. Just as it is important that you understand the function of your teeth, there is also a great deal of importance in knowing what your teeth say about your overall health.
How Oral Health and Overall Health Affect Each Other
As experts in oral care, dentists are responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various oral conditions. In addition to identifying dental problems during an oral exam, in some cases, your dentist can also detect physical health problems as well. This is thanks in part to the manner in which your oral health and overall health affect one another, also known as the mouth-body connection.
Some of the health problems that may be detectable during an oral exam are:
- Diabetes – When diabetes goes untreated, it can result in conditions such as dry mouth, gingivitis, and oral infections.
- Chronic Stress – Signs of chronic stress can include oral problems such as gum disease and cold sores.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) – Dental erosion often occurs because of exposure to gastric acid caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Crohn’s Disease – A common oral symptom of Crohn’s disease is ulcers. These painful sores typically appear during an episode of inflammation in the digestive tract.
Although these symptoms may serve as possible indicators of serious health issues, conditions such as dry mouth could actually occur as a side effect of certain medications as well. For this reason, it is important that you make your dentist aware of any changes you may experience in your oral health as soon as possible.
Your Role in Maintaining Good Oral and Overall Health
Improved self-esteem, reduced risk of infection, and a lower risk of heart disease are just some of the positive effects of knowing what your teeth say about your overall health. Because your physical and mental well-being are both impacted by the mouth-body connection, it is important to take proper care of yourself by maintaining a healthy oral care routine, visiting your dentist regularly, and receiving regular check-ups from your physician.
If your dentist identifies signs of serious physical problems during an exam, you should take any necessary actions that your dentist advises, and make an appointment to see your doctor.
If you have any oral health concerns, set up an appointment with one of the experienced dentists at Acworth Center for Family Dentistry. Schedule an appointment online or call today to speak with a member of our staff at (770) 203-1711.