Dentists and doctors have more in common than supplemental schooling and white coats. Between oral and overall health, your body works as a system. Oftentimes 1 health issue can cross over to these 2 professions. Though dentists are trained in teeth, oral health issues can signal serious systemic illnesses. How dentists can help doctors detect a diagnosis:
Diabetes and Gum Disease
14% of New Mexico’s population has diabetes. Those with the disease are at high risk for developing gum disease. And it’s a 2-way street. Gum disease makes it hard to control blood sugar levels, which can compromise overall health. And because symptoms are sometimes subtle, diabetes can go unnoticed for years. The mouth offers clear-cut signals of the disease, and your dentist is trained to spot these warning signs.
If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, take control of your oral health. Diabetics with gum disease who receive appropriate dental care are healthier and often experience a reduction in blood glucose levels.
HPV and Oral Cancer
Genital HPV, human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S. and world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s estimated that 90% of adults have been exposed to some form of the disease. Every sexually active person is at risk for contracting HPV. And HPV can cause oral cancer.
Your dentist is often your first line of defense when it comes to spotting oral cancer. He or she will check for signs during a routine exam. In addition to practicing safe sex, it’s important to stay on top of your preventive care visits with your doctor AND dentist.
Heart Disease and Gum Disease
In fact, researchers recently discovered a link between oral bacteria and heart disease. Rather than judging gum disease severity through inflammation and bleeding, dentists can now identify specific types of bacteria present in the mouth. This gives them the ability to detect a patient’s probability for heart complications.
Reduce your risk for heart disease! Keep your teeth healthy, exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet.
Dentists and doctors may be different, but they can both make a positive impact on your overall health.