When it comes to your dentist, you may want not only someone who can provide basic exams and cleanings but necessary specialty services, as well. In the field of dentistry, there is a full range of care designed to address your needs comprehensively, sometimes extending beyond your oral health. Besides being your partner in maintaining or restoring your smile, a dentist committed to overall wellness can help diagnose medical issues that often present themselves in the dental chair.
Sleep Apnea and Your Oral Health
Sleep apnea is a disorder that disrupts your breathing while sleeping and is associated with serious cardiovascular conditions. It is caused by an obstruction that arises from enlarged soft tissues in the mouth. Your dentist can offer therapy with specially designed oral appliances as an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines in the treatment of moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Detecting Diabetes at the Dental Office
Diabetes can damage the immune system, making it harder to fight bacterial and fungal infections. Thrush is a fungal infection that appears in the mouth and for those with undiagnosed diabetes, it can be a warning sign. Saliva production is decreased in diabetics as well, so special attention is required to manage oral health concerns such as cavity and periodontal disease development.
Heart and Gum Disease
Studies conducted by periodontists and cardiologists indicate gum disease as a risk factor for coronary artery disease and other issues related to blood vessels and arteries. These findings show that people with gum disease are at an increased chances for strokes and atherosclerosis.
Dental Complications of Immune Disorders
Autoimmune disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and inflammatory bowel disease share the common complications of a sore tongue, gum overgrowth, and dry mouth, predisposing patients to developing cavities and periodontal disease.
Oral Health and Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can affect oral health in the following ways:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of jaw bone density
- Difficulty chewing
- Increased plaque production
- Gum disease
- Inflammation of the mouth and salivary glands
If you have been recently diagnosed or have a history of kidney disease, consulting with your dentist may uncover early signs of these related concerns. Prompt detection and treatment can go a long way in preserving your dental wellness.
Oral cancer is often first detected by an examining dentist. If you experience prolonged, unexplained soreness or notice discolored patches anywhere from the throat to your lips, see your dentist immediately.
Medications can also Contribute to Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Anti-inflammatory medications used to treat respiratory conditions can cause or contribute to dry mouth, increased plaque, gingivitis, and fungal infections.
A family or general dentist should always keep your overall health in mind and be partners in managing your total well-being. Other things to consider when choosing a dentist is their availability in case of a dental emergency and if they can accommodate your schedule.
If you are in the Cerritos area and need a family dentist – call Dr. Philip Kress, a dentist who is committed to helping his patients achieve a beautiful smile, the confidence that comes with it, and the highest level of overall health and wellness possible throughout your lifetime.