No longer is a trip to the dentist simply about filling a cavity; it’s now well known that your dentist can play an integral role in keeping your entire body healthy. In fact, a study undertaken by the Academy of General Dentistry found that about 90% of systematic diseases will produce symptoms and signs in your mouth.
Oral links to heart disease
Just a few years ago, your doctor probably would not have considered your teeth if you presented with a cardiovascular disease, but recent research has found heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to the inflammation and infections oral bacteria can cause.
Studies have found people who suffer from moderate or advanced gum (periodontal) disease are more likely to develop heart disease than those who have healthy gums. The inflammation which occurs in the gums of those suffering from periodontal disease can enter their bloodstream and cause plaque to develop on the inner walls of the arteries, increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack. Further to this, it can also cause inflammation and infection or the inner lining of the heart, leading to a condition known as endocarditis.
The importance of your saliva
Have you ever wondered at the role saliva plays in your body? It’s not just there to stop your mouth feeling dry. As it’s full of antibodies and enzymes, saliva is actually one of your body’s main lines of defense against viruses and bad bacteria; including the bacteria which causes periodontal disease. As such, by keeping your mouth and your saliva healthy, you can help your body fight disease, including heart disease. The best way to do this is to ensure you are keeping up your at-home oral health routine, as well as attending your check-ups every six months so your dentist can identify any emerging issues before they become a problem.
Tell your dentist if you are using prescription or non-prescription drugs
Certain drugs such as painkillers, diuretics and antibiotics can affect your body’s saliva production, which can then of course have a flow-on effect on both your oral and overall health. As such, it’s really important that you alert your dentist to any drugs you might be taking, be they prescription or non-prescription. This information will help your dentist to decide on the best treatment course for you, including the appropriate medications to use for your dental procedure.
It’s also a great idea to give your dentist the name and phone number of your doctor or doctors in case your dentist might need to speak to them about your care. This allows them to ensure that they are working together for the greater good of your overall health.
If you are nervous about undergoing a dental procedure because you have a heart condition, we recommend talking with both your dentist and your heart doctor. They will be able to provide you with information for your unique circumstances, and work with you on strategies for easing your fears, and controlling your dental pain and symptoms.
Dr. Steven Acker and Elite Dental of Staten Island
After years spent as a dentist in hospital settings, Dr. Steven Acker began to think there had to be a better way to fully and holistically treat patients. That’s why Dr. Acker and the whole team at Elite Dental of Staten Island strive to provide all patients with far more than just oral care.
If you would like to find out how our holistic and proactive approach to oral care can help to address your overall wellbeing, please contact our friendly team today.