The Mouth is the Source to Your Body

By : Sue Ellen Umali-Lee

You get to your dental appointment a few minutes early and just when you’re about to sit down, you’re asked by your friendly dental patient coordinator to fill out what looks like a 10 page booklet of questions about your previous dental history and medical history. As you flip through the pages, you wonder to yourself-wow, why is your dental professional asking so many questions?

After a few minutes or so upon completing your so called medical/dental history booklet, you’re then brought into the room. Yes, the room where your comprehensive oral examination will take place. As you sit patiently looking up at the television screen, the dentist comes in to greet you and explains what will happen within the next hour of your examination and what we hope to achieve as we gather all of this information about you.

“So let’s start by taking your blood pressure,” he begins. At this moment, like most, you start to question why, as your blood pressure is suddenly recorded a little higher than what’s considered normal. Your arm’s quite a distance from your teeth. What does this have to do with my mouth? The flood gate of questions begins.

Your dental professional then asks you, “Do you know what your blood pressure normally is?” “When was the last time you had a physical?” or “Any family history of heart disease?” You start getting a little concerned and answer as best you can. So yes, why do we take blood pressure, need your medical history and ask the questions that we do? Knowing information such as this is important in understanding how your body will react to treatments that may be done. It helps your dental professional to understand if there are any underlying conditions that may also affect the outcome of treatment and also if there is a potential for any condition or medication to contra-indicate it.

Have you ever heard the term “Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure?” We take this very seriously in our practice. This is often where dentistry and medicine are different.

After we collect the necessary baseline information, your dentist will then design a customized treatment plan for you. This will entail the frequency of hygiene appointments which is based on your periodontal evaluation and current medical condition, restore any decayed teeth and discuss preventative measures to be taken for this, and also an evaluation of any potential risks for conditions such as sleep apnea, teeth grinding (bruxism), oral cancer, etc.

Dentistry is very focused on prevention. How many times does your medical doctor ask you when you last visited your dentist? Or better yet, how often do you visit your dental professional? Does the head, neck and mouth magically not connect to the rest of the body? Or are they just not informed about the importance of Oral Health to the overall health of the body?

Lately, more attention has been paid to the Oral-Systemic Link.

When inflammation exists in the mouth, experts have equated this to having a wound the size of your hand.

If you had a wound the size of your hand, would you not have it treated or be just a tad bit concerned? Inflammation is inflammation regardless of where it is in our bodies and it is important that both medical and dental professionals recognize this. What’s unfortunate about periodontal disease is that damage can progress without any pain and oftentimes when discomfort occurs, it is beyond repair.

Dentistry has changed over the years. Prevention is key in maintaining balance not only in our bodies but in our mouths as well. You could very well take care of your body; feed it healthy food, exercise, take supplements, and more but if your oral care is not up to par and there is a presence of even the slightest bleeding upon flossing or brushing, this is a clean indication that inflammation may be present. A cleaning isn’t just a cleaning when you see your dental hygienist regularly. It entails so much more but the most important part of your hygiene appointment is reducing the amount of bacterial contamination in the mouth which will reduce the inflammation.

To learn more speak to your dental team at Credit River Dental Centre or book your appointment today at (905) 278-4297 and take control of your oral health!