Could Your Dentist Save Your Life?
It may be hard to believe, but as recently as fifty years ago, little was known about the connections between diet, exercise and cardiac health. Terms like “cholesterol” and “aerobic exercise” were not in the common vocabulary. No one worried about trans fats. Fried chicken and butter were not causes for concern. Even the link between smoking and heart disease was not fully understood.
Enter modern medical research. Now the relationship between a healthy diet, proper exercise and heart health seems obvious. Many mature Americans know all their cholesterol levels, what they mean and how to lower them. We stress out in the grocery store, debating our healthy choices. We carefully monitor our heart rates while exercising, aiming for those twenty minutes of aerobic activity.
It’s a little foreign to most people to associate dental health with heart health, yet that’s just what the latest research is pointing to. And not just heart health, but stroke, diabetes and some cancers. Researchers have spotted associations between the bacteria that cause gum infections and atherosclerosis, or arterial disease. Much remains to be learned, but what’s increasingly clear is that oral health and overall health are inseparable.
Neglecting your dental health could leave you somewhat like the proverbial ostrich with his head in the sand. He thinks he is safe and invisible, yet the truth is quite the opposite. Since people who take good care of their teeth see their dentist more than once a year, these could be the visits that spot the early warning signs of a serious condition.
In 2005, The Journal of the American Dental Association reported the results of a study entitled “The Potential Role of Dentists in Identifying Patients’ Risk of Experiencing Coronary Heart Disease Events.” The report recommended an expanded role for dental care professionals in screening for various serious diseases.
“This could place dentists in the front lines for identifying patients at risk of coronary heart disease,” said Michael Glick, D.M.D professor and associate dean of research, Department of Diagnostic Sciences, University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey, School of Dentistry.
The study recommends that dentists routinely conduct medical histories and measure patients’ blood pressure. Such procedures, along with simple chair side screenings, can point to “underlying medical conditions” and risk factors that could contribute to heart disease or other serious conditions.
Don’t be surprised at your next visit if your dentist is equipped with a stethoscope along with his dentists’ tools, or if your hygienist monitors your blood pressure. If they do, you can be assured that they are fully updated on the latest research, and are caring for your overall health.
When your dentist or dental hygienist examines your teeth, gums and other oral tissues, what he/she sees mirrors the condition of your whole body. More than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have manifestations in the mouth and so your dentist could save your life! For more information how your dentist could save your life please read my eBook.