Everyday, the medical and dental communities are taking steps to address one of the biggest misconceptions about oral health. This is the idea that oral health is entirely separate from systemic health and that disease that occurs in the mouth remains exclusive to the mouth. This could not be farther from the truth.
The key to having an overall healthy body and mind is by addressing all facets of the human body, including the mouth. Failing to make this connection could lead to severe if not lethal consequences, so keep reading to learn how you can stay one step ahead of disease and maintain a healthy body.
According to Athanasios I. Zavras, an assistant professor of Health Policy and Epidemiology for Harvard Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, “Vascular disease and cancer have both been linked to oral health.” He goes on to say that preventing oral disease can prevent disease in other organs in the body. To him, the oral cavity is a mirror to the body, as many diseases appear first in the mouth, giving dentists an advantage in early detection for disease.
For example, patients who are at risk of heart disease may have poor oral health caused by chronic dental infections. If these are present, dentists may perform other tests such on blood pressure and total cholesterol/blood sugar levels. Even if they have no other symptoms, a dentist can determine their risk and send them to a doctor as needed for additional treatment.
Dentists can also help catch early signs of cancer during routine dental exams. In 2007, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health published results of a study showing strong evidence linking an increased risk of pancreatic cancer and periodontal disease. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., so if dentists can provide insight that helps patients and their health practitioners, it would be a huge step in the right direction.
Thanks to new diagnostic tools, dentists can more accurately measure patients’ risk to certain diseases than general doctors can. Currently, some dental practices offer a CRP test, which stands for C-Reactive Proteins that come from the liver. If these proteins are higher than normal, it means chronic inflammation is occurring in the patient. According to the New England Journal Medicine, the CRP test is a more accurate indicator of heart attack and stroke than high cholesterol, something every general practitioner uses to determine risk.
However, dentists can’t perform these tests unless you schedule routine dental exams with your Venice dentist. A huge part of preventive care is having these routine dental exams where oral cancer screenings are now quite common. As they say, the best offense is a good defense, and defending yourself from potentially lethal disease is no exception.
To make sure your overall health is in check, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Venice today so they can give you peace of mind. Their number one priority is always your overall health, regardless of the field they chose to specialize in.
Dr. Shanaka Weerasooriya received his Doctor of Medical Dentistry from the University of Florida in 2000. He believes the health of the oral system plays an essential part of the overall systemic health of his patients. That’s why he thoroughly enjoys partnering with patients who are motivated to improve their oral health system. To learn more about his practice, contact him through his website today!