Regular visits to the dentist aren’t just good for your teeth — they may help detect bigger health issues before they get worse. If you’re noticing symptoms such as bad breath or inflamed and bleeding gums, your oral health may be trying to tell you something about your overall health.
Research shows that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. Some of these diseases include:
Seniors are especially vulnerable to developing diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease, the risks of which increase with age. Researchers believe that symptoms of these conditions can manifest in the mouth, making dentists key in diagnosing the diseases. For example:
In many cases, a dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem in its early stages since many people have regular oral examinations and see their dentist more often than their physician.
Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in top shape and allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, improper jaw alignment and signs of developing oral and overall health problems.
When you visit your dentist, be sure to provide a complete medical history and inform him or her of any recent health developments, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health. In addition, you can play a major role in improving your oral and overall health by following these practices:
Last updated February 10, 2022
The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.