The body is a single unit composed of multiple systems, each one having a specific function. When something goes wrong in one system, it is inevitable for other systems to be affected. This is especially true for oral health. If you have an existing medical condition, you must be aware of its effects on your teeth and the risks associated with the illness.

Is Dental Health Affected by Overall Health?

Short answer: yes. And the reverse is true as well. Most chronic diseases that require different treatment approaches take their toll on the teeth, gums, tongue and throat. However, the risks vary for every type of illness. This is why regular dental care is vital for one’s overall health and well-being. If you have been going to the dentist regularly before you were diagnosed of your disease, it will be much easier for both your dentist and general practitioner to optimize your dental and overall health. Pre-treatment dental examination is a good way to prevent any oral complications of medical procedures. By keeping your dentist informed about your current health, you can receive the safest and best dental treatments even if you’re suffering from a medical malady.

Common Diseases that Affect Dental Health

Diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and cancer are the most common diseases all over the world. It’s not surprising that they also have the most prominent effects on dental health. But in general, any disease can deteriorate dental health because they compromise the immune system. Your body cannot fight infections as effectively as it could when it was perfectly healthy. Because of this, the teeth and gums have a higher risk of oral diseases and infections.

Consequences of Medical Maladies to Oral Health

If you have a medical condition, you may suffer from any one of these oral health consequences:
1. Dry mouth. Several medications can cause dry mouth (xerostomia) such as antihistamines, antidepressants, painkillers, anti-hypertensive drugs and diuretics. This can make eating and swallowing difficult because of the low saliva production. Saliva is also vital in maintaining dental health because it serves as a natural disinfectant in the mouth. Lack of saliva increases the risk of infections, tooth decay and gum disease.

2. Oral thrush. Candida is a fungal microorganism present in most mucus membranes in the body. It normally promotes balance in the human ecosystem. Low saliva, antibiotics and a weak immune system can contribute to the overgrowth of the Candida fungus. resulting in yeast infection in the mouth, also known as oral thrush.

3. Bleeding. Diabetes slows down the healing process of the body while hypertension causes increased blood flow throughout the veins and arteries. If you have periodontal disease, you may experience excessive bleeding even if you only flossed. This can be dangerous if you’re undergoing dental treatments, such as tooth extraction and gum surgery.

4. Faster spread of infection. The immune system weakens and is unable to stop the spread of infection caused by plaque and tartar.

5. Inflamed gums. Infected gums swell and become tender. In patients who have medical problems, even a mild case of periodontal disease can cause inflammation.

6. Gum overgrowth. Also known as gingival hyperplasia, which is caused by medicines that block calcium channels. It can make eating and talking difficult and may even require surgical correction.

7. Unpleasant taste in the mouth. Also called dysgeusia, this condition makes you taste foods differently and prevents you from enjoying your favorite foods. Hypertensive and diabetic drugs can cause this as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

How to Prevent Dental Problems When You Have Medical Issues

To prevent complications in dental health, you need to visit your dentist regularly and keep your dental record updated. Here are a few more steps to ensure that your teeth remain healthy while you’re dealing with medical problems.

1. Talk to your general practitioner before undergoing any major dental treatment. Your doctor will know if the dental treatment is safe for you or not.

2. Ask your doctor to provide solutions for your dry mouth like changing your prescriptions, giving you lozenges or prescribing artificial saliva.

3. Take anti-anxiety medications before going to the dentist with your doctor’s approval.

4. Discuss your medical issues with your dentist, especially if you feel dizzy when sitting on the dental chair. Dentists are very aware of the complications of treating patients with medical history and specifically train to provide treatment appropriate for these conditions.

5. Coordinate with both health professionals so that your dentist and doctor correspond regarding your health concerns.

6. Give a list of all your current medications to your dentist so that if you undergo any dental treatment requiring medicine or sedatives, your dentist will know the contraindications and give you the right drugs.

Seeking Dental Care for the First Time

If you haven’t been to a dentist before you discovered your medical issue, now is the best time to find one. Your dental health is as important as any of your other body systems, and dental problems can also contribute to complications in your overall health. Visit a dentist in Adelaide area to get proper care and assistance. You already have a medical issue. It won’t help if you also suffer from oral health problems.

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