Experts: Total-body health starts in your mouth
WALTHAM – When we talk about health it is common to think about balanced diet and regular exercising. However, specialists affirm that going to the dentist is an essential ingredient to have a healthy life.
It happens because many illnesses start in our mouth. In 2005, for example, a research conducted by the United States and Canada showed that infections in the mouth are directly related to the increase of incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke.
“Gum inflammation produces proteins that activate tissue destruction and stimulate the formation of fatty plaques in the coronary artery. Furthermore, inflammation decreases the size of the vessels and reduces blood flow. All these factors can cause coronary heart disease and lead to a heart attack,” cardiologist Roberto Kalil explains.
It is the reason heart specialists recommend their patient to go to the dentist more frequently to exclude inflammatory and infectious outbreaks.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, a reconstruction dentist in Waltham, medicine, and preventive dentistry are interconnected. "When you maintain good oral health, the risk of developing diseases is lower," he says, explaining that during the annual visit the patient undergoes a thorough examination of the entire mouth, including teeth and gums.
With more than 30 years of dental practice, Dr. Cummings adverts that patients must pay attention when they notice bad breath, swelling and face joint pain. "Teeth problems may also have other symptoms such as a headache and when these problems are not treated bigger problems can result.”
The specialist also points that a toothache is a signal that the problem may be in an advanced stage. "When a person feels a toothache is because a cavity turned into an infection," he clarifies. Moreover, bleeding gums is another important indication. "That's always a sign that something is wrong. Normal gums never bleed."
On the other hand, Dr. Cummings points the difference between cavities and sensitive teeth.
“When your tooth hurts after drinking or eating something cold, we can say your tooth is sensitive. When your pain comes after you drink or eat something hot, it may be an infection.” However, the expert elucidates that it is always important to look for a professional help in any circumstances.
Going to your dentist can also help prevent and guarantee an early diagnostic of mouth cancer which has 80% chance of cure when the sickness, more common among smoking and drinking adults, is detected in its beginning.
The mouth cancer symptoms – burning, numbness and oral discomfort - may appear late, growing the need to see a dentist more often. The professional can identify the illness by white and red patches, lumps or bumps around the mouth that do not show improvement after 15 days.
“Because of that, it is very important to examine yourself and visit your dentist regularly. It may take some time for patients to notice something is wrong, making early detection a problem if they do not go to the dentist,” observes Dr. Cummings.