Have you ever heard the phrase “the eyes are the window to the soul”?
Well then the mouth is the window to the body’s health!
What your dental provider sees in your mouth may reveal the first signs of systemic disease. The diseases and conditions that have been shown to have links to oral health include: Cardiovascular disease, Pregnancy and birth, Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Osteoporosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, certain cancers, eating disorders, syphilis, gonorrhea and substance abuse.
To detect gum disease and other oral health problems, schedule regular dental cleanings and exams — generally twice a year. In the meantime, contact your dentist if you notice any signs or symptoms that may suggest oral health problems, such as red, tender or swollen gums; gums that bleed when you brush or floss; gums that begin pulling away from your teeth; Loose teeth; Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth align with each other or unusual sensitivity to hot and cold. Early detection and treatment can ensure a lifetime of good oral and overall health.
Want to see how well you’re taking care of yourself? The Mayo Clinic has developed a Personal Health Scorecard which rates your health and outlines action steps you can take to maintain or improve your well-being.
Karlene Ketola is the Executive Director of the Michigan Oral Health Coalition, her blog on oral health and all of the topics surrounding it can be found online at www.mohc.wordpress.com, you can also subscribe to her posts through RSS here.