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Did you know your oral health is directly connected to your overall health? It may be obvious to some, but a lot of people don’t know that by neglecting your teeth you can make yourself more susceptible to other health problems. It can go the other way as well, some medications and medical conditions can affect the health of your teeth and gums. With that being said, for us as dental providers, it is important that you keep us up to date with all your medical records so we can do the best we can to help you keep your teeth and gums in tip top shape.
Often times, a dental office will have you fill out a health history. Providing us with your health history can give us a better map of medical conditions or medications that can be causing problems that may be landing you in our chair. There are a variety of medical conditions and subsequently medications that you as a patient can be prescribed that plays a role in your oral health. The most common medical diagnosis that plays a huge role in oral health is diabetes. Several oral diseases have been proven to be more common in patients that have been diagnosed with diabetes. The most common being gum disease, dry mouth, and thrush. Patients with diabetes tend to have a higher level of glucose in their saliva which is a large contributing factor in those other diagnoses.
On that health history, we may also ask you about medications you are taking. Some side effects to certain medications have a direct link to your oral health as well. It’s estimated that over 400 medications on the market can cause dry mouth. A low saliva flow increases your risk to cavities as it aids in the growing of bad bacteria in your mouth. Listing medications is also crucial for our doctors to do what they need to do. Patients that are taking a blood thinner need to consult with their primary care physician on protocol for dental extractions as a blood thinner makes it harder for blood to clot which could turn into a serious problem. The same goes for patients that have had some kind of joint replacement, we will ask if your orthopedic surgeon requires you to take an antibiotic before a dental appointment since cleanings and treatment can stir up bacteria that would be harmful for that joint.
We are just barely scratching the surface here on the reasons why it is important to keep your dental office updated on your medical health history. We are a part of your healthcare team and want to do the best we can to give you the best care!
-Webster Dental Associates