If you wanted to know how healthy you really are, what would be the best way to get an instantaneous, accurate, on-point and up-to-date health assessment?
Step on a scale? Get an EKG? How about a detailed nutritional analysis or blood lab test results?
While all of these methods can provide insight on your overall health, there’s another method that’s not well-known but might be better than all the conventional tests: a dental examination.
Why Dental Health is so Important
Regular brushing and flossing help achieve optimal tooth health, but the soft tissue areas of the mouth – most notably, the gums – might be more important. That’s because there is more evidence that gingivitis, a common gum disease, has been linked to serious illnesses and diseases that impact health throughout the body.
Recent research has shown numerous links between gum disease and the following conditions:
- Respiratory problems
- Auto-immune disorders (including rheumatoid arthritis)
- Heart disease
- And many others
Because so much bacteria resides in the mouth, it’s often regarded as an entry point for different viruses and diseases. That’s why dental health promotes overall health; a well-maintained mouth is much less likely to promote and spread bacteria and other germs.
Plus, scientific research has established a strong correlation between bad dental habits and life-threatening medical conditions. The University of North Carolina School of Dentistry recently completed a comprehensive study that showed two startling facts:
People with gum disease are 300% more likely to have a stroke and nearly 200% more likely to suffer a heart attack than those with healthy gums.
The UNC School of Dentistry study emphasizes the importance of proper dental health, and researchers concluded that one way to reduce the probability of suffering serious medical emergencies is to brush and floss regularly!
Correlation vs Causation – The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health
Are poor dental habits simply a correlation with subpar health in general, or is there actual causation in play? Doctors, dentists and other health professionals aren’t in complete agreement about the issue – in biology, science and medicine, lock-step opinions are extremely rare – but a majority of researchers and scientists think that proper teeth and gum care can help lessen or eliminate other health problems.
However, plenty of studies show that dental health can be impacted by existing medical conditions. In one groundbreaking study, a team of Nepalese researchers examined the relationship between asthmatic medications and dental erosion.
So, the dental health / overall health relationship has both correlation and causation. But since there are both factors involved, that makes it more imperative than ever to take care of your teeth and gums – because that’s one way to take care of your entire body!
Teeth, Gums and Mouth: A Window into the Total Health Picture
Oral health is a very effective “two-way street” indicator of someone’s overall health. Just as poor brushing or flossing can lead to other health problems, there are some conditions that impact the teeth and gums much quicker than other disorders, including osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Whether oral habits are a cause or symptom of other health challenges, one thing is beyond dispute: for a quick glimpse into someone’s total well-being, their teeth, mouth and gums usually provide an accurate health assessment. Even a single drop of saliva can reveal tons of information; give a doctor a saliva sample, and there’s an excellent chance you’ll receive a precise, detailed analysis on your current physical condition.
Dr. Dental: Your Dental Health Partner
One of the best ways to obtain optimal oral health is with regular visits to your dentist’s office. Dr. Dental’s New England-wide network of oral health clinics and dentist offices provide comprehensive services, convenient hours and friendly customer service.
We also offer a few budget-friendly daily deals to complement our already affordable dental services. From minor dental work to procedures like root canals and crowns, Dr. Dental has everything you’re looking for in a dentist.
Find the nearest Dr. Dental office near you – we can help get your oral health (and overall health) back on track today!