The Mouth – A Window into the Health of the Body
Written by: Dr. Clifford Melnick, DMD
The mouth is a window into the health of the body
Many nutritional deficiencies or general infections can be seen by observing changes in the oral cavity. Systemic diseases which affect the entire body such as diabetes, AIDS, pemphigus, and Sjogren’s syndrome may first become apparent due to lesions in the mouth.
Periodontitis and Systemic Disease Link
Researchers have found that periodontitis is linked with other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and bacterial pneumonia. In addition, pregnant women with periodontitis may be at increased risk for delivering pre-term and/or low-birthweight babies.
What you can do
Due to the potential link between periodontitis and systemic health problems, prevention may be an important step in staying healthy.
– Brush your teeth thoroughly twice daily and clean interproximally (between the teeth) with floss or other interdental cleaners such as proxabrushes.
– Choose products with the ADA seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal assures the the product you are using has undergone extensive testing and is not only safe, but it does what it claims to do.
– Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks. This may lower your risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease.
– Schedule regular dental checkups and cleaning. The only way to remove calculus (tartar) below the gumline is through professional cleaning.
– Inform your dentist about any changes in your overall health. In particular, any recent illness or chronic conditions. Update your medical history and inform your dentist of any new medications you may be taking. If you use tobacco products, talk to your doctor about options for quitting.
– If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, pay particular attention to your teeth and gums. The change in hormone levels during pregancy can cause an increase in gingival (gum) inflammation and irritation. An increase in frequency of professional cleanings may be indicated during this time.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Melnick, please call us at 212 355-1266