Tooth Talk with Brinkley Dental Group – Why we need to know your medical history

Perhaps you’ve wondered why, when visiting your Dentist, we ask if there have been any changes in your recent medical history. After all, you might be wondering, “what do my teeth and health have to do with one another?” Actually, the answer is: a lot! We have touched on this topic before but today we thought it important to provide you with a definitive, “one stop shopping,” list of all the various health conditions that either:

 1) As your Dentist we should know about in order to best tailor your treatment appropriately

 Or

 2) As your Dentist, we might be the first to identify the potential for these health conditions to exist in our patients and recommend you see a Dr. immediately if you were not already planning to do so.

Oral health and physical (even mental health) can be intimately tied to (at least) the following health conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Oral Cancer
  • TMD – Temporomandibular Disorder
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Thyroid problems
  • Iron deficiency – Anemia
  • Leukemia
  • Easting Disorders such as bulimia / anorexia
  • Gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s or Colitis
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Stress and even, Anxiety
  • Drug Abuse
  • As well – treatment for some of the above disorders may also affect your dental treatment options as both radiation and chemotherapy, for example, can have an impact on your teeth.

This is a fairly exhaustive list. Some of the health risks on it might come as a surprise that they can affect your teeth and/or your overall health. Each are serious however and it’s critically important that your Dental Care provider knows about your conditions so that he/she can work together with your health care provider to help protect not only your overall health but also the impact of any health condition on your teeth, mouth and gums. It’s imperative therefore that your dentist has all the available information in order to properly plan for your dental care regime in a manner that will help keep you safe, stable and secure in the knowledge that your teeth are as well protected and well cared for as the rest of you.

This blog would be far too long if we addressed each of the above bullet points in detail, and some of them we have previously talked about. Blogs on teen mental health, eating disorders and gastrointestinal disease have identified for our readers how to be aware of, and treat, teeth during these illnesses. TMD is something many have heard about but perhaps need more information on but that too would take too long to delve into here. We promise to write an entire blog on TMD in the near future so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here is just a short synopsis on one of the illnesses listed (and which is sadly on the rise) diabetes.

Diabetes can impact oral health in many ways. It may leave you prone to fungal infections or infections that take significantly longer to heal. It can lead to tooth decay despite your best efforts although this isn’t an excuse not to brush – in fact it’s an opportunity to work even harder! It can lead to gum disease, dry mouth, lesions in the mouth and may even cause some taste impairment. In short, diabetes can have a lasting impact on our teeth and your Dentist may choose different types of treatment based on the knowledge that you have diabetes. So, just a reminder that when we ask about your medical history – it’s important we hear the whole story! And while we’re talking about reminders – here’s another one for you; ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”