General Dentistry – Keeping Your Loved Ones Healthy & Happy

There was a time not so long ago when people thought of medical doctors as health providers, and dentists as, well, dentists. Doctors diagnosed illnesses, attended to general health, delivered babies, and dealt with traumatic emergencies. General dentists fixed or pulled teeth and gave lectures about brushing and flossing.

Times have changed!

Today, dentists are acknowledged as the primary oral health care provider, and oral health is recognized as a major cornerstone of general health. In addition, the state of your oral health often provides the first indications of major health problems.

How does oral health affect general health? Scientists now suspect that bacteria in the mouth, often in infected gums, can move throughout the body. The worse the infection, the greater risk the bacteria will enter the bloodstream. Once there, it can…

  • increase arterial plaque, which restricts blood flow and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • stimulate a hormone that can bring on a pre-term birth
  • increase your risk for kidney cancer
  • negatively affect risk and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
  • exacerbate respiratory disease
  • impact rheumatoid arthritis
  • and more!

General dentists are often the first to notice symptoms of hypertension, diabetes, oral cancers, and osteoporosis. Our role in general preventive medicine is becoming increasingly important. A recent survey indicates that most dentists take an active role in counseling patients on a variety of health issues. For example, smoking is now seen as possibly the major cause of periodontal disease, and dentists are at the forefront of proactive anti-smoking counseling.