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Could your physical health be impacting your dental health?

If you’re living with any of the following conditions, we’d encourage you to let us know so we can help to ensure you and your oral health get all the TLC you need.

Diabetes

If you’re diabetic you may be more at risk of infections in the mouth. High sugar levels in saliva can help cause bacteria to grow in the mouth, increasing the risk of severe gum disease and tooth loss. The condition can also reduce saliva flow, which puts you at risk of gum disease and tooth decay. It’s important to remember that uncontrolled gum disease can also make controlling diabetes more difficult, so it’s really important to pay regular visits to your dentist.

Cancer

Cancer treatments can really take their toll on the body, with oral health problems such as bleeding, sores, and infections being among the many possible side effects. They can also cause dry mouth, where there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps prevents infection, gum disease, and tooth decay, so dry mouth puts you at higher risk for these problems. The inside of the mouth can also become inflamed and sore (oral mucositis) which can cause pain and difficulty eating, tasting, swallowing, or speaking.

HIV/AIDS

The virus puts you at risk for dental decay, gum disease, and mouth infections, like oral warts, yeast infections, sores and blisters. People living with this condition are also at risk for oral hairy leukoplakia –  a white fuzzy growth on the tongue or insides of the cheeks or lips. The medications used for treatment can cause dry mouth, which raises the risk of tooth decay, severe gum disease, and infections in the mouth. Conversely, infections in the mouth can make controlling HIV/AIDS more difficult so it’s very important to maintain good oral health.

Hyperthyroidism

If you have an overactive thyroid you may have a higher risk of tooth decay and severe gum disease. Hyperthyroidism can also increase your risk of thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) in the jaw that help hold the teeth in place, which can lead to tooth loss.

Sjögren’s syndrome

With this condition, salivary glands don’t work normally, which causes dry mouth. This puts people with Sjögren’s syndrome at a higher risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections.

Anemia

If a person has had blood loss or a health condition that destroys red blood cells, this causes anemia. With anemia, not having enough blood cells means the tissues of the body don’t get enough oxygen. In the mouth, this may help lead to gum disease.

Other conditions

Allergies, high blood pressure, and even depression can all have an effect on oral health. How? Medicines used to treat these conditions – such as some antihistamines, diuretics, and antidepressants – can cause dry mouth. Surgery or strong pain from injury or other causes can also affect your oral health. This is because some narcotic pain medications also cause dry mouth.

As with most oral health concerns, these problems can be avoided or minimised by taking a preventative approach. If you’re concerned about a health issue please let us know so that we can help you make sure your teeth and gums get the extra care and attention they need.

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