Because you see a specific healthcare provider for dental care, your oral health can sometimes seem separate from the rest of your body. But conditions that affect other bodily systems can also alter your smile, and vice versa.
When you first start seeing a new dentist, you complete a health history form that gives your dentist an idea of how your whole body health may affect your mouth. In addition to this general information, you should inform your dentist of any developments with the following seven health conditions.
While many people learn about their allergies in childhood, other substance sensitivities may not be detected until later in life. Provide your dentist with a full list of your allergies, especially allergies related to topical and surgical substances like latex.
If you are diagnosed with a new allergy, let your dentist know during your next appointment.
Bacterial infections can easily travel through the bloodstream and affect any part of the body, including the mouth. These whole-body infections may increase your risk of oral infection and tooth decay, so be sure to inform your dentist if you’ve developed one.
You should also let your dentist know what treatment your doctor prescribed for the infection.
Many dental medicines and procedures can affect cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular diseases can also make you more prone to oral issues, like periodontal disease.
Let your dentist know of any past or upcoming heart health procedures to that he or she can change your dental health care accordingly.
Many common medications can change your saliva production, tooth sensitivity and oral soft tissue health. When you start a new medication or change your medication dosage, let your dentist know.
This information is particularly important if you take medication for mood disorders, Parkinson's, cardiovascular conditions, respiratory illness, epilepsy, muscle spasms or blood pressure control.
Certain lifestyle habits put you at a much higher risk of tooth decay and other oral health conditions. These habits include regular tobacco and alcohol use. When describing your tobacco and alcohol habits to your dentist, try to be as precise as possible, even if you feel wary of disclosing this information.
It's important that your dentist knows the specifics of these lifestyle choices because, for example, chewing tobacco affects the mouth differently than cigarettes and social drinking has less of an impact than daily drinks.
As we discussed in our previous blog, " 3 Ways Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health ," it's important to disclose your pregnancy to your dentist. In addition to anticipating the impact of morning sickness and hormone fluctuations, your dentist may also need to change how procedures work in the office.
For example, some dentists stop using X-ray imaging once a woman reaches a certain point in her pregnancy to avoid any ill effect the trace radiation could have on the foetus.
Surgery dramatically increases your risk of infection and health complications. If you have had recent surgery or have a major surgery scheduled, let your dentist know.
Your dentist may ask permission to discuss your condition with your primary care physician or surgeon to best accommodate your needs.
In addition to notifying your dentist when your health changes, you should always answer any health and lifestyle questions asked by your dentist accurately. Many factors can affect your oral health and the success of dental procedures, even when they don't seem related.
For example, certain types of fruit juice can reduce the efficacy of dental sedation, so if your dentist asks about your beverage preferences, be honest.
If you aren't sure whether or not a health condition could affect your smile, check with your dentist . Disclosing this health information is an important step toward getting your best dental care.
The time has come. You brush and floss your kids' teeth every day, but it's finally time for their first official dentist appointment. You know how important it is to attend regular dentist appointments. You want your kids to have good oral health for life and don't want them to develop a fear of the dentist or feel anxiety about dental visits.
To ensure your kids have a good experience on their foundational visit to the dentist, prepare them properly before the big day.
Schedule the First Visit Early
Most experts advise that children see a dentist sometime before their first birthday. The earlier you can get your kids in to the dentist, the better. If they start early, they'll be familiar with the process and know what to expect as they get older.
However, if you missed that first early visit, it's not too late to establish good oral health for your kids. Get them in to see a dentist as soon, and as young, as possible.
Go to a Family-Friendly Dentist
What kind of dentist you choose matters. Even if you love your own dentist, they may not be right for your kids.
Choose a dentist who regularly deals with children and families. Many dentists' offices have long experience dealing with children and will happily accept appointments for the whole family. Your kids will likely have a better time if their dentist knows how to appeal to children.
Remember it's not just the dentist who will deal with your kids. Everyone from the front-office staff to the oral hygienist will also interact with your children and contribute to their first dental experience. Choose an office that knows how to make a positive first impression.
Explain Why You Go to the Dentist
Before their first visit, explain to your kids why it's important to go to the dentist. Talk, in a kidfriendly way, about how the dentist uses special tools to make their teeth squeaky clean again.
Use metaphors or imagery that are easy for kids to understand. Decide, based on your children's personalities, whether to tell them how little cavity bugs hide in their teeth and the dentist needs to clean them off, or whether to just say you need the dentist to keep teeth healthy and strong.
Tell your children what you personally like about going to the dentist. Maybe you like when the dentist polishes your teeth or takes an X-ray. Relay your own experience to give your kids a positive impression of what to expect.
Show Your Kids Positive Media
Familiarize your children with the environment and equipment they'll see at the dentist's office. Show them pictures and videos of kids at the dentist and images of the tools the dentist uses to clean their teeth. Find episodes of kid-friendly TV shows that address dental visits, and watch them with your children.
Expose your children to a variety of positive media about dental visits. If they know what things look like and what to expect before they get to the office, they'll be less intimidated by the dental environment.
Give Your Kids Something to Look Forward To
Offer your children a treat or special event for after their dentist visit. Maybe they'll get to spend a day at the zoo, or just go out for ice cream after their appointment. Give them a positive event to look forward to so they approach their first visit to the dentist with happy anticipation.
With the right preparation, you can help your kids establish a positive relationship to dentists and oral hygiene. Promote a good attitude before their first dental visit and build a healthy foundation for the rest of their lives.