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.
2. Bacterial Infections
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.
3. Heart Health Diagnoses
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.
4. New Medication
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.
5. Potentially Hazardous Lifestyle Choices
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.