The reasons why a trip to the dentist could save your life
Most people know that taking a trip to the dentist every 6-12 months can keep decay and gum disease at bay, but did you know that dental checks can save your life? It may seem a little dramatic to suggest that five minutes in the chair could make the difference between life and death, but dentists are trained to identify much graver signs than cavities and swollen gums.
Dentists undertake advanced training to enable them to identify warning signs of many different health conditions. Research suggests that there is a strong link between oral and general health and often, dental symptoms can indicate an elevated risk of potentially life-threatening illnesses. Common signs of gum disease, including swollen gums and loose teeth, can also be linked to heart disease. Scientists believe that harmful bacteria associated with advanced gum disease can travel from the mouth to other parts of the body, increasing the risk of an inflammatory response, which could trigger heart attacks and strokes.
Another important reason to visit the dentist is to check for early warning signs of oral cancer. Mouth cancer, a type of cancer that has become much more common in the UK in the last decade, is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Dentists are trained to identify early signs. Regular checks can ensure that cases are diagnosed when the chances of successful treatment are at their highest.
Dentists are also well-versed in the link between diabetes and dental health, and in some cases, they may be able to spot potential symptoms before a patient has been diagnosed with diabetes. Studies show that people who have diabetes are more prone to oral health issues, but there is also a suggestion that poor oral health can increase the risk of diabetes.