When you open your mouth, you might be surprised at what your dentist can see.
Your teeth, gums and oral cavity might show clues to health issues you may or may not be aware of, including oral cancer, medication induced dry mouth, diabetes, stress induced injury, heart conditions, kidney problems, drug or alcohol use and much more.
Many recent studies have shown relationships between oral health and overall health, although researchers are still probing to define more clearly how certain oral conditions relate to medical conditions.
It's important to provide your dentist with a thorough health history and give him or her updates whenever you have a change in health status or medications, or if you smoke or drink alcohol. During regular checkups, your dentist will examine your mouth for any changes or developments, including oral cancer, periodontal disease or other problems.
For many oral health problems, your dentist can offer multiple treatment options for dental care. These options may vary in complexity, durability and cost. Working together, you and your dentist can choose the treatment options that best meet your needs.
For more information about the dentist-patient relationship, visit the American Dental Association Web site at www.ada.org.
Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.© American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.