A Dental Health Checkup: Everything You Should Mention to Your Dentist
Your dentist cares about all aspects of your health, not just your smile.
Doctors and dentists both serve important roles in helping us protect our health, but the divide between the two fields of physical and dental health isn’t as black and white as it may seem.
Your dental health history isn’t normally brought up during a checkup with your GP, but you’ll find that your dentist will take a keen interest in both your dental health as well as your overall health. The reason for this revolves around the mouth-body connection, the concept of there being a strong correlation between bodily health and oral health.
Certain medical conditions or health concerns can give your dentist important information on your dental health. For example, many inflammatory diseases often lead to periodontal disease in patients. Research even supports the idea that periodontal disease can exacerbate these underlying health conditions or may have even been the trigger causing them to develop in the first place.
Just like you’d share your medical history with your doctor, we welcome patients to do the same with us so we’re able to give you the best care possible.
8 Health Factors You Should Definitely Share with Your Dentist During Your Checkup
If it’s been a while since your last checkup, you may have had a few changes to your medical history that aren’t recorded. Our team will begin your checkup by asking a series of questions about your dental health, overall health, and any changes you’ve experienced. Even if a particular health condition wasn’t included in our questions, we encourage patients to still let us know.
Here are 10 crucial health factors your dentist should know.
1. Your Daily Dental Care Routine
How often do you brush? Do you floss daily? Do you use fluoride toothpaste? Your dentist will want the inside scoop on your typical at-home oral care routine. How you care for your teeth at home sets a foundation for your dental health and gives us insight into risks for tooth decay, gum disease, enamel erosion, etc.
2. New Medications or Supplements
Your dentist should know about any medications you regularly take. Some medications can affect your oral health in odd ways, the most common being dry mouth. Chronic dry mouth can damage tooth enamel, harm soft tissues (i.e. gums), and greatly increase risks of developing periodontal disease or thrush. We should also know about any supplements, such as herbal remedies, vitamins, etc.
3. High Blood Pressure
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the most common chronic cardiovascular health condition. We even take your blood pressure during routine dental checkups, and especially prior to any sort of dental procedure, in order to monitor your safety and overall health. If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension we need to know, as periodontal disease and poor dental health can raise your blood pressure further and even make your medication less effective.
Diabetes is infamous for causing widespread health issues throughout the body, affecting the eyes, kidneys, heart, and immune system. Diabetes can also affect your oral health in severe ways. Periodontitis, the most severe form of periodontal disease, often develops in diabetic patients. It’s important for us to know if you’ve been diagnosed with any form of diabetes, even if you’re doing well on your medication..
5. Digestive Health Issues
Your oral health and gut health share a symbiotic relationship. Poor dental health and poor gut health can both affect one another, especially if bad oral bacteria enter your digestive tract. Your teeth and bite alignment can also impact your digestion. Painful teeth or missing teeth can force you to eat softer foods and improper bite alignment can impact how thoroughly you can chew your foods. A random bout of food poisoning is rarely related to your dental health, but we’d like to know if you’re experiencing any chronic digestive health issues.
6. Gum Tenderness and Bleeding After Brushing or Flossing
The first stage of periodontal disease is a state of chronic gum inflammation we know as gingivitis. Gingivitis symptoms include gum swelling, tenderness, bleeding, and a visibly red or irritated appearance. Gingivitis is very responsive to treatment in its early stages so the sooner we know about it, the better. Even if you’re not actively feeling swelling or gum pain during your checkup, if you’ve experienced bouts of it in the past, let us know.
7. Pain in Your Jaw and Headaches
Jaw pain, neck pain, and regular headaches should all be brought up to your dentist. These types of pain and discomfort can often point to a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) affecting your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The sooner we know about the pain, the sooner we can get you started on a treatment plan to put a stop to it.
8. Recent Illness or COVID-19 Diagnosis
Recent illness or a recent COVID-19 diagnosis should also be brought up during your appointment, even if you’re no longer ill or contagious. If you’re feeling sick before your dental checkup appointment, we greatly appreciate it if you give us a call to let us know. In some cases, you may still keep your appointment, but in others, we’ll book you for a later visit when you’re feeling better.
Ready to book your appointment at The Tooth Doctor?
When you’re ready to book your dental health checkup at The Tooth Doctor you can either call our Omaha office or fill out this online form. If you’ve had multiple changes to your health recently, we encourage you to bring along notes and a list of medications so you won’t need to worry about forgetting any details.