For many people, dental problems start and end in the mouth – insufficient or improper brushing and flossing allows bacteria to build up in the mouth, causing tooth decay, gum disease, and eventual tooth loss. However, for other people, dental problems result from other major health issues.
For example, patients with poorly controlled diabetes can have very severe dental problems. The lack of blood supply can contribute to infections in the gums and bones beneath teeth, and high blood sugar can cause dry mouth, where the resulting lack of saliva contributes to an increase in bacterial buildup and tooth decay.
Sleep apnea, a medical condition where the body tissue often blocks the airway, causing significant sleep problems, can cause dry mouth (again leading to bacterial buildup and tooth decay), jaw fatigue leading to TMJ disorders, and in some cases bruxism (tooth grinding), which wears down tooth enamel, and can cause tooth loss as teeth are damaged during sleep.
Like medical problems can contribute to dental problems, a healthy diet can contribute to a healthy mouth. Avoiding foods high in sugar and acid can help minimize your risk of tooth decay, and maintaining sufficient calcium is necessary for bone – and tooth – health.
While dentists will recommend brushing, flossing, and regular cleaning, it’s important to realize that overall medical health contributes to healthy teeth and gums. If you’re having medical issues, be sure to have open and frank discussions with your dentist – it may help your dentist in diagnosing and treating problems they see within your mouth.
For more information on oral health call Riverside dentist Dr. Gerald Middleton at (951) 688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.
Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario, Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.