Do we know how important our dental health is?
The mouth is the gateway to your entire body, food and nutrition all begin their journey from the mouth. Still, our mouth remains last when it comes to general health and wellbeing. Dental health is almost an ignored subject when we think about overall health. Half the population suffers from gum disease and tooth decay. Today, decayed teeth are so common that we consider them to be normal.
The health profession has long understood the link between gum disease, heart disease and diabetes including the fact that diseases originate in the mouth have consequences for the entire body, yet the healthcare profession has failed to address the cause because conventional medicine often treats oral disease and systemic disease separately about the management of chronic illness.
With this I could recall an incident that happened a few years back when I met a patient named Suresh, he was referred by cardiologist to get consent from general dentist whether he can go for bypass surgery or not, patients usually need dental clearance before any major surgeries because bacterial infections in the mouth can spread to the rest of the body, so surgeons need to know that the person they operate on isn’t more vulnerable to complications.
I could sense his anxiety and took a few minutes to understand his problem, he explained everything with a big grin and that grin was something to see, his oral status was completely a disaster zone he had only a couple of teeth left so his smile consisted of gums and one tooth that is almost poking up and another at the back was his eating tooth. Both happened to be extracted as they were infected badly, and he assured to comeback for denture after his bypass surgery.
After a month when we called him for follow up check-up, we got to know he passed away because his oral infections had already spread enough and he couldn’t get through his surgery. By this we realize, Mr. Suresh’s dental disease was severe, but he wasn’t concerned about it which took his life. His 30 minutes visit, twice a year to a dentist might have given him some more life.
I have become used to seeing people with a mouth that were much further damaged, the more I got to know my patients, the more I discovered how little people understood the dental disease and how it affects their lives. I saw plenty of patients who had fine educations and impressive career but whose mouth was in disaster. It was common for them to have broken, missing or crooked teeth, swollen gums and infected wisdom teeth, they don’t visit the dentist until unless they get a warning call (PAIN). Do they do the same with general check-up?
BUT, Why?? I often see the patient forcing us to do filling even when he had swelling in his mouth and to give medication just to relieve the pain. I wonder how fair is this does anyone do same when they have a heart attack ? do they tell doctors to do dressing on the chest and give some medication and assure doctor to come back when it reoccurs?
Reason echoes with dental treatment are expensive. It is mentally fixed that dental treatment is expensive, but who is making it expensive? Dental treatment or negligence?
Society has made a mind that the mouth is a remote part of health which does not influence on our wellbeing. It occurred to me that, People know how to take care of their heart. They know how to take care of their skin and hair, they have some insight into how to protect most of their major organs but they don’t know how to take care of the organ they eat and talk with, the one that sits in the middle of their face.
The mouth is one of our most important organs and its health is crucial to the rest of the body, yet most people don’t appreciate this because medicine and dentistry have somehow become two separate worlds. With this I end don’t wait for a warning call, do your routine dental check and save yourself, its not only relieve from a lifetime of dental bills, but you’ll be taking the best possible steps to improve your overall health, in total what’s good for the mouth is good for the rest of the body and the way you treat it, the exact way your body will treat you back.