With ongoing research into how the health of your mouth can affect the rest of your body, you will probably see more and more dentists beginning to take patients’ “vital signs” as part of their treatment. One of the big reasons is that oral problems – especially gum disease – can possibly cause other medical problems for you, including cardiac issues.
It’s been 15 years since a report by the U.S. Surgeon General had a focus on oral health being a key part of a person’s overall physical health. In the years since, the issue of the entire body’s health – and not just one where the mouth is treated separately – has blossomed (a “systemic” concept). Research into links between oral health and other issues such as heart attacks continues today and medical professionals from both general health care and dentistry are taking notice.
So, it is very important for you to communicate with your dentist ALL of what’s happening with you in your medical care – not just what’s happening with your mouth. No detail is too small; and certainly you must share all medications and supplements that you currently take either by prescription or choice (multivitamins, etc.).
Also, you may find that you’ll be having your blood pressure checked each time you come in for a visit (even for a routine cleaning). Just as a medical doctor’s office visit starts with taking your “vital signs,” some dentists have begun taking this as an initial step in this direction of a systemic look at your health.