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This Is Why Your Dentist Needs Your Medical History

“Why do I have to fill out all this paperwork? Why does my dentist need to know my medical history just to clean my teeth?”

These are questions you may have voiced to yourself as you sat in the waiting room of your dentist’s office, filling out yet more medical history paperwork.

Your dentist is really not trying to make your life more difficult. It is actually very important that your dental team know your medical history. Here’s why:

The Heart Connection

People with cardiac disorders and coronary artery disease tend to be more susceptible to periodontal disease. If your gums are swollen and inflamed at every dental visit, there is a higher likelihood that you have inflammation throughout your body, including your heart. In fact, some studies have suggested that the bacteria in your mouth may actually make your heart disease worse. Your gums have a lot of blood vessels, and your mouth has a lot of bacteria. Any tear in the gum tissue means that those bacteria are likely to get into your bloodstream and cause inflammation elsewhere in your body. Some studies have shown that the bacteria Streptococcus sanguis can lead to strokes.

The Diabetes Connection

People with diabetes also have a tendency to have much more prevalence of periodontal disease. In diabetics, wounds take longer to heal, and that means the gums take longer to heal after any oral surgery or any injury. Diabetics are also at greater risk that the wound will become infected.

The Surgery Connection

Do you have a knee or hip joint replacement? If so, your dentist particularly needs to know your medical history. People with joint replacements must take preventative antibiotics before any dental procedure is done. Why? The antibiotics kill mouth bacteria that might enter the bloodstream. Dentists want to ensure that bacteria do not adversely affect your new joint.

The Allergy Connection

Your dentist needs to know about any medication allergies or sensitivities you may have in case something needs to be prescribed for pain or anesthesia is needed. Antibiotic allergies must be revealed, too. Some people are allergic to certain metals; this must be known before a metal appliance, crown or denture is constructed.

Everything Is Connected

Today, we know that oral health is strongly connected to overall health. Oral health is a good indicator of your overall health.

It is important that you regularly see your dentist, and even more important that the dentist understand any medical issues you have that might complicate treatment.

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