In recent times a number of medical conditions have been linked to dental health.

For many years it has been known that diabetic patients have an increased risk of gum disease. This is particularly the case for those whose diabetes is not well controlled. Controlling gum disease is important as it can lead to loss of teeth.

I think all of us would be aware of the links between smoking and many health issues. As far as your mouth is concerned smoking has been linked to an increased risk of mouth cancer and gum disease. The risk of cancer is greatly increased in those who consume alcohol as well. Recent research may suggest that this link applies to mouthrinses that contain alcohol as well. While there has been some debate amongst dentists as to whether this is a genuine risk, the team at Garden Street Dental do not recommend mouthrinses (unless advised) and if you want to use them we would recommend one that does not contain alcohol. As part of your routine dental examination your dentist should examine and advise whether there are any lesions in your mouth that need to be watched or monitored.

Links have also been shown between gum disease and heart conditions. Dentists always advise regular dental check-ups to patients who have had or are about to undergo heart surgery in order to maintain good dental and heart health. In some cases it may be necessary for some patients who have had heart or joint surgery to take an antibiotic as a precaution before receiving dental treatment. Patients who have had radiotherapy to the head/neck region may also need to take additional precautions before dental treatment.

Many commonly used medications can also have an impact on dental health. Some medications may lead to a dry mouth which in turn leads to an increased risk of decay. Likewise, for those who wear dentures, a dry mouth can cause problems with the fit and comfort of dentures. Other medications can increase the risk of gum disease by causing the gums to become puffy and swollen. One recent issue has been in relation to some of the medications used to treat osteoporosis. Patients taking these medications should consult with their doctor, pharmacist or dentist to check if they need to be concerned or take additional precautions. In this instance we would strongly advise patients to have a thorough dental assessment before commencing medication as this will reduce the risk of complications in the future.

It is therefore important that your dentist be up to date with your medical details and be advised of any changes. Finally, a comprehensive dental check-up is strongly suggested prior to starting new medications or any surgery.

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