A survey commissioned by the Academy of General Dentistry revealed 63% of ages 45 to 65 with an oral symptom found it was linked to a more serious health condition. It seems key symptoms in the mouth were warning signs of adult onset diseases.
For instance, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease increases with age. Researchers believe that these diseases often manifest themselves in the mouth.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes, which usually begins after age 45. Initial indicators of this disease are bad breath and bleeding gums. However, only 29% of the baby boomers surveyed were aware of this connection.
After the age of 45, the risk for developing heart disease triples. Although heart disease is the leading killer of Americans, a sore and painful jaw is often overlooked as a warning signal. As a matter of fact, 60% of those surveyed were unaware these symptoms could be signs of a potential heart attack.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 44 million American adults have risk for osteoporosis, with a greater risk for menopausal and post-menopausal women. Yet, women who are on oral osteoporosis medications often fail to share this with their dentist. In rare instances, jaw bone ‘death’ has occurred from side effects of these medications after certain dental procedures.
Research continually reveals links between oral and overall health. While the health and appearance of your smile is our emphasis, your overall well-being is also important. Please discuss any unusual symptoms you are experiencing or any change in your medical status. It is our goal to ensure your smile is a positive part of your health, in all aspects.