Using your mouth as your body’s health gauge? Does it work?

Using your mouth as your body’s health gauge? Does it work?

You may check your pearly smile in the mirror each morning, but it’s likely that the only time your mouth is getting a full inspection is when you visit your dentist.

While doing a check up for your teeth, the team at Epsom Dentists will also be checking for any abnormalities in your mouth such as ulcers, white or red patches, lumps and swellings as these abnormalities can be early signs of oral cancer. Oral specialist can use these signs to predict and diagnose future chronic ailments such as Crohns or Coeliac disease.

Dental Hygienists have had a good record of spotting abnormalities in the mouth. Epsom Dentists offer an excellent dental hygienist service.

Oral cancer is New Zealand’s fourth most common cancer, killing about 100 people a year and it is a silent disease. If you haven’t been to a dentist in the past five years, very likely the signs have been missed where treatment would have the greatest chance of success if it was picked up earlier.

Here in Auckland, Professor Anita Nolan, head of AUT University’s Oral Health Department is a specialist in oral cavity cancer and other illnesses indicated by oral health. She is researching recent oral cancers to find risk factors such as age, demographics, smoking, alcohol, and dentist visits and is investigating a cost-effective targeted screening programme. Meantime, she recommends the best measure you can take is to visit your dentist regularly, ideally, annual check up by the dentists is what you need.

Epsom Dentists agree with Professor Nolan that your best protection of all is good oral hygiene, which means brushing your teeth twice a day, floss daily and have regular dental check ups.

If you don’t follow this recommendation, you may get gum disease caused by bacteria trapped in and around your teeth and gums. Bacteria can damage the soft tissue of the gums and end up destroying the bone that supports your teeth. Loss of teeth and an increased risk of heart disease can result from gum disease.

There is a higher risk of gum disease as you age, but it is not only the elderlies who need to take care. It is just as important for the young to have a good oral care habit. Professor Nolan says Dunedin’s renowned longitudinal study, whose participants have been studied since birth and are now in their forties, suggests the single biggest indicator of health is “the state of dentition of the child”.
You can read more about Professor Anita Nolan’s research in “Tooth be Told” by Mark Broatch, NZ Listener