Cancer and Oral Health
The dental care you receive from Royal Lakes Dental is about more than the health of your teeth. Caring for your teeth, preventing gum disease and practicing good oral hygiene are all part of your overall physical well being. If you neglect your oral health care, your overall health care could suffer for it.
Connection Between Oral Health and Heart Disease
The truth is, there is a strong correlation between the health of your gums and teeth and the health of your body. You may have heard that there is a link between untreated gum disease and cardiovascular risk, but that is not the only connection you need to be concerned about.
The connection between oral health and dental hygiene and serious health conditions works both ways. Neglecting your advancing gum disease and failing to care for your teeth could put you at increased risk of a heart attack, but the medications you take for cancer and other serious health ailments could also impact your oral health and dental care.
Transparency Is The Key
That is why it is so important to share your full medical history, including any illnesses you suffer and treatments you are currently undergoing with your doctor. Certain cancer medications have been shown to impact oral health, and sharing your medical history will help your dentist develop an effective plan to care for your teeth – and the rest of your body.
There are a number of potential oral health complications related to cancer treatment, and no two patients will react the same way to those treatments. The severity of those dental complications will vary from individual to individual, and it is important for your dentist to tailor your treatment to your specific needs.
Chemotherapy treatments, for instance, could reduce the action of your bone marrow, suppressing the creation of new white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. That can impact your dental treatment and change the way your dental problems are treated.
Medication Side Effects
Other cancer drugs are actually toxic to the oral tissues. If you are taking one of these drugs, your oncologist may warn you of these possible side effects, and you should pass that information along to your dentist.
If you are currently undergoing treatment for cancer, you should be on the lookout for some of the most common complications. Inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes inside the mouth are commonplace, as are viral, fungal and bacterial infections. These infections are most common with cancer treatments that suppress the immune system, but they can arise with other types of treatment as well.
Your body is a complex organism, with interactions that are not always apparent. As part of your healthcare team, your dentist needs to know about your overall health as well as the health of your teeth, and sharing this information can improve your treatment and help you live a healthier, happier and longer life.