Danica Patrick: Healthy teeth = healthy body

April 20, 2017 | by Danica Patrick

I can imagine that many people reading this have a fear of going to the dentist, or at least dislike going in for check-ups and cleanings.

However, it’s really important for you to know that the condition of your teeth can reveal clues about your overall health.

For instance, you could learn that you have a periodontal infection from a simple dental exam, in which case you would definitely want to get your heart checked. Research has shown an association between gum disease and cardiovascular disease.

Your dentist also looks for signs of oral cancer during your exam. I know my dentist at Aspen Dental does. If an exam uncovers suspicious-looking spots or growths that need follow-up, your dentist may refer you for further testing.

There are a lot of things that can get worse if you don’t take care of your mouth. Knowing this could give you the courage to get started and take that first step.

Additionally, don’t skimp on dental care! Make sure you’re brushing twice a day. And FLOSS. Check your mouth when you brush – your gums should be pink and hugging your teeth tightly (and they aren’t supposed to bleed when you brush or floss).

The American Dental Association offers a list of oral and throat cancer signs and symptoms to watch for when you brush, including red or white patches inside your mouth, a sore that won’t go away or a thickening, lump, rough spot or crust.

The thought of discovering you may have oral or throat cancer is scary. But catching it early is key to successful treatment.

The more you do something, the more familiar (and less scary) it becomes. Get dental check-ups regularly so you aren’t afraid to go. We often put check-ups off because we’re worried about what the doctor might tell us.

If you go to the dentist often, not only will you get used to the process, your dentist will be better able to nip potential problems in the bud.

Your heart is in good hands when you choose Edward-Elmhurst Health. Learn more about our cardiovascular care.

Cancer is a journey that requires expertise, encouragement, and a team to rally around you. Learn more about cancer care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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