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Linking Oral and Ocular Health with Comprehensive Health and Well Being

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The link between oral health and general health

Did you know that, by looking into a person's mouth, a dentist can tell if he or she is a candidate for osteoporosis in the future?

It's true, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC, citing recent studies of post-menopausal women, say research suggests that bone loss in the lower jaw may precede the skeletal bone loss seen in osteoporosis.

Additionally, mouth lesions and other oral conditions may be early indicators of HIV infections and are used to determine the stage of infection and to follow its progression to AIDS, the CDC add.

Other conditions can be detected as well with a thorough examination of the mouth:
  • Called "the sixth complication of diabetes," periodontal disease is more likely in diabetics.

  • Infective endocarditis can result when certain oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and adhere to the lining of diseased heart valves. That's why dentists prescribe antibiotics prior to treatment for patients who have conditions such as mitral valve prolapse or who have had recent heart surgery.

  • Certain cancer treatments may also damage mouth tissues, according to the CDC, and require treatment for oral infections.

  • The CDC also point to recent studies that note increased risk of heart disease and stroke in people with gum infections.

  • Some studies, the CDC report, "have found that mothers of pre-term, low birth weight infants tend to have more severe gum disease than mothers of normal birth weight babies."


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