Uncovering the Connection Between Your Eye and Mouth Health and Your Overall Wellbeing
Seeing a primary care physician is a regular practice for most people. Our yearly checkups are intended to make sure everything is in good condition.
But many people don’t realize how crucial regular eye exams and dental appointments can be to maintaining overall wellness. The health of your eyes and mouth may be more important than you know.
It’s essential to schedule visual and dental checkups as regularly as your physicals, but many overlook these appointments. Without regular exams, however, problems that seem small can turn into bigger issues before being noticed. Your dentist or eyecare provider can help diagnose a problem before it becomes serious and more expensive to address.
These specialists are looking for more than function; they’re looking for symptoms that could indicate more serious conditions. Oftentimes, regular dental and vision care can help detect problems before they become untreatable.
Why is dental care important?
Did you know that your mouth is quite literally the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts? It’s true. In fact, some of the bacteria that enters your body can cause diseases that directly affect your overall health. Without these exams, you might assume your mouth health is fine, but 15–20% of adults aged 33 to 44 have some form of gum disease. Gum disease can be linked to other diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Other mouth diseases can go unnoticed too; 27% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have untreated tooth decay. Oftentimes, people realize they need a dentist only when they are already in pain. By then, though, it could be too late to salvage a tooth or fix more serious issues like gum disease or an exposed root.
Why is eyecare important?
Eye diseases are very common and can go unnoticed for a long time; some don’t even have symptoms at first. It is estimated about 1 million Americans develop eye infections each year. If you don’t have a professional evaluating your eyes regularly, you might not even know that you have an eye disease, which can lead to expenses that might be avoided if the disease is detected earlier.
Did you know more than 150 million Americans have corrective lenses? Yet many people don’t think they need eyewear until they are checked by a specialist. Though headaches and squinting can suggest a problem with eyesight, these symptoms may also be indicative of other issues, such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy.
How can your eyes and mouth point to more serious diseases and conditions?
Sometimes, symptoms experienced in the mouth or eyes are surface indicators of a more serious problem. Many diseases and conditions can be detected early through certain symptoms in your eyes and mouth, helping to prevent them from becoming more serious.
For example, dentists and researchers have found that gum disease often shows up in patients who have or will develop Alzheimer’s. Gum disease can also be an indicator of pre-diabetes.
If you have vision problems, you are more likely to have diabetes, poor hearing, heart problems, high blood pressure, and strokes than people who have good vision.
Going to regular appointments can give professionals a chance to catch these diseases and conditions before they worsen, and they might be able to get a head start on treatment to reduce symptoms.
When was the last time you visited a dentist or eyecare specialist? If you can’t remember, it might be time to schedule an appointment.
How can dental and vision insurance help?
Both dental and vision insurance can help cover the cost of regular exams. It’s important to remember regular appointments are vital to bringing down overall cost. That’s because annual checkups can help identify problems before they become more serious and require expensive procedures.
As an AVMA member, you and your staff have access to comprehensive coverage with a range of options to meet your needs. Delta Dental of Illinois offers both dental and vision coverage tailor-made for veterinarians that can reduce your out-of-pocket fees for regular checkups and other necessary procedures.