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What Dentists Want You to Know About Your Thyroid

By    |   Tuesday, 12 April 2016 04:05 PM EDT

Before your next appointment with your dentist, it is important to understand the relationship between thyroid health and dental health.

When an overactive thyroid gland, an important part of the endocrine system, is producing too much thyroid hormone, it is called hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid is underactive and not producing enough thyroid hormone, it is called hypothyroidism. In both cases, autoimmune diseases are most often the cause. Graves’ disease is usually the cause of hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is commonly the cause of hypothyroidism.

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According to Dr. Izabella Wentz, a doctor of pharmacy, the same bacteria that contribute to gum disease or periodontitis produce an inflammatory response associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Most patients with this autoimmune disease also have periodontitis.

While fluoride is often regarded as a route to good dental health, it can make the condition worse for people with thyroid disorders, Wentz noted.

Thyroid disorders of any kind can also lead to specific challenges for your dentist. Assure a Smile, a leading holistic dentistry practice in south Florida, says thyroid disorders can cause dry mouth, or decreased production of saliva in the mouth.

Saliva is essential to good oral health because it helps prevent cavities by dissolving foods and preventing sticky foods from adhering to tooth enamel. It also helps deliver important minerals to teeth, improving their structure and strength.

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Assure a Smile also explains that thyroid disorders can lead to an abnormal swelling of the tongue, which affects normal eating, swallowing, and can lead to sleep apnea.

Proper management of thyroid disease is crucial for the successful treatment of periodontal diseases, says Wellness Alternatives. Untreated and longstanding thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, contributes to periodontal disease and can weaken the specialized tissues that support the teeth.

Finally, patients being treated for thyroid cancer need to inform their dentist because cancer treatment can have implications on oral health. Dr. Lori Wirth, director of the Head and Neck Oncology Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Everyday Health the radiation treatments common in cancer treatment often lead to dry mouth, which contributes to cavities and gum disease.

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Before your next appointment with your dentist, it is important to understand the relationship between thyroid health and dental health.
thyroid, dentist, oral, health
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 04:05 PM
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