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Medical History Critical to Good Dental Care

One of the more tedious parts of a doctor's visit is filling out a medical history. When that doctor is a dentist, patients may wonder why they must provide information seemingly unrelated to their oral health. In an article on, dental hygienist and educator Amanda Hill explain why that information is both relevant and necessary.

“Simply put, your mouth is connected to the rest of your body,” Hill writes. “There’s not some secret force field somewhere in your throat that separates all that’s happening in your mouth from everything else in your body. . . .

"The CDC estimates that 47 percent of adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease. Well, that periodontal disease could in turn be directly tied to more than a dozen other diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and diabetes. As a clinician, my knowing that you have a disease or a family history of disease helps me help you manage or even avoid that disease. I have seen patients get their diabetes under control and then their gums get healthier as a result, and the inverse can also hold true: We focus on managing patients’ gum disease, and suddenly their diabetes is under control. But I need to know about it, or I can’t provide you with the best care.”

Information sourced by Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, owner of Cariodontal, located at 310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck, NY (516-282-0310 /, and Manhattan Oasis Dentistry, 525 West End Ave., Ste. 1G, New York, NY (212-874-2880 /

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