How a Dentistry Can Help You Create a Health History for an Adopted Child
A comprehensive medical and dental history is an important aspect of your child's health. It helps practitioners catch warning signs of a genetic disease more quickly and treat it more accurately. It also helps you understand if your child has a tendency toward a disease and determine early on how you want to approach treatment if the disorder develops. But what if you've adopted a child and they have limited information about their biological family? Regular checkups are even more important in these situations, and dental appointments can help you create a health history for your child.
Dental Health Is an Indicator of Overall Health
Seeing a pediatrician and a family dentist regularly will give physicians the opportunity to monitor an adopted child for genetic disorders. Equally important, however, is the use of dental health to indicate a person's overall health. Using this information, a partial health history can be created for your child. Oral problems such as periodontitis (gum disease) can indicate complications in other areas, including:
- Diabetes: Diabetics have difficulty fighting infection, and are therefore more prone to gum disease. When Type 2 Diabetes is out of control, oral health is one of the first indicators.
- Eating Disorders: Feelings of insecurity, battles with depression, or the emotional swings of bipolarity can all lead to developing an eating disorder. While you might not realize your child is struggling with depression, the dentist might detect signs of an eating disorder, such as bad breath, rotting teeth, and sore gums from purging. You can then look into the disorder's underlying cause and seek proper treatment.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects different joints and tissues. There is evidence that the same trigger for rheumatoid arthritis could affect oral tissues and cause gum disease.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease is marked by flare-ups in the tissue. These flare-ups might also affect oral tissue and cause damage in the mouth.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease which can affect any bone in the body. Diminishing jaw density and weakened teeth can indicate that osteoporosis is present elsewhere in the body, as well.
Begin a Health History for Future Generations
If you adopted a child and don't have a comprehensive health history, you can begin one for future generations. You should keep a record of any tendencies that have been noted by a professional, as well. Although it may seem years away, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren shouldn't have to start from scratch or play the same guessing games as you did in order to compile a medical history. If your child develops a medical condition, helpful information to organize includes:
- Diagnosis: One disease can manifest itself in many ways. For example, some seizures are easily recognized because the person physically convulses; others are subtle memory lapses that can be harder to detect. Take notes on what symptoms your child displayed and which tests led to the diagnosis.
- Progression: How did the disease progress? Were there sudden changes or gradual developments? Write down any triggers you discovered, such as food, weather patterns, or sleep habits.
- Treatment: Keep track of different medications prescribed. Which were most effective? Which made little difference? Were any detrimental to your child? Although the next generation might respond differently to treatments, they will have a general idea of what to expect and might be able to find an effective method more quickly with this information.
Dentistry is about more than keeping your child's teeth white, it is about detecting problems with overall health. If your child was adopted, checkups are even more important to help you fill in any missing blanks about his or her health history. For further assistance, contact resources like Kyle J Frisinger DMD.