Wilshire Smile Studio believes in enlightenment. We also believe that good oral health is directly linked to good overall health, which is why today’s blog is about thyroid awareness month, a month about a part of your body that you probably don’t even think about!

If you were to take a look around wherever you’re at and ask just about any person you run into what they think a pink ribbon means, you will likely get a correct answer or something in the ballpark. They will tell you it has something to do with breast cancer, and they would be correct.

Obviously, this topic is of huge import. But other important conditions and areas of the body should get a similar amount of love, especially your thyroid. You wouldn’t know what a blue ribbon stands for, would you? Have you even heard of the thyroid? If so, how much do you actually know about thyroid disease?

More than 30 million people in the US have thyroid disorders, yet more than half remain undiagnosed and untreated. That means that over 50% of people with thyroid problems don’t even know they have thyroid problems. Thyroid disease is actually even more common than diabetes and heart disease. Is that news to you? How about this one: thyroid disease is even more prevalent and common than breast cancer! We’ll go one step further. Thyroid disease is more prevalent than all forms of cancer combined.

Now you’re probably wondering why Wilshire Smile Studio is worried about thyroid awareness because thyroid disease is not in our repertoire of treatments. But, would you believe us if we told you that there is a link between thyroid disease and periodontal (gum) disease?

Yes, thyroid disease is directly linked to Periodontitis.

So What Happens With Thyroid Disease?

Your thyroid is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of your neck that produces thyroid hormones. These types of hormones are important because they influence how all of your surrounding bodily cells, organs, and tissues function. Organs like your heart, liver, kidney, and brain, they all depend on the precise amount of thyroid hormone to do execute their purposes properly and effectively.

Thyroid dysfunction can occur when your thyroid produces either an excess or a lack of thyroid hormone. This will end up disrupting the functionality of other aspects of your body. If your thyroid makes too much hormone, that’s called hyperthyroidism. If it isn’t producing enough hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. The thyroid can also develop lumps called nodules, which are usually noncancerous, but in some cases can be cancerous. They can also affect the sound of your voice.

It’s not easy to know when your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, which is perhaps one of the prevailing reasons that so many cases remain undiagnosed. Symptoms of thyroid dysfunction might include fatigue, sudden and unexplained weight change (loss or gain), anxiety, and moodiness. Thyroid disease does not discriminate, it can affect anyone at any point in their lives. But it just so happens that women are five times more likely than men to suffer from thyroid disease.

Your thyroid is also the major regulator of metabolism in your body. It affects all of your bodily functions, and thyroid dysfunction is the second most common glandular disorder of the endocrine system. This can make its presence known in any system in the body, including the mouth. Your oral cavity will be adversely affected by either an excess or deficiency of your thyroid hormones.

Wilshire Smile Studio would like to give you the good news, though. Once a thyroid condition is properly diagnosed, it can be successfully treated. After proper treatment, you’ll be able to live a healthy lifestyle again. A part of Thyroid Awareness Month is to (drum roll…) raise awareness! We’d like it if no case of thyroid disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated.

How Regular Dental Screenings Can Help:

It’s important for us to stress regular screenings for periodontal disease, which, as we mentioned earlier, is a precursor to thyroid disease. Good oral health is important to your overall health in so many ways that we only now discovering. Regular monitoring and prevention of periodontitis are directly linked to the prevention of systemic conditions like Thyroid Disease. So schedule and keep your regular dental check-ups whether you have periodontal disease or not, because it could save you from costly medical expenses down the road.

Wear a Blue Ribbon for Thyroid Awareness!

You can show your support this month by wearing a blue paisley ribbon during January, which is Thyroid Awareness Month. Or, you can also show your support by wearing a paisley garment. Think St. Patrick’s Day, except it’s St. Paisley’s Month, to be more precise.

Blue Paisley probably isn’t going to reach “pink” awareness levels anytime soon, but it’s a start for us. Wilshire Smile Studio wants people to know what their thyroid is and does, and we want them to be aware if there is a problem with their thyroid. Together, we can make each other lives better one thyroid at a time. So, if we don’t see you wearing something Paisley this month when you visit Wilshire Smile Studio, then you’re going to get pinched. Okay, maybe not. But just maybe wear some paisley anyway.

Above all, especially if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Wilshire Smile Studio for an oral health evaluation and periodontal assessment today.