There is growing evidence to suggest linkages between oral health and overall health, although not all are causative (which is to say, it’s not always easy to tell if oral health issues are to blame for general health issues or vice versa). Dentists can spot more than just gum disease or tooth decay when examining your mouth – these professionals can often see signs of serious health concerns before you or your doctors are aware of them. Here are just a few medical issues your dentist may predict based on your check-up.
When your body isn’t getting adequate nutrients, you’re bound to suffer from a slew of problems, and you won’t be able to hide them from your dentist. Whether a patient simply isn’t ingesting enough nutrients or he/she is purging after meals, dentists can see the signs.
A lack of nutrients could impact development of the oral cavity, reduce capacity for healing after injury or illness, affect the ability to fight infection, and lead to rapid progression of oral diseases like tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis. In addition, purging behaviors related to conditions like bulimia will show in worn enamel, dry mouth, bleeding gums, and other symptoms of stomach acid in the mouth. When the body doesn’t receive adequate nutrients, oral health will suffer.
An infection in the mouth doesn’t necessarily denote an infection in other areas of the body, but certain infections are dangerous for your overall health. When an infection becomes an abscess, which is to say, the infection spreads to the root of the tooth and even into the jaw, it could become a major issue for your general health.
This is because an abscess could enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body, potentially reaching your heart or your brain. Whenever you have a serious infection like an abscess, your dentist will recommend a course of antibiotics and probably a visit to your regular physician for further testing and treatment.
When a dental professional conducts a visual examination during your check-up, one of the things he/she is doing is performing an oral cancer screening. If symptoms like red or white lesions appear, your dentist may suggest further testing, especially if you have risk factors like family history, tobacco use, and so on.
This serious disease can wreak havoc on your body in a number of ways, but your might not realize that symptoms can appear in your mouth. Such symptoms could include dry mouth, bleeding gums, receding gum line, loose teeth, slow healing, and gum disease, among other things. These symptoms could be unrelated to diabetes, but in combination, they may be enough to cause your dentist to suspect diabetes and recommend further testing.