Non-Dental Medical Issues Your Dentist May Discover
You may not realize it, but your mouth can say a lot about your general health and well-being. Therefore, your dentist may be able to pick up on signs of non-dental medical issues during your dental exam.
Here are 7 diseases and conditions that exhibit signs in your mouth:
Loose teeth, dry mouth, or receding, dry, and bleeding gums are all potential signs of diabetes, and may encourage you to visit your physician for a blood glucose check. Another sign stems from a diabetics weaker immune system and difficulty fighting infection. A wound or gum line infection in the mouth would take longer to heal in diabetic patients.
Signs of infection include severe pain, swelling, redness, tightness, hot to touch, fevers, and drainage from the wound or tooth. A dentist will immediately prescribe an antibiotic to kill the infection and stop it from spreading to other parts of the body, such as the lungs and heart. If you have been experiencing lung or heart issues, your dentist may be able to identify that it stems from an infection in the mouth.
When you visit your dentist, he or she can look for signs such as red and white lesions on the floor of your mouth, palate, or the tongue. If these signs are present, your dentist can perform a cancer screening. Patients who heavily drink alcohol, smoke, or have been exposed to human papillomavirus (HPV) are at greater risk of developing oral cancer.
Children infected with HIV are prone to oral lesions and viruses, such as herpes simplex, herpes zoster, HPV, and oral candidiasis. Adults with HIV can develop oral warts, lesions, white, red, purple, or brown spots on the tongue or in the mouth, and other infections. These symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have HIV, although a dentist who spots one or more of these signs might recommend seeing your physician for a blood test.
Your body can respond to stress in many different ways, some of which can manifest in your mouth. A common physical manifestation of stress is teeth grinding. The grinding might happen subconsciously or in your sleep. Your dentist may recommend a customized night guard to protect your teeth. Individuals who grind their teeth can also look at ways to change their lifestyle and manage their stress more efficiently to prevent teeth grinding.
Patients with eating disorders or poor nutrition are not able to hide their condition from a dentist. A professional knows that signs of dry mouth, bleeding gums, and erosion on the insides of the front teeth point to dietary conditions, such as bulimia.
Your dentist may notice signs, such as loose teeth or a receding gum line, which can indicate changes in the bone tissue that supports your teeth. A lose in bone support in the mouth can be an indication of osteoporosis. Especially if you are at high risk for osteoporosis, your dentist may refer you back to your physician for a bone density test.
Regular dental visits not only keep your mouth healthy, but also allow a professional to catch dental and non-dental problems early. Discovering signs of a condition in its early stages increases the chances of a successful recovery.