What if your mouth held secrets that even you didn’t know?
I don’t mean secrets like how often you floss (your dentist can spot this a mile away). I mean secrets like whether you have an iron deficiency, or whether you may have diabetes.
This isn’t just a fantasy – much of your overall health is reflected in your oral health. That’s why dentists are often the first ones to know that you may have other health problems.
Here are seven health problem that your dentist might spot before anyone else.
If you’re stressed, you may find your teeth becoming worn down or chipped, particularly if you’ve been unconsciously grinding or clenching them. If you’ve been doing this in your sleep you may have no idea it’s happening – or that it’s causing damage.
Even if you’re not aware you’re doing this, your dentist can spot the signs. Better still, they can help prevent further damage by fitting a custom nightguard for you to wear while you sleep.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease because they have a decreased ability to fight infections. Unfortunately, serious gum disease can also make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.
If your dentist believes you may have diabetes, they will advise you to visit your doctor for testing. Your dentist may also recommend more frequent dental exams to ensure your gums and mouth are healthy.
Dental x-rays show your teeth and bones, so your dentist can see any decrease in bone density.
Symptoms such as receding gum lines and loose teeth can also indicate underlying problems like osteoporosis, or other serious health problems.
4. Blood Conditions
Blood disorders like anaemia, vitamin B deficiency, oral thrush and fungal infections are often revealed at a dental visit. There are even indicators of HIV.
In fact, iron deficiency may show up in a number of ways such as severe sores, changes in your tongue, painful burning or a smooth tongue. Any of these symptoms may be indicative of vitamin deficiency, or other more serious conditions such as oral cancer. So if your dentist recommends a visit to your GP, be sure to take action.
5. Eating Disorders
If you have signs of acid erosion on the back of your teeth, don’t be surprised if your dentist asks about eating disorders. Bulimia has a very distinct pattern of tooth wear that dentists can identify.
The other causes of similar symptoms include acid reflux or the use of certain medications.
6. Sinus Infections
The roots of your top teeth are in the same area as the floor of your sinuses, so people with sinus infections often believe they need a root canal. Both conditions can show symptoms of pressure and be quite uncomfortable.
If you bend over and touch your toes and notice the pain increases, it’s likely to be sinus related. But if there’s any doubt, it’s best to have it checked by a professional.
7. Heart Problems
Inflamed gums and loose teeth can indicate heart disease because the bacteria in your gums can travel to your heart. This can contribute to coronary artery disease.
In fact, the bacteria may also increase your risk of heart disease by contributing to clots or further plaque build-up in your arteries. This can interfere with blood flow.
Health Problems Only Your Dentist Knows
As with everything health related, prevention is better than cure. Many of these conditions can be reduced if you.
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes
- Floss to clean between your teeth
- Avoid smoking
- Have regular dental check-ups, particularly if you’re pregnant or have diabetes
The Island Dental hygiene team is highly skilled and work together with your dentist to keep you at an optimum level of health. If you have any concerns – or just need a checkup – contact us for an appointment.
We look forward to seeing you soon!