Learn what your dentist can tell about your overall health.
“Your mouth is the front door to your body.” You’ll hear this a lot around here at The Dental Medical Convergence. There’s much truth in that statement. Think about it: Do you like the front door and entryway of your home to be littered with trash and dirt? Probably not. One of the first things people probably notice about you is your smile. That’s your front door. It’s not about having perfect, straight and clean teeth – it’s about having a healthy mouth. That one thing can tell a lot about what’s going on inside the rest of your body.
Studies show poor oral health is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, other chronic issues – the list goes on and on.
Here’s what your dentist and doctor can tell about your overall health based on your oral health:
- Your dentist can tell if you have gum disease.
Just because you don’t have any cavities doesn’t mean your mouth is healthy. Oftentimes, people think they’re OK because they have no pain in their mouth. They may put off a visit to the dentist because of this. But, you can have gum disease and not even know it. During a routine dental exam, your dentist will be able to tell if you have gum disease. Gum disease can increase your risk of serious health problems, including heart attacks, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic diseases.
- Your dentist can detect early signs of cancer.
Dental exams are also critical for detecting and preventing oral diseases such as cancer. Your dentist will check your mouth and throat for signs of cancer during the exam. A regular exam – every six months – gives your dentist a chance to monitor any changes in your mouth. The American Cancer Society reports that 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer this year. Of those diagnosed with the disease, 11,230 people will die. That’s why early detection can be life saving.
- Your dentist can tell if you have nutritional deficiencies.
If your body isn’t getting enough essential vitamins and minerals, it will show in our mouth. You may have conditions such as burning mouth syndrome, bleeding gums, or oral infections. Your dentist should be able to tell if you have an iron deficiency based on sores inside your mouth. Bleeding, red gums and no tartar can mean you have a vitamin C deficiency. Your dentist can help you come up with a more balanced diet or identify certain foods that will help you lead a healthier life.
- Your bad breath is a sign of something bigger.
You might think your bad breath is the result of coffee or something you ate, but it can indicate a bigger health issue. Your dentist can decipher what the smell in your mouth could mean. A fruity smell could be a warning that you have high blood sugar or diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes. If your breath smells like ammonia, it could mean you have a kidney condition. If your dentist notices one of these distinct smells, they will refer you to a doctor. The number one reason people have bad breath is gum disease, which can have serious consequences.
These are just a few of the ways a dentist can help you stay healthy. It’s not just about oral health. It’s about linking any problems in the mouth to your body so you can prevent bigger health complications. Remember to properly clean your teeth at home and visit a dentist on a regular basis so you can maintain your overall health.