Your mouth has a lot to say about you. Visiting the dentist can not only keep your teeth and gums healthy, it can also give you some early warning signs of other potential health issues that could be cropping up. The mouth has ways of alerting you to a variety of illnesses that might be present throughout your body. Here are five serious health problems that your dentist can spot the next time you get a full check up.
There has been evidence of direct links between the health of your mouth and the well-being of your heart. Some of the most common indicators of heart disease are swollen gums and loose teeth since the bacteria that cause many forms of gum disease can also lead to problems with your heart. That same bacteria can travel to your arteries and promote infection and plaque.
Ever wake up with a headache after a long night’s sleep? It’s likely from grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist can tell if you have this problem based on the visual signs of excessive wear and tear on the teeth or tiny fractures that are visible when investigated up close. You may need a custom fit mouth guard to prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw.
Gum disease can be an early warning sign of diabetes as infections along the gum line are evidence that the body is having trouble controlling blood sugar levels. Additional indicators are also bleeding gums and loose teeth and routine cleanings can help you fight gum disease, which is a serious health concern for diabetic patients.
Dry mouth is not only potentially damaging to teeth and gums it can also cause bad breath. When you’re not producing enough saliva you’re unable to clean out leftover food particles and other bacteria from your teeth and gums. Dry mouth symptoms can come about as a result of taking certain medications or point to a larger health issues like Parkinson’s disease or diabetes.
Your dentist can tell if you are having nighttime reflux by looking at the enamel on the insides of your teeth. If it’s beginning to erode, particularly at the back molars, you may be dealing with gastroesophageal reflux. This can also lead to even worse problems such as erosion of the esophagus and esophageal cancer.