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Health conditions your Dentist can spot

There are numerous serious health conditions your Dentist can spot at a dental check-up that you may not have realised.

They say your eyes are the window to your soul, however your teeth and gums say a mouthful about your physical health!

During a routine dental check-up, a good dentist can spot a wide range of potential medical problems regarding your overall health, not just the condition of your teeth, gums and mouth.

Heart Conditions

Gum disease and loose or missing teeth can be a warning sign of heart disease. The bacteria in the mouth formed because of gum disease such as periodontitis can in some instances travel to the heart and lead to the formation of clots or plaque build-up within your arteries, which in turn impacts the blood flow to the heart resulting in heart issues.
Treating the gum disease can lower the risk of stroke or heart attack.

Anaemia

This is a condition where a persons red blood cell count is down leading to tiredness, shortness of breath and a weakened immune system.
Key indications of Anaemia can be if the lining of the mouth is very pale (light pink) or the tongue surface is smooth instead of a bumpy texture.

health conditions your dentist can spot-heart condition
health conditions your dentist can spot - Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health threats in Australia, it is estimated that more than one million people are living with this condition.
Dry mouth can signal the possible onset of diabetes, symptoms like frequent gum abscesses, bone loss in a short amount of time, and gum disease that doesn’t respond to normal treatment can also be a sign of diabetes.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease because they have a decreased ability to fight bacterial infections such as those that occur in the mouth.

If your dentist suspects that you may have diabetes, they will advise you to go to your doctor for testing. Also, if you are a diabetic your dentist can tell if your blood sugar level is not good because gum disease becomes more difficult to treat.

Often it is recommended if you have a history of diabetes and gum disease that you have more frequent dental examinations and hygiene visits

Stress and Anxiety

A patient may have teeth that are worn down or chipped due to unconsciously grinding or clenching them (known as bruxism). The constant grinding can cause bone loss that your dentist may detect on your X-rays.

Bruxism unfortunately is often an unwanted by product of stress / anxiety. If the condition continues over a prolonged period, it causes the enamel to wear down on teeth, which in turn lead to increased sensitivity, infection and sometimes tooth loss or worse gum disease

To prevent further damage to your teeth and help your jaw muscles relax, your dentist can fit you with a custom-made mouth guard to wear while you sleep.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders such as bulimia in many cases are picked up by Dentists due to the erosion on the inside of the teeth because of forced vomiting. The stomach acid that is brought up when vomiting slowly wears away the tooth enamel and makes teeth weaker and sensitive.
Other signs are bleeding gums and dry mouth due to the lack of key minerals and vitamins and a poor nutrition.

health conditions your Dentist can spot - Stress
health conditions your dentist can spot-HIV

Oral Cancer

As part of a routine dental examination your dentist will usually screen for oral cancer. scheduling regular check-ups increases the chances that any potentially precancerous or cancerous lesions will be caught early enough to be successfully treated.

The first sign of oral cancer is slight discoloration where tissues look whiter or redder than normal, often taking place at the back of the throat. They may also appear in any part of the mouth such as gums, tongue, lips, etc.

Note: If you smoke or regularly consume alcohol there is a higher risk for developing oral cancer, therefore it is recommended to visit the dentist more frequently in these cases.

HIV

Possible indicators of HIV are enlarged tonsils, oral thrush infection, ulcers and severe gum disease.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is characterized by the weakening of our bones, it is most common in post-menopausal women. Osteoporosis doesn’t cause changes in the teeth; however, it does make changes in the bone that supports those teeth such as a receding gum line or loose teeth.

If there is a decrease in your bone density your dentist will pick this up with a Dental x-ray.
Should your Dentist pick up any oral signs of osteoporosis please let your local doctor know immediately.

Sinus Infections

Because the roots of the top teeth are positioned in the same area as the floor of the sinuses, A sinus infection can be mistaken for a toothache. Both symptoms contain a feeling of pressure and feel uncomfortable to painful.

A simple test you can do is to bend over and touch your toes, if the pain or pressure increases it is most likely to be a sinus infection and you should see your local doctor before going to a dentist.

health conditions your dentist can spot - Sinus Infection

More health conditions that your Dentist can spot:

health conditions your dentist can spot - Crohns Disease

Crohn’s Disease

Your Dentist will see raised bumps on the gums around your teeth. This is because the inflammation that affects the intestines of people with Crohn’s disease can also affect their mouths and the classic sign is raised bumps on the gums.

In most cases a topical corticosteroid can calm the inflammation within the mouth. However, you will need to see a gastroenterologist to find out what is going on in your gut.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is an autoimmune condition that can affect adults as well as the young. Symptoms are jaw swelling, aching jaw and not being able to open your mouth properly.

Premature and Low Birth Weights

Around 50% of women who get pregnant will have some form of a gum condition such as bleeding gums, gingivitis, etc that is partly caused by hormonal changes, which makes your gums more sensitive to the bacteria in plaque.

Studies undertaken of pregnant women who have a serious gum disease (periodontitis) are more likely to deliver a premature baby of low birth weight.

Therefore, women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should book in for a dental check-up and if necessary get treatment for gum disease as early as possible.

Iron Deficiency

Signs are burning tongue syndrome, bleeding gums, small papillae falling off the tongue or severe sores that develop in the corners of the mouth. Usually Iron supplements will remedy the deficiency.

health conditions your Dentist can spot - Pregnancy

Summary

Hopefully from the above list you can see how important regular visits are to your dentist, not only for your oral health, but for your overall general wellbeing too. 🙂

The next time you are thinking about perhaps putting off that dental check-up; stop and think, as visiting your dentist could not only save your teeth – it could just possibly save your life…

At “The Dental Junction” we genuinely want our patients to enjoy a long and healthy life. We encourage and educate our patients in developing life-long habits for a clean and healthy smile. If you happen to live on the Sunshine Coast (Noosa) give us a call on 07 5473 5117 or contact us via the Website to book a dental appointment today.

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