Your dentist does more than just clean your teeth. Oftentimes, your dentist may be the first to recognize a serious health issue because, in some conditions, oral symptoms may present themselves before other symptoms become apparent. Here are seven of the major health issues your dentist is on the lookout for:
Reduced saliva production is a red flag for diabetes. While you will notice if you’re experiencing dry mouth (and if you do, you should see a dentist as soon as possible), you might not notice reduced saliva production in the early stages. Chronic bad breath can also be a sign of diabetes, one which your dentist can help identify.
2. Oral Cancer
Discoloration in your mouth or throat can result from certain types of oral cancer, and this discoloration is something your dentist will likely be the first to see, making dental checkups the first line of defense against oral cancers.
3. Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can result in tooth erosion due to gastric acid entering your mouth. Even without obvious symptoms like the sensation of heartburn or sore throats, tooth erosion, particularly in the bottom teeth, can occur in cases of acid reflux.
4. Rheumatoid Arthritis
TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) is a dysfunction of the joint in the jaw, leading to pain and limited movement of the jaw. It is an issue in and of itself, but it may also be a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis; half of the people who suffer from early-onset rheumatoid arthritis suffer from TMJ, as well.
5. Heart Disease
Periodontal disease (again, a serious issue in its own right) can indicate potential heart disease, especially in someone who has good oral hygiene and has risk factors for heart disease such as obesity, family history, etc.
If you have osteoporosis, your dentist may notice bone loss in your jaw and other bone structures surrounding your mouth and teeth.
7. Crohn’s Disease
Those suffering from Crohn’s disease may have small bumps on their gums near their teeth. The bumps may seem benign and cause little or no pain, but they’re caused by the same inflammation that affects the intestines of those with Crohn’s disease.
Getting regular dental checkups is about more than having beautiful teeth; it’s about ensuring you stay healthy and that serious health concerns like those mentioned above are caught early on. Make sure you stay on top of your health by seeing your dentist at least twice a year, or per your dentist’s recommendation.
Missed your last few checkups? Get back on track today! At Mogren Dental, you can schedule your own appointment online, or give our office a call!