Visiting the dentist regularly is a great way to catch oral health issues before they become severe, but did you know that your dentist can predict othermedical issues just by looking at your teeth? Certain illnesses, such as heart disease or diabetes, can come with symptoms that show up in your mouth.
Our Jenison, MI family dentists can help detect these health problems during your routine dental checkup. Here are 5 medical conditions that can first manifest as oral symptoms.
Detecting Medical Conditions with Dental Care
1. Heart Disease
Many patients with heart disease are also diagnosed with gum disease. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you are at higher risk for gum-borne bacteria being able to enter the bloodstream and flow into your heart.
If you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, you’ll want to let our dentists know so he can better monitor the condition of your teeth and gums. If you have coronary artery disease, the last thing you need is dental plaque traveling through your arteries.
People with diabetes are often vulnerable to infection, which is why they may have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by untreated plaque buildup on your teeth and gums and can develop into the more serious periodontal disease. While gingivitis can be reversed by adopting a healthy oral hygiene routine and having teeth professionally cleaned, periodontitis is a life-long condition.
As we get older, the bones in our body may weaken from what is called osteoporosis.is a condition that causes your bones to get brittle, which is why many elderly people may break a bone after a slip and fall. Our dentists may be able to spot the signs of osteoporosis in your smile, which includes loose teeth and receding gums caused by tissue loss.
4. Oral Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates over 50,000 Americans will get oral or throat cancer by the end of the year. Thankfully, oral cancer screenings are designed to catch in its early stages so you have the best chance of survival.
You are at higher risk for getting mouth cancer if you have a history of using tobacco products or abusing alcohol, which is why it’s important you fill out an accurate medical history for us. During your routine dental exam, our dentist will be able to do an oral cancer screening and check the inside of your mouth for suspicious patches or lumps.
5. Eating Disorders
While people with eating disorders are obviously aware of their actions, they may hide their symptoms from family members and medical professionals. Unfortunately, this means that many people with eating disorders don’t get the help they need.
During a dentist appointment, a dentist should be able to catch the signs of an eating disorder by the loss of tooth enamel on the insides of front teeth. A person with an eating disorder may also experience sensitive teeth, bleeding gums, and dry mouth.
If you recognize any of the above symptoms, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with our dentists or your primary care physician as soon as possible. This blog post is in no way meant to take the place of seeing a medical professional.
Our family dentists in Jenison, MI, want to help you maintain a healthy smile through preventive dentistry. To schedule your next teeth cleaning with Drs. McMahon and McMahon, call McMahon Family Dental at (616) 457-2710.