Dental Exams Reveal Non-Dental Medical Issues, Too

Woman getting a dental checkupRegular visits to the dentist are important when you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy. But did you know that these appointments are also crucial for maintaining your overall health? Dentists can spot symptoms of non-medical issues manifesting in your mouth while conducting a checkup. It could result in the early diagnosis of diseases like oral cancer, diabetes, infections, and even stress.

Oral Infections

Dental exams also reveal signs of infection in your mouth. Some patients experience oral infections due to trauma in the mouth or as a side-effect of a recent dental procedure. Signs of infection usually include swelling, severe pain, drainage from the tooth or wound, and redness around the affected area.

The severest infection cases can spread to the other parts of the body, including your heart and lungs.

Diabetes

Your oral health’s condition can also indicate signs of diabetes. Symptoms of this condition are dry mouth, loose teeth, and receding and bleeding gums. Poor immunity is also a symptom, and it poses a challenge for diabetic patients; the body’s inability to fight diseases result in the slower healing of oral wounds and gum line infections.

Experiencing bleeding gums, however, doesn’t mean you have diabetes. It is also a symptom of gingivitis and other gum diseases. Still, these early warning signs will encourage your dentist to recommend visiting a physician for blood glucose checks.

Stress

A stressful day at work triggers the body’s stress response, which could manifest in your mouth.

One of the most common symptoms of stress is bruxism (also known as teeth grinding). Some people only grind their teeth during stressful situations. If the extra pressure affects them on a subconscious level, however, it becomes a habit that occurs during sleep.

Teeth grinding damages your pearly whites, so your local Stafford, VA dentist will recommend using customized night guards before you sleep. Lifestyle changes and stress management counseling can also improve your response to pressure.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders and the nutritional deficiencies that go with it also manifest signs in the mouth. Dentists can immediately recognize bulimic patients just by looking at the state of their teeth, for instance. Individuals who habitually force vomit have compromised enamel, resulting in increased teeth sensitivity.

Apart from erosion on the insides of the front teeth, bleeding gums and dry mouth give away patients with eating disorders.

Oral Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society’s 2018 estimates, about 51,540 will suffer from oropharyngeal or oral cavity cancer. Together with healthy lifestyle practices, regular dental checkups can still lessen this number.

A visit to the dentist once or twice a year can reveal signs of oral cancer, such as white or red lesions on the floor of the mouth, tongue, or palate, early. When caught in time, the cancer has a higher cure rate (90%).

Regular dental care does not just keep your teeth and gums in good shape; it does the same for your body, too. Keep your body and teeth in good condition always with help from your local dentists in Stafford. Get in touch with us today and schedule your next appointment.