You visit your dentist's office once or twice a year for a cleaning because you know it's important, but did you know that visiting your dentist does more than protect your mouth? Surprisingly, dentists can be the first line of defense in identifying signs of serious diseases. Read on to discover the symptoms dentists are trained to watch for and the variety of diseases they can detect.
If you have loose teeth and gums with lots of inflammation, you most likely have gum disease. Gum disease, unfortunately, is a prime indicator of heart disease because the bacteria in your gums make their way down to your heart where they start heart disease. The bacteria makes it more likely that plaque will start to collect in your arteries and make it difficult for your heart to have good blood flow. Keeping up with your routine dental cleanings can help prevent or manage gum disease and your dentist can let you know if your gums put you at risk for heart disease.
Kidney Disease and Pancreatic Cancer
Kidney disease and pancreatic cancer have been associated with periodontal disease and both are also closely linked with cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease. If you have periodontal disease and inflammation, a blood test may be required to rule out kidney disease or pancreatic as factors. If you already have kidney disease or pancreatic cancer, your dentist will monitor your gums to look for signs of problems.
Diabetes has been closely linked to oral gum health such as bleeding gums and bad breath. Dentists who see mouths that are in poor oral health, may suspect diabetes. Poor oral health can also be a signal of gum disease so dentists who see problems will first try to determine if your oral health is generally good. If it is and you shouldn't be seeing these symptoms, a blood test at your doctor's office will be recommended to check for diabetes. Often times poor oral health shows up before other diabetes symptoms, so it is an important indicator.
A common sign that shows up with leukemia is swollen gums. If you are experiencing swollen gums and periodontal inflammation, your dentist may ask that you have a blood test to rule out leukemia. Leukemia, sadly, does not show many signs in the early stages of the disease so swollen gums and periodontal inflammation need to be taken seriously.
Many patients with Crohn's disease have lesions inside their mouth that are white with red circles. If your dentist sees these types of lesions or ulcers in your mouth but is unable to find any gum-related reason for their appearance, your dentist will point you in the direction of your doctor to look for Crohn's disease.
It's important to visit your dentist for more than just oral care. Your dentist can help you find serious conditions before they progress to another stage or get out of control. Consider making an appointment at Castlebury Dental to keep your teeth, gums and mouth in check as well as the rest of your body.