As you already know, your dentist’s main concern is the health of your smile, but they also look for abnormalities that could indicate a medical condition elsewhere in the body. Your oral health and general health have a lot more in common than you may think, so there are all sorts of medical issues that your dentist could be the first to find. Continue reading to learn about the different things that your dentist could discover during dental checkups.
Anemia is incredibly common. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that anemia affects about 1.62 billion people across the globe. That is 24.8% of the world’s population! This is a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells in circulation. This can be detected by your dentist because a few of the symptoms occur in the mouth. Anemia can cause the lining of the mouth to appear pale and the tongue to lose its bumpy texture.
This digestive condition can affect many areas of the body, including your mouth. Some of the oral symptoms include swollen lips and dime-sized ulcers on the inside of the cheeks. They are white in the center with a red halo around them. If your dentist notices these signs and suspects that you could have Crohn’s disease, they will probably recommend that you have the issue checked out by your family doctor.
Gum disease and diabetes are often related. Even though poor oral hygiene is usually the factor that contributes to gum disease the most, having high blood sugar can worsen infections in the mouth and elsewhere in the body. If your dentist notices inflammation, gum recession, bleeding, or wiggly teeth, this could be the perpetrator. They may recommend a blood test from your primary care doctor.
This condition doesn’t tend to have very many symptoms. In fact, many people don’t realize that they have it until they fracture a bone or take a bone density test. However, your dentist may be able to notice it if you are experiencing jawbone shrinkage. This could mean that you have a loss of density elsewhere in the body as well due to this condition.
Do you have painful, swollen, or bleeding gums? This could mean heart disease! This certainly isn’t always the case, but gum disease can put your at risk for coronary artery disease and heart disease. This can happen when bacteria from the mouth travels to the heart and form blood clots or build up plaque in your arteries.
Dental checkups are necessary for optimal oral hygiene. However, there is more to them than just that. When you see your dentist on a regular basis, you never know what you may figure out. It may even save your life.