You might be surprised to hear your dentist tell you that there’s a good possibility you have diabetes. Wait, what? How could your dentist possibly know if you have a medical condition like diabetes? Well, based on your oral health, there are many medical and health-related issues your dentist can determine. It’s astonishing just how interconnected the mouth is with the rest of the body and how it works, but it’s true! When visiting your dentist for your next checkup, it won’t just be your teeth and gums they’re checking. Instead, here are a few other things they might find.
What signs are associated with diabetes? That’s a great question! From loose teeth to dry mouth, to bleeding gums, each of these signs can alert your dentist to the possibility that you might have this condition. Diabetes weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infection caused by harmful bacteria. If plaque and tartar are building around your gum line, it can cause gum disease, and it makes it much more difficult for diabetic patients to heal. But don’t think that just because your gums bleed that you have diabetes. It could be gingivitis or periodontitis, but it’s not a bad idea to talk to your doctor about having your blood glucose levels checked.
Since oral cancer is difficult to treat in the latter stages, early detection is vitally important. During a regular checkup, your dentist will check your neck, mouth, and jaw for any signs or symptoms that could be attributed to oral cancer. Some signs include:
With more than 53,000 cases expected to develop in 2019, it’s imperative that you be checked for early signs. If you smoke, drink heavily, or if you’ve been exposed to HPV (human papillomavirus), your dentist may suggest being checked more frequently, as you are at high risk of developing oral cancer.
If you’re not maintaining a balanced diet, your dentist will be able to tell if your gums bleed, you have dry mouth, or your front teeth show any type of erosion. Your dental professional knows what to look for, and if you have poor nutrition, it doesn’t matter how much you brush and floss your teeth, your oral hygiene habits will be unable to hide it. It’s also obvious if you have an eating disorder because of the stomach acid that wears away at the enamel of your teeth. This happens when forced vomiting occurs, which will not only strip your enamel but cause increased sensitivity.
Do your teeth look a bit more worn? If so, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth at night. Also known as bruxism, it can be brought on by added stress in your life. Whether it’s brought on by work, school, family, finances, or anything else that can cause stress, your dentist may suggest a treatment solution to keep your teeth from wearing down any further. It may also be smart to seek counseling or change some of your lifestyle habits in an effort to relieve stress.
Don’t be afraid of what the dentist might find. Remember, it’s better to find out early than wait until it’s too late. It may require changes to your oral hygiene in order to address some of these issues, but once you are informed of the problem and how to fix it, you can get not only your oral but your overall health back on track.
About the Practice
At Mountain Stream Dental, we know trust is an important part of dental care. Our team of expert professionals and staff are ready to welcome you into a trustworthy, friendly environment where you can be comfortable, at ease, and know that your dental needs are in the best of hands. Not only will you receive high-quality care, but every treatment option will be discussed and explained in a way that you will feel knowledgeable about making the final decision. Contact us at (541) 345-5363 to learn how we can help.