Here are 9 Surprising Health Issues Your Dentist May Discover During a Checkup
Even though it may be the last thing that you want to do, the truth is that going to the dentist for your regular six month checkup benefits you in more ways than the obvious one of trying to keep your teeth well into your golden years. In fact, the inside of your mouth holds many health secrets that may just save you a lot of future pain if they’re noticed soon enough.
9 Surprising Health Issues Your Dentist May Discover During a Checkup
You see, even though dentists are educated and trained to keep your teeth and gums healthy, they also know that your mouth (and everything in it) may just reveal signs of some major health issues before you even realize you have them. Here are nine of the most common health issues that your dental provider may notice during a regular dental checkup:
Health Issue #1: Circulation Problems
If you have gums that are red, swollen and sore, it may be a sign that you have gum disease which is associated with a greater risk of heart disease or stroke. The reason, according to WebMD, is that bacteria that starts in your oral cavity can get into your blood. If it does, then it may set off a chain reaction of inflammation which allows major diseases to take hold of you.
Health Issue #2: Anemia
If your gums are sore and pale, you may have anemia which is when you don’t have enough red blood cells. Or, you may have plenty but they lack the necessary amount of hemoglobin. Basically it means that your cells aren’t getting enough oxygen for your body to function efficiently. Additional oral symptoms of anemia may include your tongue bulging or having a smoother than normal surface.
Health Issue #3: Leukemia
If your dentist notices that your gums are extremely red and inflamed or spongy, or if they bleed easily, he or she may be concerned about leukemia, which is when your body produces excessive abnormal white blood cells. This interferes with the production of the red blood cells your body needs to carry oxygen, resulting in clotting and infection related issues.
Health Issue #4: Pregnancy
Did you know that if air blowing on your gums causes them to bleed, it could mean that you’re pregnant? Also, on a side note, statistics show that if you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with gum disease, there’s a greater likelihood that your baby will be born prematurely and underweight.
Health Issue #5: Gastric Disorders
When the enamel on your teeth is majorly eroded, a gastric disorder could be an underlying cause. If the acids from your stomach are repeatedly forced back into your mouth, it strips the enamel away and leaves your teeth unprotected. In addition to gastric disorders, the lack of this protective shield could also signal that someone has an eating disorder such as bulimia (which is when someone throws up purposely after they eat).
Health Issue #6: Diabetes
Foul breath, a dry mouth and gums that either bleed or recede can all be symptoms of major blood sugar issues. If you have diabetes and don’t control your blood sugar, you have a higher risk of developing gum disease. And, in turn, those with gum disease have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar. So, proper dental care and regulation of blood sugar go hand in hand.
Health Issue #7: Cancer
According to the Cleveland Clinic, if you have white sores and spots located in your mouth that aren’t healing, it could indicate that you have oral cancer. Additional symptoms may include rough patches in and around your oral area, bleeding for no apparent reason and a change in the way your top teeth fit your bottom (as in your bite).
Health Issue #8: AIDS
A person with AIDS may experience warts in their oral cavity, fever blisters, patches that are white or gray inside their mouth or oral thrush. Additionally, AIDS carriers may suffer from a dry mouth which may cause its own dental issues, such as tooth decay.
Health Issue #9: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Statistics suggest that a person that suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is eight times more likely to be diagnosed with gum disease than someone that doesn’t have this diagnosis. Both conditions are characterized by inflammation and infection, making them a stronger force to deal with when they’re working together.
These are just some of the health issues that your dentist may become privy to before you even realize there is a problem. That’s part of the reason why regular dental checkups are so important to not only the health of your teeth, but your total health overall.
Proper Dental Hygiene
The links between the symptoms that manifest themselves in your mouth and any apparent medical conditions aren’t always well-known. However, proper dental care and a healthy body appear to go hand in hand.
So, what can you do to take care of your mouth as much as you can between checkups to keep yourself as healthy as possible?
- Brush your teeth every morning and every night with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- As far as the toothbrush you use, choose one with a soft bristle. Also, make sure you replace it quarterly so it works as effectively as possible. Electric ones seem to work the best at removing buildup and getting into the tiny spaces between your teeth and around your gum line, so if that is an option for you then you might want to take it.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well. It carries a lot of germs and bacteria so removing them regularly is good for you.
- Floss at least once daily; more if you feel like you have something stuck between your teeth.
Don’t neglect your bi-annual appointment with your dental provider. Your health may depend on it.