When looking into your mouth, a dentist can identify many things about the condition of your health. In fact, he or she may even be able to tell you about health problems that you are not even aware of yet. By making regular dental visits, the information gained from a visit could help you get advance treatment before the problem becomes serious.
Even though you may not know it, if you have short teeth that appear to have the points ground down, you are grinding your teeth. You may do it consciously or unconsciously. This can lead to chipped or cracked teeth.
Teeth grinding can also point to a problem with sleep apnea. Other symptoms include being tired all the time, having trouble concentrating, snoring, and more. Sleep apnea is a potentially fatal problem because your irregular breathing while sleeping is reducing the oxygen levels in your heart and other organs. This can kill parts of those organs.
The only way you can be sure whether you have sleep apnea or not is to get a sleep test. Once diagnosed, and the level of severity determined, a dentist can help you get a better night’s sleep.
By looking at your teeth, a dentist can tell if you have prediabetes or diabetes. While they cannot tell you what your blood sugar levels are by looking in your mouth, they can see symptoms that likely indicate you have a problem with blood sugar levels. If they see inflammation of your gums, thrush, tooth decay, and ulcers, it all points to diabetes.
If your teeth bleed when you brush or when you floss, you have gingivitis. Although this is the early stage of gum disease, it is important to eliminate it while you can. This can usually be done by brushing twice a day and flossing.
One problem that dentists see often is gum disease. The CDC states that as many as 47.2 percent of adults over 30 have the more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Periodontitis is caused by oral bacteria that get into your gums and causes an immune reaction. The resulting inflammation and bacteria combination will then travel through your bloodstream and cause buildups in your blood vessels and arteries (cardiovascular disease) and buildups in your organs, too. This can lead to many health problems – and a definitely shorter life.
If you have a dry mouth, which means a lack of saliva, the dentist will be able to tell. Since saliva helps to wash away the bacteria and acid from your teeth, the presence of more cavities than usual and worse cases of periodontal disease likely indicates diabetes or Parkinson’s. It could also be caused by some medications.
The dentist may see that your teeth enamel has been eroded on the inside. The erosion will be more noticeable on the inside of your front teeth and on your upper molars. When you have GERD, the erosion is caused by stomach acid coming up into your mouth while you sleep and sitting there for long periods. This situation needs to be treated because it can lead to esophageal cancer.
When the teeth are eroded on the inside of the teeth, it may also indicate an eating disorder. The erosion comes from forced vomiting.
Sores in Your Mouth
There are many causes of mouth sores, but the presence of canker sores is often caused by nutritional deficiencies. A lack of iron, B-12, or folic acid can produce them. Things like stress, allergies, and hormones may also produce them. They may also be early signs of oral cancer.
A sudden increase in the number of cavities you have could easily indicate a lack of sufficient nutrition. Malnutrition can cause a weak immune system in your gums enabling the bacteria that produce cavities and gum disease to produce more acid – and thinner enamel with holes in it causing cavities.
If you have a white coating on your tongue, it means you have oral thrush. While this problem is often seen in babies and denture wearers, it could also indicate you have diabetes. The bacteria causing the thrush feeds on the sugar in your bloodstream – which can make it hard to eradicate. The dentist can help you with some medications, and you can help remove it by consuming less sugar.
Making regular dental appointments can help you stay in better overall health, and the dentist can help identify health problems. Once they are identified, the dentist can also help you control them.
Regular dental visits are essential to good dental health and to your overall health. Preventing gum disease is necessary for your health because it can damage your beautiful smile and overall health. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, MS, MBA, FDSRCS, a Board Certified Periodontist, can provide preventive dentistry and regular checkups for all members of the family. His dental offices are in the Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Mockingbird/SMU and Grapevine, TX areas and they accept most dental health plans.