We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your dentist can understand your overall health just by looking in your mouth!
Men’s Health wrote an article revealing six serious health conditions your dentist can discover during a routine teeth cleaning.
- Your dentist notices less spit in your mouth (dry mouth) which is an indicator of a hidden case of diabetes. You may not realize your mouth is dryer, but your dentist’s trained eye can spot it much sooner. If your dentist notices this, make an appointment to see your primary care doctor for a physical and blood glucose check.
- Acid Reflux. Your dentist observes erosion on your bottom teeth. Gastric acid has a pH of 1.5, and any substance with a pH of 5.5 or lower can eat away at your tooth enamel. If your dentist sees this, schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist.
- Crohn’s Disease. Your dentist will likely see raised bumps (similar looking to cobblestones) on the gums around your teeth. Inflammation that strikes the intestines of a person with Crohn’s disease can also affect their mouths. These bumps are not painful, which means you may not even be aware of them prior to your dentist telling you. You should see a gastroenterologist for an evaluation of what’s happening in your gut.
- Heart Disease. This is a biggie, folks! With Heart disease, your dentist will notice gum or periodontal disease in a person who doesn’t fit the profile, likely a young person or someone who brushes frequently. Swollen, red gums that bleed are signs that your mouth will show. You should discuss with your dentist about treating the dental part of the disease with a deep cleaning. Then visit your primary care physician to discuss your heart risks.
- Discolorations where tissues look whiter or redder than normal could be indicative of an oral cancer. If your dentist notices this, they’ll most likely ask you to come back in a week to see if anything has changed. If it hasn’t, get a biopsy. Early detection is key.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. Your dentist will notice jaw swelling, and you’ll likely feel pain as well. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur in young people. If your dentist believes you may have RA, talk with your primary care physician or the medical specialist known as a Rheumatologist. They can diagnose and treat the condition.