While no one likes to hear their dentist tell them that they have a cavity or some other dental issue that needs to be addressed, a routine exam can reveal a lot about your overall physical health. For instance, worn down enamel could indicate that you are grinding your teeth in your sleep because you are suffering from stress. Receding or swollen gums may be an indicator of diabetes. Mouth sores that never heal may be an indication of an oral cancer. Thus, if you feel you have a mouth ailment that is not subsiding but increasing over time, it is best to schedule an appointment with the dentist.
The reality is that your dentist in Clayton MO as well as a periodontist may notice certain symptoms that you don’t and will tell you if a referral for additional tests or treatment is warranted. Furthermore, they may consult with your primary care physician in order to manage your care and follow-up exams or treatments. There are a number of common conditions that dentists watch out for as they can adversely impact your overall health:
Diabetes – there is a greater chance that someone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes will develop periodontal (gum) disease. The ability of their body to fight off bacterial infections has usually been weakened by the disease. Furthermore, they could have difficulties controlling their blood sugar levels. Your dentist may advise you to see an endocrinologist or your primary care physician to get tested if they are suspicious that you have undiagnosed diabetes.
Heart Disease – if you’ve been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or there is a family history of it, you should inform your dentist since gum (periodontal) disease increase a person’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke. According to a number of research studies, reducing inflammation in the mouth by treating gum disease can significantly lower your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Oral cancer – small red or white sores or spots that appear on the cheek lining, gums, lips, tongue or other areas inside your mouth could be an indication of oral cancer. A Clayton MO dentist as well as a dental hygienist or periodontist will normally include a cancer screening during your routine bi-annual check-up. By scheduling regular visits to the dentist, you increase your chances of catching oral cancer early and treating it.
Stress – if you’ve been clenching or grinding your teeth but weren’t aware of it, your dentist will see indications of this in the form of chipped teeth or worn down enamel. While the condition is referred to as bruxism, it is also an indicator of stress. However, the improper alignment of the lower and upper teeth can cause damage as well. Ask your dentist about mouth guards if he is suspicious of you suffering from stress and clenching or grinding your teeth.