You may think that your regular checkups with your dentist in Columbia is all about your teeth, but that is just the beginning! Even though your oral health is the main concern of your dentist, the truth is that they are able to tell a lot about your body just by looking at your mouth. In addition to checking your teeth and gums, they also look for abnormalities that could indicate that you have medical conditions elsewhere in the body. Continue reading to learn about the different overall health issues that your dentist could discover first.
This is an incredibly common condition throughout the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anemia affects just about 1.62 billion people worldwide. This is approximately 24.8% of the global population. The condition occurs when your body does not have enough red blood cells circulating. This can be detected by your dentist because some symptoms occur in the mouth. When the lining of the mouth appears to be pale or the tongue loses its bumpy texture, this could be a sign that you are anemic.
This condition affects a lot of the body, including the mouth. Some common oral symptoms include swollen lips and dime-sized ulcers on the inside of the cheeks. These ulcers typically have a white center with a red halo around it. If your dentist sees these signs in the mouth and suspects that Crohn’s disease could be the cause, they will most likely recommend that you get the issue checked out by your family doctor.
Did you know that gum disease and diabetes can be related? Signs of gum disease include bleeding, inflammation, gum recession, and wiggly teeth. Poor oral hygiene can cause you to develop gum disease, but diabetes also makes it much more likely that you will end up with the condition. Because they are so closely linked, your dentist may recommend that you have a blood test from your primary care doctor.
If you have painful, swollen, or bleeding gums, this could indicate that you have heart disease. While this certainly isn’t always the case, gum disease can put patients at higher risk for both coronary artery disease and heart disease. This is because bacteria from the mouth can travel to the heart and form blood clots or build up plaque in your arteries.
There aren’t very many symptoms of this condition. Because of this, many people don’t realize that they have it until they fracture a bone or take a bone density test. However, your dentist may be able to pick up on this. If they notice that you are experiencing jawbone shrinkage, this could point to a loss of density in other areas of the body due to osteoporosis.
Regular checkups may seem like a hassle, but you never know what you may learn about your body. Seeing your dentist could even save your life!
About the Author
Both Dr. Elizabeth Abe and Dr. Philip Batson earned their dental degrees from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Dr. Abe regularly attends continuing education courses, and Dr. Batson is a member of numerous organizations including the American Dental Association. To learn more about preventive care or to schedule a checkup at Columbia Healthy Smiles, visit their website or call (573) 875-7071.