In recent years, it has become more and more clear that good dental health is about more than keeping a bright, white smile. There are, in fact, several warning signs that appear in the mouth that indicate other serious medical conditions. Your regular dental exam can now tell us a lot more about what’s going on with your overall health, and we can use that information to guide you to the right treatments.
It Starts with Your Regular Dental Exam
We can’t discover what’s going on with your health unless you keep your regular appointments for dental examinations. This is when we can use a lot of our high-tech equipment to find out exactly what’s going on and if there’s something that needs further attention.
Our exams include computerized digital x-rays, cleanings so we can get a good look at your teeth and gums, and also assess the situation to determine if oral cancer is a risk. With this as the foundation, we can determine if there are causes for concern.
Serious Diseases with Oral Warning Signs
It may seem strange to some people that it’s possible to assess a patient’s overall health by looking into their mouth, but studies have shown that people with gum disease are actually 40% more likely to have some kind of chronic condition on top of it.
The body is a connected organism, and when something goes wrong in one part, it can give us hints about what’s happening in another. It’s possible to spot these warning signs when you know where to look.
Problems in the Mouth Could Actually Lead to Problems in Other Places
Certain dental problems could actually cause or contribute to problems throughout the rest of your body. Many of these diseases are very severe and need to be treated immediately.
So how is it possible for problems in the mouth to create problems in, for example, the pancreas?
There are over 500 species of bacteria making a home in your mouth. These are the things responsible for building up plaque on your teeth and around the gum line. Normally, that’s where they’ll stay, but there are some conditions that will allow them into your bloodstream. If you have a weakened immune system, this could lead to some problematic conditions, including:
- Diabetes – It’s possible that the inflammations that start in the mouth as a result of bacteria buildup there may weaken the body’s ability to control blood sugar and utilize insulin.
- Cardiovascular disease – The bacteria in your mouth may contribute to heart disease, clogged arteries, and even stroke. Some statistics suggest that up to 91% of patients with heart disease also have periodontitis.
- Premature births – There is growing research that periodontitis may be linked to low birth weights and premature births. This could be due to infections interfering with fetus development.
- Endocarditis – This infection in the inner lining of the heart that could be caused when oral bacteria attaches to damaged areas in the heart.
There are several other potential problems that could be caused by poor oral health, but if you come in and regularly get your checkups, we’ll be able to spot the indicators early and make sure you get the right treatments.
Don’t let a small problem with your teeth and gums balloon into something much bigger and much more serious. Set your appointment today and make sure you are taking care of your overall health situation.