Young Woman in Dental Examination

What Your Teeth and Gums Say About the Rest of Your Body

Your Teeth and Gums Say A Lot About Your Overall Health

Your mouth is full of bacteria. While most of it is harmless, your mouth is the entry point to the rest of your body, and some of these bacteria aren’t so harmless and can cause disease.

That’s why going to the dentist regularly is a crucial part of maintaining excellent oral health. Your dentist can find and treat things like cavities, receding gums, and eliminate problems before they spread to the rest of your body.

But Your Dentist Can Also Discover Non-Dental Medical Conditions You May Have Missed

A visit to your dentist may give you more insight into your overall wellness.

More than 100 diseases come with symptoms that show up in your mouth. In some cases, your dentist may be able to pick up on problem areas before they even begin looking in your mouth. When they do start examining your teeth and gums, you may be surprised at what they discover.

Can Your Dentist Tell if You Have Diabetes?

According to Diabetes Canada, 11.7 million Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes, which can quickly turn into type 2 diabetes if left unmanaged. The scary part is, some people don’t even know they have it.

If during a routine checkup your dentist notices things like loose teeth, a dry mouth, and receding, dry, or bleeding gums, this may be cause for concern. Diabetic patients have weaker immunity and a harder time fighting off diseases, making it harder for wounds and infections in and around your gum line to heal.

With that being said, bleeding gums aren’t always a symptom of diabetes. It can also be from gingivitis and other gum diseases that your dentist can help you manage. Bleeding gums becomes a cause for concern when combined with the other symptoms. If your dentist notices these, they may encourage you to visit your doctor for a blood glucose check.

Can Your Dentist Diagnose You With HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a virus that attacks your immune system. As of 2020, over 68,000 people had HIV and 14% were unaware they had it.

If your dentist notices the following things, they may suggest scheduling an appointment with your doctor for a blood test:

  • Oral warts
  • Lesions
  • White, red, purple, or brown spots on your tongue or in your mouth
  • White or yellow patches
  • Dry or painful mouth and throat

A small percentage (2–6%) of people may experience something called necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, which is a painful gum infection that causes fever, sickness, and bad breath.

Having one of these symptoms doesn’t automatically mean you have HIV. If you have more than one, plus other symptoms, you should consult your primary care provider.

Can Your Dentist Tell if You’re Malnourished?

The food you eat has an effect on your oral health, and it will show during an exam.

If you have an eating disorder like bulimia, your dentist will be able to tell. Forced vomiting erodes your enamel due to the gastric acid you’re throwing up. Other than enamel erosion, your dentist may notice a dry mouth, bleeding gums, and erosion on the inside of your front teeth.

The important thing to know is that your dentist is not there to judge you. If they discover these symptoms, they may have a discussion with you about the long-term effects and encourage you to speak with your doctor.

Can Your Dentist Tell if You Have Osteoporosis?

Although osteoporosis is most common in post-menopausal women, anyone can experience the weakening of their bones. Some indicators that this is happening are receding gum lines and loose teeth. These are signs that the bones that support your teeth are changing. If your dentist notices these things, they will likely refer you to your doctor for a bone density test.

Maintaining Your Oral Health is an Investment in Your Overall Health.

Working with an experienced dentist like Dr. Andrea Stevens ensures you’re investing your time and money wisely.

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