Whenever you have an appointment with your dentist, you may only be thinking about how healthy your teeth are. However, when your dentist examines your mouth, they’re checking for a lot more than cavities. Believe it or not, there are several overall health problems that present noticeable symptoms in your mouth. Here are five surprising medical conditions that your dentist in Melbourne may find at your next checkup.
Red, swollen, or bleeding gums often indicate gum disease. This bacterial infection in your gum tissue has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues. The bacteria in your mouth could migrate to your heart and cause blood clots or plaque buildup in your arteries.
Dry mouth, shifting teeth, and bleeding or receding gums are all common oral symptoms of people with diabetes that your dentist may detect at your dental checkup. If they suspect you have diabetes, they’ll likely suggest a blood test with your primary care physician. Getting diagnosed and treated promptly is crucial; patients who take good care of their blood sugar levels can reduce their risk of gum disease, and patients with healthy gums often have better blood sugar control.
Swollen lips and dime-sized ulcers on the inside of the lips and cheeks (which usually have a white center with a red ring on the outside) sometimes indicate Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases. If your dentist rules out gum disease by taking X-rays, they may refer you to your primary care doctor for further treatment.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the stomach regurgitates acid up into the food pipe. It can sometimes reach the mouth, eroding tooth enamel or causing lesions in the soft tissue toward the back of the mouth. While some people with GERD recognize it by the uncomfortable heartburn it creates, many people don’t realize they have it because it only happens when they’re asleep. Luckily, your dentist can often spot these signs during your checkup and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
Intense Stress or Anxiety
The stress of living through the Covid-19 pandemic may be taking a greater toll on your mouth than you realize. Many people chronically grind their teeth (a condition called bruxism) in response to severe stress. This habit can wear down or even chip your teeth. You may not even know you grind your teeth because most patients only do it while they’re sleeping. Your dentist can solve this problem by creating a custom-made nightguard.
Dental checkups are about more than just your oral health. Seeing your dentist twice a year can keep your smile and your general health in good shape!
About the Author
As a dentist in Melbourne, FL, Dr. Beverly Rose has been helping patients achieve healthier smiles and bodies for 25 years and counting. She offers multiple services that benefit your oral and overall health, including gum disease therapy and nightguards for bruxism. To schedule your next dental checkup with Dr. Rose, visit her website or give her office a call at (321) 259-4666.