It’s no secret that receiving routine dental exams and cleanings is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. A lesser known fact, however, is that dental exams can also play an integral role in the early detection of some serious concerns affecting one’s overall wellness. Below, we’ve highlighted six health issues that dentists may be able to identify during an oral examination.
- Acid Reflux – Anything with a pH balance below 5.5 can cause tooth enamel to decay, and since gastric acid typically has a pH value anywhere between 1.5 to 3.5, signs of tooth erosion on the bottom teeth can often be a good indication of undiagnosed acid reflux.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – Classified as an autoimmune condition, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can initially manifest in the form of jaw swelling and/or jaw discomfort. In fact, approximately 50% of individuals in the early stages of RA exhibit signs of TMJ disorder.
- Diabetes – A lesser-known, relatively “hidden” symptom of diabetes is a significant decrease in saliva production, often leading to dryness that may be identified by an experienced dentist long before you notice a parched feeling yourself.
- Crohn’s Disease – Often associated with ulcers, Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory intestinal condition) can actually be evidenced by raised bumps on the gums directly surrounding teeth. Since these bumps are not usually painful, you may not know they’re present until a dentist inspects your gums.
- Heart Disease – For individuals who don’t exactly fit the mold of someone who would have periodontal (gum) disease, symptoms such as red, swollen, and bleeding gums may signify a more serious issue like heart disease. This is particularly true among patients who are overweight and/or have a family history of cardiovascular disease.
- Cancer – Abnormally red or white tissues (particularly in the back of the throat) can point to the development of certain oral cancers attributed to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
At Imagine Advanced Dental Arts, our highly trained and skilled dentists have the expertise to not only look for indications of these issues during an oral exam, but also to help you determine the proper course of action in the event a complication is identified. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for yourself or a loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact our practice today.