The mouth-body connection is stronger than most people realize and there are signs your dentist may pick up on, which highlight disease and illness in the rest of the body before you experience any other symptoms.
With busy lifestyles, work, stress of day to day life and travel, staying on top of dental hygiene can often be neglected. Ensuring you maintain routinely dental appointments keeping the mouth (teeth and gums) healthy, you will also be able to stay on top of other illnesses you may not be aware of. Although your dentist may not be able to assit you with treating problems (below) as it is outside of dentistry, he/she will help you detect serious health issues at early stages.
Below are a few illnesses, which can be detected early by signs within the mouth:
Acid Reflux (GERD)
Acid reflux is a condition where you experience stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus and further into the mouth. Your dentist will be able to see the signs as soon as you open your mouth because of the eroding effects the illness has on your teeth (dissolving the tooth enamel). The reason for acid reflux is an improperly functioning esophageal sphincter which can lead to further health problems down the track.
Did you know that inflammation in the gums can increase inflammation in other parts of the body therefore gum disease can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Keeping regular visits to both dentist and hygienist, your dentist will be vigilantly aware of swollen gums, ensuring any inflammation in the mouth is prevented which will reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Did you know that a dentist is able to see if you have developed or not managing your diabetes because any gum disease may be either hard to treat or your mouth and gums may have decreased ability to fight infections regardless of treatment (both type 1 and 2).
Crohn’s Disease + Bowel Diseases
Ulcers in the mouth (lesions which can be in the cheeks, folds, gums or swelling in the lips ‘orofacial granulomatosis’) can be a sign of Crohn’s.