10 Medical Issues Your Dentist Might Find

family dentist grand rapids miThe human body is a series of interconnected systems. As a result, dentists are sometimes able to predict serious medical issues throughout the body using symptoms they discover during routine dental checkups. If you’re looking to learn more about how your overall health is affected by your oral health, here are 10 health issues that sometimes manifest as oral symptoms.

1. Diabetes

Gum disease can be a strong indicator of diabetes. Common gum diseases include gingivitis and more seriously, periodontitis. If you have a family history of diabetes, it may be worth having a conversation with your dentist about the symptoms. At Bander Dental Group, we are always concerned with meeting the individual needs of our patients.

Diabetes has the tendency to decrease your resistance to infection, increasing your risk for gingivitis. Plaque rich in bacteria can travel into your bloodstream, causing inflammation. In addition to gum disease, you should also be conscious of other symptoms which include bad breath, bleeding gums, oral fungal infections, and loose teeth.

Don’t let it get too far. If you are having troubles with your teeth, schedule an appointment with us today.

2. Heart Disease

Are you too old to be having loose teeth? While your child or grandchild may be excited to put a tooth underneath their pillow, loose teeth are less than desirable in adults. Loose teeth can be a symptom for many issues: one among these is heart disease.

Inflamed gums and gum disease are other signs of heart disease. Especially in the case of periodontitis, gum-borne bacteria have been known to pass through the bloodstream and into your heart. Conditions such as coronary artery disease can be agitated by the internal onslaught of bacteria.

At Bander Dental Group, we have access to your family medical history so that we can be aware of potential medical problems, oral or otherwise. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you notice any emerging oral issues.

3. Acid Reflux

When stomach acid goes up the esophagus, it can cause tooth erosion especially to your bottom teeth and those towards the back of your mouth. If you do have acid reflux, also known by its more severe form – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and are experiencing more sensitive teeth it’s important to let your dentist know.

4. Oral Cancer

No one likes to hear the word “cancer.” However, it is necessary to discuss the common signs of oral cancer. If you suffer from bleeding sores or have noticed hard lumps in your mouth, these could be precursors to oral cancer. Another major sign is if your bite no longer aligns properly due to unexplained growths.

While there may be other factors to consider, it is always best to be on the safe side. If you suspect a larger medical issue, please bring it to our attention so that we can address it properly at an oral cancer screening.

5. Osteoporosis

As we get older, our bones have the tendency to weaken and become brittle. When this happens, we become more susceptible to bone breakage. The loss of tissue associated with osteoporosis can also be noted in your mouth. Loose teeth and a receding gum line may be key signs that a diagnosis of osteoporosis may not be far behind.

6. Eating Disorders

While people who have eating disorders are obviously aware of their actions, sometimes their behavior is purposely concealed from their medical professionals. It is difficult for our patients to get the help they need when they are not forthcoming about activities that negatively affect their health.

In particular, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa deprive the body of vitamins and minerals needed for proper nutrition. The loss of tooth enamel, especially on the insides of the front teeth, can be a telltale sign of an eating disorder. Other symptoms include dry mouth, sensitive teeth, and bleeding gums.

7. Sjogren’s Syndrome

This is an autoimmune syndrome where the immune system targets glands in your mouth that produce moisture, like saliva. Without saliva, your mouth becomes dry and then loses the natural defense to wash away bacteria and food particles that can lead to other health problems.

8. Dementia

One of the early signs of dementia is poor oral hygiene, as patients often forget whether or not they’ve brushed their teeth. It turns out that poor dental hygiene might actually increase your risk of dementia to begin with: scientists now think that the bacteria that causes gum disease might be able to travel to the brain and cause cognitive impairments in elderly patients.

9. Kidney Disease

When your kidneys aren’t working properly, the effects can be felt throughout the body. One of the symptoms of kidney disease is foul or sweet-smelling breath, sometimes accompanied by dry mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor or our dentist about a possible diagnosis.

10. Anemia

Anemia is the result of an iron deficiency. Iron is vital for your body to produce red blood cells. When you’re lacking red blood cells, or if they aren’t working properly, you can lose color in your tongue and gums which your dentist is likely to notice depending on the extent of your iron deficiency.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

This article is in no way meant to act as a substitute for seeing a medical professional. If you suspect a problem with your health, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. The Grand Rapids dentists at Bander Dental Group are always willing to help you learn more about your health. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, call our office at (616) 949-5980.