If asked to consider the expertise of a dentist, one could mention a long list of qualifications-- from oral health and the treatment of cavities to knowing when it's time to consider dentures. While the list of teeth- and gum-related aptitudes for dentists are easy to recognize, did you know that dentists actually have the capability to notice things about your overall health that you may not even be aware of? The studies concerning the link between heart disease and oral health are becoming more well known, but there are more areas of medical knowledge that the dentist can uncover than a healthy heart. The next time you head to your dentist appointment, be aware that there's far more to check out than the health of your teeth-- and what your dentist may discover from examining your oral health may shock you.
When thinking about a way to discover diabetes, you might start to think about blood samples or medical evaluations by a physician-- but a dentist may be able to suspect the beginning of the disease before you've even decided to visit a doctor. While many forms of periodontal disease can be caused by a lack of tooth brushing or not taking good care of your gums, there's also a link between the disease and diabetes.
Diabetes can cause dry mouth syndrome-- and without an abundance of saliva (your body's natural way to fight bacteria in your mouth), the sugars found naturally in the food you eat can build up faster than average. By noticing an inflammation in your gums, your dentist may request that you get checked for diabetes.
The last thing you'd expect your dentist to know would be if you're pregnant-- but your dentist may be able to tell before you make him aware of it just by taking a look inside your mouth. While it doesn't affect everyone, dental experts may notice what are commonly called pregnancy tumors on the gums of a pregnant individual. The word tumor may make you nervous, but there's nothing malignant about it. The small red bumps are often an indicator to dentists that there's been an increase of hormones, and pregnancy is a likely cause. While the bumps can become sore and irritable, your dentist can help to numb the area or even remove the spot entirely, providing more comfort for the days to come.
There can be many problems that lead to tooth loss, but losing teeth due to low bone mineral density is a problem that can ultimately affect other parts of your body-- not just your oral health. By taking normal x-rays of your teeth during your appointment, the dentist can spot bone density issues that could be caused by osteoporosis. As with any disease, spotting osteoporosis early and taking steps to reduce the issue will help in the long run to prevent bigger problems from appearing in your health.
For more information about how else a dentist can help you stay healthy, contact a professional such as Dr. Frederick Guerra DMD.