Your dentist doesn’t only look at your teeth and gums when you come for a visit. If you are a regular you’ll know that your check up might include other seemingly strange discussions about your health. Some of the conditions that can be noted through your dental check up are below:
1. Cardiovascular disease and Periodontitis
Many people may have a relatively symptomless disease of the bone and gums surrounding your teeth. Patients who suffer with periodontal disease have a much higher chance of having cardiovascular disease. Bacteria from your mouth can now get into your blood stream through your broken and diseased gums. These bacteria might then go and infect other parts of your body, most commonly your heart muscle.
Solution: book a clean with your check up to keep your gums clean and healthy and minimise the risk of cardiovascular infection.
There aren’t many people who aren’t stress in this day and age. You dentist will be able to tell if you are clenching or grinding your teeth, a sure sign of your stress that you have internalized.
Solution = night guard, physio or toxin treatments
3. Digestive Issues
You might be suffering from GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease) also know as GERD, bulimia and other acid-related habits. These conditions show that your teeth are worn down in certain areas that aren’t the chewing surfaces. Depending on the severity, some dental treatments might be recommended for you to cover the areas that have been eaten away by the acid. But prevention is key to deal within these cases too.
Solution = see a gastric specialist, psychologist and dental overlays.
4. Auto-immune Diseases
An auto-immune disease is one that presents when the body starts to fight itself in certain areas. Many of these illness have signs that show in the mouth. Celiac disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus and Hashimoto’s disease are just a few diseases that have oral signs.
Solution = see a specialist depending not the type of disease noted.
Anemia is most commonly found in women. Stress, poor diet and poor absorption of iron are a few of the causes. Men can also be anemic. People will present with whiter than normal gums.
Solution = see a medical practitioner to measure the free iron and iron store levels in your system.
Oral cancer is a particularly bad type of cancer to get. It is painless when it starts and you might not know you have it until it is too late. Dentists are trained to pick up any colour changes in your gums and soft tissues of your mouth. If you have persistent ulcers that don’t go away please visit your dentist asap.
Solution = see a specialist for a biopsy if lesions are concerning.
7. Back Pain
Often times patients may not tell you but they have had chronic back pain. All the muscles of the back, neck, head and face are linked together with fascia. If one or more of the muscles become tight there is a chance that all of them can become tight. The muscles that work around your Tempero-mandibular joint opening and closing your mouth can get very tight and inflamed. This is usually due to a grinding habit. If you are suffering from back pain it could actually be linked to your teeth.
Solution = a night guard for your teeth, physio or chiro treatment.
8. Sinus Problems
With the technology that the dentists use nowadays a 3D CBCT scan can give us a full view of your sinuses. We can pick up polyps, deviated septum’s, inflammation and thickened mucosa due to chronic allergies and sinusitis. Teeth can also present as painful but it is as a result of a sinus infection rather than a dental infection.
Solution = referral to ENT if necessary.
9. Vitamin Deficiencies
The most obvious vitamin deficiency is Scurvy (vitamin C) in which the teeth become loose. Other vitamin deficiencies also present in the mouth. Solution = see a nutritionist and or supplement with the vitamin in question.
10. Other Diseases
Other diseases such as diabetes, HIV and sometimes osteoporosis can also be noted in the mouth.
Solution = see a medical practitioner
The above are a few of the things that we can tell during your check up. Our advice for most of them would be to see the related specialist if we are worried about the situation. Many of these symptoms first appear in the mouth and as such we are the first people to tell if there is a possible change in your health.
That is why we are doing a special of 25% off if you book your Check up and Clean in May and June at Enamel Dentistry.
By Dr Sheryl Smithies
Associate at Enamel Dentistry.