Likely, you’re aware of the necessity of regularly visiting a dentist in Marion for preventive care. While these appointments help ensure excellent oral health, they provide even more benefits. From his-her bird’s eye view, a dentist can detect signs of other issues that you may not have been aware of. As you continue reading, learn about 5 of them.
#1 – Crohn’s Disease
An inflammatory bowel condition, Crohn’s disease affects over 3 million Americans. A dentist will be on the lookout for unusually swollen lips and dime-sized ulcers on the inside of the cheek and lips. They will typically have a white center with a red halo circling it. This will usually prompt the dentist to take X-rays to rule out gum disease.
#2 – Diabetes
The pancreas has the job of regulating insulin levels. It’s improper function, known as diabetes, results in either extremely low or elevated blood sugar levels. If there are bleeding, receding, dry gums or mouth or wiggly teeth, it could be an indication of diabetes. Poor dental care can also contribute to these symptoms, so the dentist will make further assessments and ask questions before drawing an initial conclusion.
#3 – Oral Cancer
Each year, nearly 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer, with 10% of the cases ending fatally. Thankfully, with regular dental visits, the condition can be identified and treated in its earlier stages. The survival rate in such cases is as high as 80%.
A dentist will look for any signs of white or red lesions on the tongue, the floor of the mouth and on the soft palate tissues in the back of the throat. It should be noted that the chances of developing oral cancer are much higher among people who chew or smoke tobacco.
#4 – GERD
The stomach contains highly concentrated acid that helps to digest food. For people who have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), the stomach acid regurgitates into the esophagus and mouth, causing uncomfortable heartburn symptoms. Some of the warning signs that a dentist may notice are advanced enamel wear and erosion lesions near the back of the mouth.
#5 – Increased Stress
People who live under constant stress may be prone to teeth grinding (called bruxism). In many cases, this is done unconsciously. Thus, some patients aren’t aware of the problem until visiting a dentist for a checkup. Some of the indications are worn enamel and shortened or cracked teeth.
It’s critical that you take heed to any information provided about your health at routine dental checkups and cleanings. If the dentist suspects an issue is developing, the sooner you seek the appropriate care, the better off you’ll be. Empowerment comes in the form of being proactive and taking action.
About the Author
Dr. James Leon is a graduate of West Virginia University. He has received additional postgraduate training from the Frank Spear Institute and the Pete Dawson Academy, which allows him to offer the highest quality care possible. Dr. Leon helps his patients attain total wellness through providing attentive and detailed dentistry at Cross Creek Dental Care, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.