Making sure to visit your general dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and exam is a very important part of keeping your teeth and gum tissues healthy. However, your dentist is able to detect more than just dental problems. There are a number of non-dental medical issues that dentists are able to detect during your teeth cleaning and exams.
Medical Problems Detected by Dentists
Below are a few non-dental medical problems that dentists can detect early on:
Infection – If a tooth becomes infected and goes untreated, this infection can spread to other parts of the body. Signs of an infection include swelling, pain, and redness around the infected area as well as fever and pus drainage. Antibiotics can be prescribed.
Malnutrition – Patients who are suffering from eating disorders or malnutrition may show oral signs, especially patients with bulimia. These signs can include dry mouth, gum bleeding, and erosion of the tooth enamel due to exposure to the stomach acid.
Diabetes – Some of the symptoms that you may attribute to gum disease can also be indicators of diabetes. These include dry mouth, gum recession, loosening teeth, and bleeding gums. These symptoms may warrant a visit to the doctor for a simple blood glucose test just in case.
Oral Cancer – During teeth cleanings and oral exams, an oral cancer screening will be performed. We will look for lesions, lumps, bumps, swelling, or other signs of oral cancer. You’re at a higher risk of cancer if you chew tobacco, have been exposed to HPV, or abuse alcohol. Please let us know if you are at risk.
Osteoporosis – The weakening of bones can be detected in the teeth. Oral signs of osteoporosis include receding gum lines and loosening teeth. Post-menopausal women are at a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis than any other demographic.
In addition to being absolutely vital to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, regular dental checkups can also help catch the above health problems early on. To make an appointment for a dental cleaning and exam, please contact Auburn Family Dental. Our office is located in Wichita, Kansas.