We have established that there is a strong mouth-body connection when it comes to overall health and wellness. Besides trouble teeth being linked to specific organs or systems of the body, there are other pieces of evidence within your mouth that can indicate to a dentist that something else is amiss. Here are just a few of the diseases or conditions that your dentist might recognize.
Erosion of the teeth – your bottom teeth in particular – is a sign that acid reflux could be in play. Gastric acid can eat away at your tooth enamel, but some people with chronic acid reflux don’t always have obvious symptoms like heartburn. A holistic dentistry practice is likely to recommend that you make an appointment with a gastroenterologist to treat the reflux and prevent it from leading to health problems like esophageal cancer.
Swollen, bleeding, or tender gums are signs that periodontal disease is in play. Gum disease is a very common affliction among adults and is highly treatable. But you never want to allow periodontal disease to get out of hand. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and strokes, and inflammation of the gums could indicate inflammation in other parts of the body. Always report symptoms like bad breath, pain, bleeding, or sensitivity to your dentist – if you’re keeping up with your regular cleanings and exams then any nascent gum disease should have little chance of creeping in. If you do end up with gum disease, it would be wise to have your risks for cardiovascular disease assessed by your primary care physician.
Diabetes can present orally as dry mouth – serious dry mouth. Saliva production may not be noticeable for an individual but a dentist can see that dryness much sooner. Other oral symptoms of diabetes include chronic bad breath and slow healing of mouth burns or cuts. You may discover that your holistic dentist even specializes in diabetic dentistry, being trained in treating diabetic patients and their unique oral health needs. But if you’re not a diagnosed diabetic, your dentist is likely to recommend that you see your regular doctor for a blood glucose check.
Your dentist evaluates your mouth for oral cancer every time you have an exam. They’re looking for discolorations – places where tissue looks whiter or redder than it should. Smokers are of course at high risk for mouth cancer, but the human papillomavirus (HPV) is also a growing cause of mouth cancer. If your dentist sees something amiss, they may want to see you back again within a week or so to see if anything has changed. Early detection of cancer improves the odds of successful treatment. Keeping up with your preventive dental care can give you an early diagnosis – your dentist is trained to look for early signs and symptoms that may not be noticeable to the untrained eye.
From rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn’s disease to eating disorders, holistic dentists make it their job to keep an eye on things that are happening in your mouth that could be signs of larger issues within your body. Contact Dr. Yolanda Cintron at Fort Lauderdale’s International Center for Dental Excellence to schedule your dental exam and cleaning today. Let her know your concerns about your oral and overall health and wellness.