5 Medical Problems Your Teeth Can Predict

Grand Rapids Dentists

5 Medical Problems Your Teeth Can Predict

700 400 Grand Rapids MI Dentist

Preventive Dentist in Grand Rapids, MIDid you know that our Grand Rapids dentists may be able to detect early signs of diabetes, osteoporosis, and even heart disease just by examining your mouth? Many people don’t realize that oral health is linked to overall health until it’s too late.

For example, people with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease. It’s also not uncommon for certain systemic diseases like lupus to present themselves as abnormalities in the mouth.

The best way to protect your oral health is to visit our Grand Rapids dental office every 6 months for a routine teeth cleaning and dental exam. For issues beyond the mouth, regular checkups with your family doctor are also encouraged.

The goal of preventive dentistry is to protect oral health before you lose it. This blog post is in no way meant to act as a substitute for seeing your primary care physician. If you suspect a problem with your overall health, call your doctor.

Here are 5 medical problems that can be uncovered through dental care.

1. Diabetes

People with diabetes have difficulty resisting infection, which often leads to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by untreated plaque buildup, an invisible film of bacteria on your teeth. Fortunately, early gum disease (gingivitis) can be reversed by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing our dentists for a teeth cleaning every 6 months.

If left untreated, gingivitis will develop into a serious (and incurable) gum infection called periodontitis. If you have a family history of diabetes, talk with our dentists about ways to avoid gum disease.

Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums, swollen or red gums, receding gums, bad breath, and tooth loss. If you suspect you have gum disease or and are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with our dentists as soon as possible.

2. Heart Disease

Loose teeth can be a sign of many different health issues, including heart disease. While your children or grandchildren may be happy to place teeth under their pillows, losing a tooth as an adult is cause for concern.

If you lose a tooth, your first call should be to our dental office to schedule an appointment. Depending on the condition of your teeth and gums, we may recommend dental implants, dental bridges, or partial dentures.

Gum disease can also be a sign of heart issues. For example, dentists know that bacteria from periodontal disease can pass through the bloodstream into your heart. If you have coronary artery disease, the gum-borne bacteria could agitate your condition.

3. Oral Cancer

Risk factors for oral cancer include smoking, abusing alcohol, human papillomavirus (HPV), and not using sun protection on the lips. According to the American Cancer Society, over 50,000 Americans will get oral or throat cancer this year.

If you notice white or red patches inside your mouth, schedule an appointment with our dentists as soon as possible for an oral cancer screening. Bleeding sores and hard lumps are also signs you may have oral cancer. While there may be other factors to consider, it’s always best to be on the safe side.

4. Osteoporosis

It’s not uncommon for people with osteoporosis to have loose teeth and receding gums. Bones can become brittle with age, which is why it’s important to see our dentists every 6 months. We’re able to take x-rays of your teeth and jaw to monitor the health of bone tissue.

5. Eating Disorders

The body tells a story. Even if a patient tries to hide an eating disorder, our dentists may be able to tell just by looking at their teeth. For example, a patient with bulimia nervosa may have less enamel on the insides of their front teeth from vomiting.

Other symptoms of an eating disorder that can show up during a routine dental exam include dry mouth, sensitive teeth, and bleeding gums.

Make an Appointment

Our family dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, are dedicated to helping patients maintain good oral health by providing preventive dental services. When you first become our patient, we’ll ask you to fill out your family medical history. That way, our dentists will be able to customize dental care to your specific needs. To request an appointment, call (616) 455-3020.

This blog post has been updated.

Related Blog Posts: