10 Surprising Diseases Dentist Detect During Check up​

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Akeem AJAYI BDS, DDS
Akeem AJAYI BDS, DDS

General and Cosmetic Dentist

During your routine dental check-up, Dentists aren’t just looking for gum disease or cavities; they might also find signs of stress, oral cancer, and other serious conditions your dentist can uncover important clues about your overall health. Hence, Regular dental check-up is not just critical to the health of your gums and teeth, it is to the overall health of your body. Because What you may not know is that your dentist can also spot signs of non-dental medical issues in your mouth during an exam. oral health reflects the overall health of the body. Here are 10 surprising diseases that dentist detect during dental check up.

10 Health issues Dentist Detect During Dental Check up

Research has repeatedly proven the linkage and established that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems, diabetes, infections, oral cancer, HIV, stress, poor nutrition, and osteoporosis, TMJ, Cavity etc.

1.Diabetes

thumbd pinch for diabetes image with a blood test sample

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease. That’s because they may have a decreased ability to fight bacterial infections, including those that occur in the mouth. In addition, serious gum disease can make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar. “When I see a patient with symptoms like frequent gum abscesses, swelling, a lot of bone loss in a short amount of time, and gum disease that doesn’t respond to normal treatment, those can be signs that they have diabetes,” 

2.Leukemia

oral lesions in the mouth a sign if acute leukaemia

For some, the first signs of leukemia show up in the mouth. In fact, a dentist may be the first doctor to detect the problem during your dental checkup. One of the first signs of leukemia can be gingivitis or swelling and bleeding gums. In leukemia patients, gingivitis occurs when leukemia cells infiltrate the gums, and gingivitis can become severe because leukemia reduces the body’s ability to fight the infection. Leukemia, as well as subsequent chemotherapy, has a distinct effect on dental health, which means that dental hygiene should be a priority when you’re fighting the disease. 

3.Oral cancer

oral cancer lesion in the mouth

Oral cancer is divided into two types: cancer of the oral cavity and cancer of the oropharynx. Lips, cheeks, teeth, gums, the roof of the mouth, and the front section of the tongue are all possible sites for oral cancer. Oropharyngeal cancer affects the middle of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils. Oral cancer accounts for about 3% of all malignancies diagnosed in the United States each year.

Oral cancer affects more than twice as many males as women and is most common in persons over the age of 40. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption (or both), and infection with the human papillomavirus is all linked to oral cancer (HPV).

4.Heart disease / Heart Problems

Periodontal-Disease-Heart-Disease-and-Stroke in human-min

Research has shown that there is a strong connection between oral health and heart health.  It is unclear whether this correlation is due to a causal relationship or shared underlying disorder such as inflammation caused by periodontal disease.

Bacteria in the mouth can spread throughout the body, causing inflammation. As a result of the inflammation, arteries get clogged, increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Toxins and bacteria found below the gum line can cause infections, which can lead to cardiovascular problems; therefore, disturbing the gum tissue allows germs to enter the bloodstream directly. They can travel to anybody organ (including the heart) while in the bloodstream and cause havoc if no countermeasures are taken.

5.Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

teeth_erosion as a result of gerd in the mouth-min

GERD occurs when stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus, causing heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. Bad breath, canker sores, and a dry mouth are all possible side effects or symptoms of the GERD.
It’s not always possible to tell if you have GERD just by looking at it, but your dentist may be able to narrow it down if you tell him or her about any drugs, you’re on. “Any medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter,” adds Cram, “should always be disclosed to your dentist.”
Acid reflux, if left untreated, can eat away at your tooth enamel, signaling a visit to your dentist. GERD can also make you more susceptible to cancer.

6.Chron’s Diseases

Many Crohn’s disease patients have white lesions with red rings inside their mouths. If your dentist notices these types of lesions or ulcers in your mouth but can’t uncover a gum-related cause for them, he or she will refer you to your doctor to have Crohn’s disease checked out.

7.Osteoporosis

oseoporosis bone density weakness jaw bone-min

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops when bone mineral density and bone mass decreases, or when the quality or structure of bone changes. This can lead to a decrease in bone strength that can increase the risk of fractures (broken bones). It’s a health issue that many older men and women face.  Loose teeth, periodontal disease, ill-fitting dentures due to rapid jawbone deterioration, difficulty eating, and speaking are all early indicators of osteoporosis in the mouth.
X-rays taken by a dentist during a routine checkup can be used to evaluate the density of the jaw bones and, in some cases, the source of dental problems. Furthermore, obtaining X-rays of the teeth and jaws on a regular basis allows the dentist to monitor changes in jawbone density over a period of time.

8.Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells circulating.  This can cause the tongue to lose its typical bumpy texture and become smooth looking. (These are the amenia symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.) If your dentist notices symptoms like pale tissues and gums and a smooth tongue, it can be an indication of anemia. Dentists will also check for your medical history and current medications to understand if your other health conditions are causing you to be anemic

9.HIV

mouth sores due to hiv aids diseases dentist detect during check up

HIV is another disease that is often undetected unless a symptom starts to appear. Your dentist can help diagnose early signs of HIV in the mouth by considering the gravity and frequency of the symptoms. Patients with HIV are prone to have the following dental conditions:

  • Dry mouth 
  • Canker sores and mouth ulcers
  • Oral Thrush 
  • Oral hairy leukoplakia
  • Red band gingivitis
  • Ulcerative
  • periodontitis
  • Kaposi Sarcoma can be a later complication of HIV/AIDs. It’s a form of cancer that appears as deep purple or red spots on the skin or in your mouth

10.Intense Stress

You know when you’ve had a bad week at work, but the state of your mouth could signal that stress is having a toll on you that you’re not aware of. Many people grind their teeth in response to stress, a condition known as bruxism, which can wear down and chip your pearly whites.

health issues your dentist can diagnose during dental check up

Notable mentions that also have manifestations in the mouth:

Pancreatic cancer – high levels of certain types of oral bacteria, swollen gums. (Source: Center4Research.)

Dementia – general poor oral health.

Eating disorders – Crumbling teeth, sensitive teeth, bad breath.

Stress – tooth grinding, tooth fractures.

Hodgkin’s Disease – swollen lymph nodes.

Addison’s Disease – discoloration of oral tissue and gums.

Sjogren’s syndrome A condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells instead of threats like viruses or bacteria (Source)

Celiac Disease – Enamel problems or frequent canker sores, and you might experience a dry or burning feeling on your tongue. (Source: RDH Magazine.)

Questions? call us (832-906-6127)

Visiting your dentist is more than a perfect smile. Your oral health is a window to your overall health, and regular dental visits contribute to the early detection and prevention of diseases. Your dentist can assist you in detecting major issues before they advance to the next stage or become unmanageable. Make an appointment at Keem Smile Dentistry 6434 Highway 6 N Houston TX 70084 to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth, as well as the rest of your body, in good shape.

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