The condition of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole. Your dentist may be the first health care provider to see signs of a health problem.
Following are some medical conditions and their oral symptoms:
Oral cancer—Dentists can now do a “brush biopsy” which involves scraping cells from oral tissue to screen for precancerous changes in tissue. The cells are sent to a lab for analysis. Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S., and 25 percent of people diagnosed with it have none of the traditional risk factors typically associated with the disease. Oral cancer can be prevented if found and treated at the precancerous stage.
Pregnancy complications—Studies show that pregnant women with severe gum disease have seven times the risk of delivering a low-birthweight baby. These pregnancy complications may be partially preventable through improved oral health during pregnancy. The National Institutes of Health reports that as many as 18 percent of the 250,000 premature low-weight infants born in the U.S. may be the result of inflammatory gum disease.
Heart disease—Studies have shown that people with severe periodontal disease are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those without gum infection. It appears that older adults who have higher proportions of four periodontal disease causing bacteria also tend to have thicker carotid arteries, a strong predictor of stroke and heart attack.
Other predictors of heart disease include inflammation of the gums around the teeth due to improper oral hygiene, cavities and missing teeth.
Diabetes—Many people who have diabetes may not know they have it. Diabetics tend to get periodontal disease at a rate of three to four times higher than people without diabetes. Diabetes can also cause other oral symptoms, including dry mouth, a burning of the mouth or tongue, a fungal infection called thrush, or a distinct breath odor.
These are more good reasons to visit Angell’s Dentistry regularly. If Dr. Angellt or our hygienists see something out of the ordinary during your exam, we will tell you so you can follow up with your physician. It could result in early detection and successful treatment of a more serious condition. And, if you know you are at risk for certain illnesses, by all means tell us.
Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. We invite you to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.