Your health can be measured with many different tests, but one of the best ways to gauge your level of health is to look at your teeth. While this may seem silly, what your teeth tell you about your health cannot be understated. Keep reading for a list of different medical concerns that doctors and dentists can diagnose while examining your teeth.
Diabetes or heart disease
Gum disease is generally caused by plaque build-up on your teeth around your gums. As this bacteria lingers, it turns into plaque, which inflames your gum line. Without proper treatment, this inflammation will develop into gingivitis. When left untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease, which is a lifelong condition that leads to deteriorating gum tissue and bone degradation. Having diabetes can make you more prone to all infections, including dental infections, even if you have good oral hygiene.
Additionally, many heart disease patients also have gum disease. Periodontal disease can actually lead to heart disease, when bacteria from your gums travels through your bloodstream to your heart. In fact, people with gum disease are two to three times more likely to have a heart attack when compared to people without gum disease.
Eating disorders or acid reflux
If you develop an eating disorder, your body will start to experience a variety of negative physical symptoms. One of these is tooth decay, especially with cases of bulimia. When someone is experiencing bulimia, they will actively make themselves vomit after eating. When they vomit, stomach acid enters the mouth and starts eating away at their tooth enamel. This can slowly lead to decay, cavities, and gum disease. Bulimia and anorexia also deprive the body of needed vitamins and minerals, which affects the body’s production of tooth enamel. This can lead to weakening enamel, which in turn leads to more cavities and gum disease.
Dentists see the same level of tooth decay when patients have acid reflux. The stomach acid that enters the throat and mouth during reflux will start, literally, poking holes in the teeth’s enamel. If you experience acid reflux, you might be able to feel little holes in your teeth, especially in your molars.
The word “cancer” is one that fills most of us with dread, but, for many cancers, early discovery is key to recovery. One way to know if you have oral cancer is to have your dentist check for sores or lumps in your mouth. If you’ve used chewing tobacco or smoked cigarettes, even if you don’t currently, make sure to have your dentist or doctor check your mouth regularly.
What teeth tell you about your health
The main takeaway is that you should pay attention to what teeth tell you about your health. Make sure to visit the dentist at least every six months, and floss and brush your teeth daily. You should also consider having your teeth evaluated by an orthodontist, to see if your bite or smile can be improved. If you feel ready to take this step, contact Smith Orthodontics for a free consultation!