It’s been said that the mouth is the gateway to the body, and nowadays it can also be said that the mouth can be the warning center for the body. Many patients may not know that symptoms in the mouth can be underlying signs of changes in your body. Today, Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming in Nashville, TN are taking a look at just a few conditions that can be spotted from changes in your mouth. Please keep in mind, however, that the best ones to diagnose your conditions are your medical doctors.
Pregnant women often experience pregnancy gingivitis, a form of inflammation that occurs from hormonal changes in the woman’s body. Blood fills the gums, causing them to turn red and sensitive. If a dentist sees a healthy female patient with this condition, and little signs of periodontal disease, it very well could be a sign of pregnancy.
If we find that our female patients have symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis, we may advise them to get tested at their doctor’s office.
Heart Disease and Diabetes
While there are no direct links that have been found between dental health and heart disease or diabetes, there is research with strong suggestions that the bacteria from periodontal disease can travel through the bloodstream and cause inflammation. Periodontal disease is also a common symptom of diabetes, as a result of high blood sugar. They often take the form of abscesses on the gum and horrible bad breath.
As part of your semi-annual check-ups, Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming will check your mouth for all sorts of warning signs of oncoming disease. But the symptoms of abscesses and uncontrolled inflammation may require medical attention for possible diabetes or heart disease links.
Osteoporosis is the reduction in bone mass around the body, and the signs of this can become evident in the jawbone. Typically, osteoporosis is not immediately recognizable until an injury occurs, but dentists can see signs of jawbone loss during routine x-rays or from loosening teeth. X-rays can tell a lot about the density of bone around a patient’s mouth, and if there’s been a significant reduction in a short time, while also taking into account the patient’s age and diet, then we may refer you to your medical doctor for further tests. This condition can be even riskier if the dental patient is also interested in dental implants, as the procedure could put their jawbone at risk for further damage.
Acid reflux disease is an uprising of stomach acids in the mouth, occurring persistently after mealtimes. This constant presence of stomach acids can wear away at the enamel, leaving the more sensitive parts of the teeth exposed. As the enamel becomes thinner, it’ll become more obvious for the dentist to spot, even if you may not be feeling the symptoms yourself.
Let Us Check Your Oral Health
At Dentistry of Nashville, the oral health of our patients is one of our top priorities, but we also understand that the mouth is the gateway to the human body, and that changes in your body can sometimes reflect in your smile. We look out for these symptoms as part of our routine dental cleanings, and want to make sure that our patients are happy and healthy. If you have a dental issue that seems unexplained, sensitive, or painful, consult with Drs. Elam, Vaughan, or Fleming, and we’ll be happy to take a look.