Your dentist may know more about your overall health than you imagine. They can see clues in your mouth that relate to the health of your body and may even recommend you seek medical care.
So what does your mouth reveal about your health? Here are some signs that dentists and hygienists look for.
Tooth Enamel Erosion – When the enamel on your teeth is damaged or missing, we may ask if you have acid reflux or GERD. Acid in your mouth is one of the most common causes of this type of erosion and with these conditions your teeth soak in the acid that backs up, often overnight. We encourage anyone with acid reflux conditions to get medical help to prevent cavities, medical problems and damage to their teeth.
Breaking Teeth – When there is no obvious reason for teeth fracturing or breaking or a frequent pattern of it happening more often than usual, we may ask you about the stress in your life. Teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism, is a stress symptom that can wreck havoc on your mouth. It is much worse at night while you sleep and can put hundreds of pounds of pressure on your teeth without you knowing it. Bruxism can also damage your jaw, make teeth sensitive and cause headaches. We encourage you to find a resource for stress relief that works for you if you think you may be grinding or clenching your teeth.
Periodontal or Gum Disease – When this disease shows up suddenly or in someone who brushes, flosses and sees the dentist as recommended there may be something going on with their health. One of the common causes we might be concerned about is diabetes, but there are several to consider. We may recommend you see your doctor to make sure you aren’t developing this or other dangerous diseases that put your health and mouth at risk.
Bone Loss – Your dental x-rays reveal the level of bone around your teeth. A diminishing bone level can put you at risk for tooth loss and be a sign of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is more dangerous than most people realize. It puts you at risk for bone fractures and when those fractures are in places like your hips they may require surgery and a long recovery time. There are studies showing that your risk of death increases dramatically the first year after hip surgery, making treating osteoporosis before there is a problem a priority.
Upper Tooth Pain – When patients are experiencing pain in an upper tooth and we can’t find anything wrong, we often refer them to their medical doctor to check for a sinus problem or infection. It is common for sinus pain to radiate around the roots and nerves of teeth causing them to hurt. If you are not sure what is causing the pain, you may want to start with seeing your dentist. We can confirm or rule out tooth problems pretty easily and get you the help you need.
We care about both your dental and overall health. Staying current with your visits to the dentist and hygienist will help you stay informed about things that need attention and help catch them early.
If you don’t already have a dentist you love in the Orange County area, give us a call. We promise to take great care of you!
KN Dentistry – Orange, CA – (714) 633-2562