During a routine dental exam, your lips, gums, and teeth could reveal a wide array of potential health problems. Dentists explain what they might see in your mouth and how you should handle each situation. Search this Canadian Pharmacyfor affordable medications that treat the following illnesses and many more.
Problems: Slight tissue discolorations in your throat that are redder or whiter than normal could signal the beginning of numerous oral cancers that the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes. They’re common in 40- to 55-year-old men, which might increase their neck and head cancer risks. But since those diseases also are rising in young men, Dr. Gigi Meinecke looks for those signs closely in male patients age 14 and up.
Solutions: Your dentist might want you to return after seven days to recheck the affected area. If the irregularity remains, see your doctor immediately for a biopsy. Early cancer detection increases your chances of treatment being successful, says Meinecke.
2. Heart Disease
Indicators: Periodontal or gum disease in an unexpected patient like a young adult who brushes regularly could indicate heart problems. Concern mounts when risk factors such as carrying extra pounds and a family history of cardiovascular problems coincide with red, swollen, bleeding gums, says Meinecke. Inflamed cells can travel from your mouth to your heart via your blood stream, explains Dr. Tim Rudd. Periodontal disease triples your heart attack and stroke chances, warns Dr. David Paquette.
Treatments: A study found that gum disease treatments including deep cleanings may help you avoid hospitalizations for heart disease, strokes, and other health conditions. Also visit your physician to determine your heart disease risk and start you on any preventative drugs if necessary.
Suspicious symptoms: Dry mouth with less than normal spit might signify diabetes. You may not feel parched until you’re producing half of the standard saliva amount, advises Meinecke. But your dentist has the training to spot dehydration much earlier. Slowly healing mouth sores, cuts, and burns also provide clues to underlying blood sugar issues as do gum inflammation and persistent bad breath.
Current and future fixes: Consult your physician to check your blood glucose and prescribe medications to control elevations. According to researchers, an upcoming process will allow dentists to use blood they collect from your gums to screen and manage diabetes during routine visits.
4. Crohn’s Disease
Warning signs: If the gums surrounding your teeth have raised bumps resembling cobblestones, your mouth may be experiencing the inflammation that causes Crohn’s disease in the intestines, says Meinecke. Because they’re pain free, your dentist may spot them before you do. Frequent canker sores, or small painful mouth ulcers, also might mean that you have Crohn’s or other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Remedies: To calm your oral swelling, your dentist might prescribe a topical corticosteroid. Also consult a gastroenterologist to evaluate and treat whatever’s happening inside your gut.
5. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Clues: Visible jaw swelling with pain could be rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Unlike osteoarthritis that afflicts older people mostly, RA occurs in young people sometimes. Half of the patients with this early-onset autoimmune condition display temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) symptoms first. Besides an achy feeling in your jaws, your mouth also may not open widely, says Meinecke.
Your next step: For RA diagnosis and treatment, discuss this issue with a rheumatology specialist or your doctor. In addition to a physical exam, he may do blood tests and x-rays. Various medicines can reduce joint swelling, pain, soreness, and stiffness.
Evidence: You may have undetected osteoporosis until you suffer a bone fracture or dental x-rays reveal bone loss. During regular dental exams, Rudd evaluates patients’ bone densities orally to make sure they don’t fall outside of the normal range.
Tests and treatments: Ask your doctor about undergoing a bone density test to measure bone mass in your total body, spine, hip, or ankle. If you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, he may recommend combining a drug that slows further bone loss with calcium, vitamin D, and exercise.
Mental markers: Your mouth offers clues to what’s happening in your brain. Gingivitis bacteria occur in dementia patients’ gums and brain tissues, Rudd says. Dentists also correlate tooth loss with failing memory.
Necessary care: Besides a physical exam and lab tests, you doctor will review your medical history and any changes in your thinking, daily functioning, and behaviors to reach a dementia diagnosis. Depending on your dementia type and stage, various medicines may improve your symptoms.
8. Acid Reflux
Common patterns: Any substance that has a 5.5 or lower pH can erode tooth enamel. Because gastric acid’s pH may drop to 1.5, it can wear away the backs of your lower teeth easily like a caustic acid wash, warns Meinecke. A study found that around one in four chronic reflux patients ― even those without obvious symptoms like heartburn ― also had tooth erosion.
Resolution: To avoid untreated reflux leading to more severe health concerns like respiratory conditions and esophageal cancer, visit a gastroenterologist. He can prescribe a medication that reduces your stomach’s acid production.