The Mouth-Body Connection
Being diligent about your twice-yearly visits to the dentist is extremely important, not only to maintain your oral health, but your dentist can see other health issues by conditions of your mouth and teeth. Early warnings for these health threats can mean early detection and treatment by your physician.
Mouth and Jaw Pain
Often pain in your mouth or jaw can mean infection below a tooth, sinus problems or gum disease. Jaw pain can also be a symptom of heart issues, so make sure you visit with your dentist at the first sign of painful jaw or tooth. Untreated infections in the mouth can travel to the blood stream and affect other body systems.
Bleeding and Sore Gums
Bleeding or aching gums may indicate gum disease getting worse or possibly diabetes. Gum disease is often more severe in people with underlying conditions such as diabetes, which reduces the body’s resistance to infection. This puts gums at risk for inflammation from bacteria that live in plaque. Dry mouth, fruity smelling breath, or oral fungal infections may also indicate possible diabetes.
Teeth that move or fall out unexpectedly may mean loss of bone density that has weakened the jaw bones due to osteoporosis. By seeing your dentist regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting plenty of exercise, you dentist inform you of the need to see your physician.
Changes in Tooth Enamel
When we frequently eat acid containing foods and soft drinks, the tooth enamel can be damaged. Erosion of the enamel, if serious, exposes the dentin, or inner layer of the teeth, which can lead to sensitivities to hot and cold foods. This may indicate to the dentist that bulimia or acid reflux is causing your teeth erosion. Another problem causing erosion is grinding your teeth, usually when you are asleep and aren’t aware that you are doing it.
Bad breath can be caused by a dry mouth, lingering food and drink on teeth, gum disease and gingivitis. If bad breath doesn’t respond to treatment, it may signal sinus infections, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, lung, kidney, or liver disease.