A Dental Exam Shows More than the Health of your Teeth
We often put off going to the dentist until we have an emergency like a toothache that just won’t go away. Some of us have a dental phobia or anxiety about going to the dentist, but others just forget to make an appointment. However, getting your regular checkups at the dentist can show things about your overall health- not just the health of your teeth.
“The mouth often shows warning sign of other ailments or concerns that your body may be dealing with,” explains Dr. Wells of South Charlotte Dentistry, “And I look for more than just cavities when I do an exam.”
6 Things a Dental Exam Might Reveal:
- You’re Pregnant! Almost 40% of pregnant women develop gingivitis during their pregnancy. This is because of an increase in progesterone when allows more bacteria to grow. Of course, you are probably already aware that you are pregnant because gingivitis typically develops when most women are pretty far along.
- You have diabetes. Imbalances in blood sugar can cause a rapid change in your gums- increasing swelling, bleeding, and sensitivity. Your saliva may have also changed consistency. If Dr. Wells notices these types of changes, he will alert you to make a doctor’s appointment to check for diabetes.
- You have a vitamin deficiency. A lack of certain vitamins in your diet can cause mouth conditions like burning tongue syndrome, increased infections, delayed healing, or easy-to-bleed gums. Iron deficiencies are some of the most common.
- You have oral cancer. Oral cancer is quite serious and is something Dr. Wells is always on the lookout for. Unexplained bleeding in the mouth, swellings, lumps or bumps on the lips, and eroded areas on the lips and gums can all be signs of oral cancer. The sooner cancer is detected the better.
- You have a sinus infection. A lot of times a sinus infection masquerades as a toothache. This is because the teeth are positioned right underneath the floor of the sinuses. Both sinus infections and toothaches show symptoms of pressure.
- You love Sports Drinks! Drinking a lot of sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks weaken the enamel of your teeth because of the high amounts of acid. Gatorade and other sports drinks are even more acidic than soda. Weakened enamel makes your teeth more susceptible to chips. So, if you are drinking these sports drinks while playing sports, you are even more likely to suffer a tooth chip!
We all know we should go see the dentist every six months for a checkup. Hopefully, this list will encourage you to keep your appointments. Your mouth reveals a lot more about your health than just your teeth’s condition. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist, make an appointment. We promise not to judge you for not coming in sooner!