Can your teeth reveal signs of disease?
Believe it or not, we are looking for more than just cavities whenever we examine your teeth. We evaluate your bite, your jaw joint (TMJ), and the surrounding tissue. During a thorough exam we look for signs or symptoms that may tell us other things about your overall health. After all, your mouth is the gateway to your body.
You may have type 2 diabetes:
Red and swollen gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease. According to the CDC; 47% of people over 30 and 70% of people over 65 have periodontal disease. And research has shown that diabetes makes periodontal disease worse. So if you constantly have bleeding or swollen gums, we may question whether or not you have a family history of diabetes.
You have acid reflux:
If you have solid brushing and flossing habits but you still notice some lingering bad breath, it may be a sign of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Your teeth may also show signs of erosion or wear caused from your stomach acid. Many times you are unaware there is even an issue because it can happen while you sleep.
You are really stressed:
Stress can cause us to clench and grind our teeth. Your teeth may show signs of wear or they may develop cracks. The wearing of your teeth can affect the cosmetics of your smile or even develop into joint problems. We are also on the lookout for canker sores. They are more likely to develop while you (or your body) are under stress.
You have an autoimmune disease:
If your mouth feels very dry and you have difficulties producing saliva, it is possible you have Sjogren’s disease. This condition attacks the glands that make saliva and tears. There is no cure for Sjogren’s but symptoms can be managed to help return some moisture.