7 Health Conditions Your Dentist May Notice
Going to the dentist is important for more than just getting your teeth cleaned. Your dentist may be able to spot a wide variety of health conditions just by looking at your teeth, gums, and tongue. Read on to learn more about what your dentist may see.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is an autoimmune disease, meaning it triggers an abnormal immune response where your healthy cells are attacked as if they were the pathogen. HIV specifically targets a particular cell in your immune system and over time your body is no longer able to defend itself.
Because HIV targets your immune system, your dentist may see multiple conditions in your mouth that don’t usually go together. These include, but are not limited to, thrush, dry mouth, gum disease, oral cancer specifically Kaposi’s Sarcoma, canker sores, and potentially more.
This is an autoimmune condition where your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva so your mouth gets dry and bacteria can grow a lot easier which can lead to gum disease and cavities. One solution is upping your fluid intake.
Water or milk works the best for your teeth. Water rehydrates and milk can strengthen your teeth with calcium and other minerals. A lot of other drinks, whether they’re sports drinks, energy drinks, juice, coffee, etc. are either acidic, sugary, or discolor your teeth, and some even have all three.
Generally, osteoporosis isn’t thought of as an oral condition, but it can definitely affect your jaw and teeth. If a dentist notices someone has receding gums and their teeth are loosening or wiggling, but their oral health is good to great, they may bring up the possibility of osteoporosis. The condition is the weakening of bones that’s most common in post-menopausal women.
Crohn’s Disease is an autoimmune chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Now, that may sound the furthest from something your dentist could notice, but a similar inflammation can happen in your mouth causing small red bumps in your gums around your teeth which your dentist may notice. This is not to be confused with pimples in the gums which is a sign of infection/dental abscess.
have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease, producing less saliva, chronic bad breath, or breath that smells “fruity” as this is a result of your body burning fat instead of sugar. They also have a higher risk of developing oral thrush, which is an overgrowth of white fungus that can lead to loss of taste, inflammation, and slight bleeding.
Babies, the elderly, and the immunocompromised are more likely to get oral thrush due to a weakened immune system. If left untreated, oral thrush can spread to your esophagus and over time and cause more serious problems.
Celiac Disease is another autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your small intestine, but only when you ingest gluten, which is a key protein in wheat and wheat-based foods. While the majority of symptoms are in your intestines, you may experience frequent canker sores, a burning sensation in your tongue, and/or weaker enamel.
is when the contents of the stomach flow back up into the esophagus. This happens when the esophageal sphincter weakens or abnormally relaxes. The stomach acid can eat away at your tooth enamel, and your dentist may ask if they notice your teeth have noticeable less enamel than from your last visit. GERD may also cause trouble swallowing, heartburn, and/or chest pain.
Do You Need an Appointment?
Maybe you know you have one of these conditions but don’t know how it’s affecting your teeth, or you see the signs of these conditions but don’t know if you actually have them.
Maybe you just need a teeth cleaning. Whatever your situation is you can call our office at (616) 259-5887 for Cascade, (616) 384-4129 for Coopersville, and (269) 509-4155 for Wayland to schedule an appointment.