Regular visits to the dentist not only help decrease and minimize oral health concerns – primarily tooth decay and gum diseases, but are also important in discovering and diagnosing other, sometimes more severe medical conditions.
Dentists know how to assess the overall oral health of their patients, but they may also be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a potential disorder – including cancer, diabetes, as well as eating disorders, whose symptoms are often visible in the mouth.
Over 35,000 new cases of oral cancer are reported annually in the country, making it one of the more common cancers among the population.
Oral cancer can be characterized by bleeding lumps, sores, or hard and thickened spots inside the mouth. Furthermore, there is a change in the way the teeth fit together.
Oral cancer is one of those that are difficult to self-detect and diagnose, so a dental check up is recommended. A dentist will feel around for any lumps or irregular growths in the head, cheeks, neck and the oral cavity. Also, dentists will examine the tissues within the mouth, to specifically look for discoloured tissues and/or sores.
In the United States alone, over 25 million suffer from diabetes.
Diabetes reduces our bodies’ resistance to infection. This means that the gums are at a higher risk for gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums. This usually happens when there are bacteria from the plaque – and as a result, the body inflames the area to protect itself. Furthermore, those who have diabetes are seen to have a higher occurrence of oral infections and have persistent bad breath.
Eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, rob the body of its much needed nutrients. Because of the lack of nutrition, the gums tend to lose their healthy pinkish color and become tender and soft, and tend to bleed easily.
For eating disorders that involve binging and vomiting such as bulimia nervosa, the teeth can become discoloured and eroded because it constantly is in contact with the acid from the stomach. Other symptoms of such eating disorders are sensitive teeth, dry mouth, swollen salivary glands and the loss of tooth enamel.
Illnesses and diseases indeed affect our overall health – but they can also damage our dental health as detailed in the above scenarios. Hence, regularly seeing your dentist can help diagnose these problems so they can be detected and treated early – before things get worse.
If you are visiting your dentist and are suspecting that there is a deeper problem underlying your poor oral health, disclose any worries you might have so your dentist will have an idea of what to look for. This way, your worries can either be confirmed – in which you will be able to act in advance to prevent the condition from worsening; or denied – which means that you don’t have to worry about your condition. You deserve not only a competent, but compassionate and sensitive dentist who will understand your concerns as well as their urgency. The team of Sugar Land Dental Spa is here to help address your worries. Contact us today.