When you inspect your own mouth, chances are the largest problems you’ll notice may be that your teeth need whitening or you may have a cavity. Yet when a trained dentist inspects your teeth, they can often detect problems that go far beyond oral hygiene.
Thanks to a host of scientific advancements and a better understanding of how the various areas of our body are connected, we can now detect diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Diabetes just by looking into the patient’s mouth. Discussed below are some potential warning signs and what they can mean for your overall health.
Believe it or not, some of the earliest warning signs of obesity can be found on your teeth. If a dentist finds that a child is experiencing tooth decay or cavities, chances are they have been consuming high levels of fermentable carbohydrates (simple carbs that are fermented in your mouth, producing the acid that leads to tooth decay).
A high degree of such exposure automatically means that the child’s risk for obesity is exponentially greater. What begins as a mere dentist appointment can lead to a drastic change in your dietary guidelines.
Most individuals that contract Diabetes experience dental problems long before other symptoms appear. The same fermentable carbohydrates and simple sugars that cause damage to your teeth are also one of the leading causes of Type 2 Diabetes. If you are experiencing unusually high or acute levels of erosion, you are at a higher risk for this disease. Cutting your intake of simple sugars will help far more than just your smile.
The same foods that cause tooth decay and erosion will also increase your risk of various cancers. If you are experiencing unusual gum discoloration, bleeding gums, or severe cavities, these may be the symptoms of something far more sinister than poor oral hygiene. An improperly functioning immune system will often manifest itself in various forms, and your mouth is one of its many outlets.
4 Alzheimer’s Disease
This one is perhaps the most perplexing. A recent study by the American Dental Association found that individuals who lose most or all of their teeth are significantly more likely to experience problems with dementia later on, particularly Alzheimer’s. The science behind this finding is not very well understood at the moment, so suffice it to say that keeping your teeth in good shape can also help you ward off Alzheimer’s.
5 Heart Disease
The same foods that contain simple sugars that damage your teeth also tend to contain other unhealthy ingredients that can damage your heart. Trans-fats and high levels of sodium can both increase your risk for cardiovascular disease by a significant amount. If the bacteria that cause cavities find their way into your cardiovascular system, it too can lead to some serious trouble. Be sure to brush and floss as often as possible to minimize your risk.
While a visit to the dentist is hardly a replacement for a consultation with a licensed physician, it can nonetheless prove useful for more than your mouth. Next time you’re under the drill, ask your dentist if anything they see could potentially be a warning sign for other areas of your health.