The health of your mouth can affect your whole body. The next time your dentist tells you to open wide, they can tell a whole lot more than whether or not you’ve been brushing
“More than 120 medical conditions can be detected in the early stages by a dentist.”
Oral Cancer~ According to New York City–based dentist Lindi Orlin, DMD, most people don’t notice warning signs of oral cancer—like lesions—in their mouths. “If patients have red bumps or spots in their mouth, they often ignore them, which can lead to much more serious problems down the line.”
Two of the major health issues associated with oral problems include diabetes and heart disease. According to WebMD, the working relationship between diabetes and periodontitis may be the strongest of all the connections between the mouth and body. Inflammation that starts in the mouth seems to weaken the body’s ability to control blood sugar. Often, by managing one, it can help bring the other under control.
Gum disease and heart disease often go hand in hand. Up to 91% of patients with heart disease have periodontitis; the two conditions have several risk factors in common, such as smoking, unhealthy diet, and excess weight. “The theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels.”
There are many other things that may be detected by your dental provider. Your gums may bleed after a regular brushing session or after flossing for the first time in a while, but if they bleed consistently, there’s a problem. “Bleeding gums are a sign of inflammation—basically, you’re walking around with an infected mouth, which could potentially spread to the rest of your body,” says Dr. Zeines.
Also, an otherwise healthy but painful lower first molar can signal digestive troubles.
Last but certainly not least, pay attention to your tongue. It can tell the dentist a lot about what may be going on. “If the tip of your tongue is red, that may indicate a thyroid defect or heart problem, whereas a tongue with a yellowish-green tint can indicate liver or gallbladder problems.
For more information pertaining to other disease states read below.