Dentists are tooth experts…the all-knowing oral health experts. But your dentist is trained to do much more than simply look at your teeth. Did you know that your dentist can spot evidence of more than 120 different diseases in or around your mouth?
Here are three health problems for which your dentist might be your first line of defense:
Anemia – Anemia is a condition in which your red blood cell count is lower than normal. If you have anemia, you may not be getting the oxygen-rich blood your body needs. Your mouth tissue may look pale and you may have glossitis, a swollen and inflamed tongue.
GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. GERD causes the acids in your stomach to make their way back into your oral cavity. Dentists are often the first to identify GERD in patients because one major sign of the disease is dental erosion.
Diabetes – About a third of people with diabetes aren’t aware they have it. Because of high glucose levels, people with diabetes often have problems with their teeth and gums. Dentists who talk to patients with serious gum disease about their personal and family medical history can encourage patients likely to have diabetes to their primary care physician for further testing.
Oral health is important to your overall health…and your mouth can be an indicator of other health problems. Be sure to brush and floss regularly in addition to visiting your dentist for regular checkups.