Although most people are aware that good oral hygiene and regular dentist visits are essential for dental health, some may not be aware that a dentist can learn about the overall state of a patient's health through a dental check-up. If you have been thinking of skipping or delaying your dentist appointment because you do not have any current issues with your gums or teeth, you should reconsider. Your dentist may be able to give you more knowledge about your health than you realize.
Analysis of Biofilm in the Mouth
When your dentist examines your mouth, he or she may notice unusual bacterial growth called a biofilm. Biofilm occurs when bacteria can overgrow and become sticky. The real concern happens when this glue-like biofilm causes the tissues of your mouth to become inflamed, leading to gingivitis and other oral health concerns. Overgrowth of bacteria is always a cause for concern due to the potential for it to penetrate the tissues and become an infection. During an exam, your dentist can look for signs of gingivitis or infection, such as gum inflammation or bleeding. This type of infection needs to be treated to prevent bacterial migration and the risk of infection elsewhere in the body.
Evidence of Disease Indicated by the Mouth
Although biofilm can be a precursor to the spread of disease from the mouth to the rest of the body, dentists can also analyze the conditions inside the mouth to see if the patient may be suffering from disease or illness elsewhere. If you already know you have a disease that can affect your oral health, it is especially important to schedule regular visits to the dentist to prevent further damage to the teeth and gums. Many patients are surprised when a dentist points out what a particular oral condition can indicate about overall health.
- An overgrowth of yeast in the mouth can develop into oral thrush and can indicate autoimmune conditions such as HIV or leukemia.
- Uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to oral thrush but is more likely to cause more severe gum diseases such as periodontitis. Leaving periodontitis untreated can cause a spread of infection into the bone of the jaw or even to other parts of the body such as the brain or joints.
- Acid reflux disease or frequent vomiting can both cause unusual tooth erosion and damage to the enamel. Damaged enamel can lead to more cavities and overall tooth decay.
- Swollen or bleeding gums that seem to have no other cause can rarely be an indicator of leukemia.
- If an infection of an unknown origin has been plaguing you and you have pain in the mouth and jaw near the back molars, it is possible that an impacted wisdom tooth has become infected and is causing a systemic issue.
Impact of Dental Health on Disease
Most people realize the importance of taking care of their teeth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. By becoming informed about the ways dental health affects the rest of the body, patients may be more motivated to
make sure dental visits become a part of the routine. Although some diseases can be caused by untreated dental issues, it is just as likely that a disease somewhere else in the body can be causing some of the dental concerns.
Schedule a Dental Visit
The best way to mitigate issues that can arise from dental health issues is to schedule a visit with your dentist for a regular dental check-up. The professional and experienced team at Delaware Smile Center will analyze the condition of your mouth and give you a recommendation for further analysis with your physician if any other diseases are suspected. If you have any questions about the services or want to schedule a visit, contact Delaware Smile Center at (302) 285-7645 today.