When you go to the dentist, you learn all about the state of your teeth, your jaw bone, your tooth roots, and your gums. But can your teeth tell you things about the health of the rest of your body? The answer, surprisingly, is yes.
This month, we’re examining some of the ways your teeth can reveal things about your overall health--and they may even help diagnose a number of chronic diseases.
Diabetes mellitus can impact a number of organ systems throughout the body--including the teeth.
People with untreated diabetes often display a higher rate of tooth decay, due to increased sugar concentration in their saliva.
Additionally, diabetes impacts the body’s ability to fight common bacteria--the types that cause gum disease. As a result, a person with diabetes may exhibit unhealthy gums or even periodontal disease.
Diabetes may also cause xerostomia or dry mouth. High blood glucose levels can decrease saliva production, leading to a dry mouth, rough tongue, bad breath, and an increased risk of tooth decay.
Individuals with heart problems appear to be more susceptible to endocarditis if they have poor oral health.
The connection between inflammation of the endocardium of the heart and poor oral health lies in the transfer of bacteria from the teeth to the bloodstream. Unhealthy teeth and gums increase the likelihood of bacteria in the mouth transferring to the bloodstream, where it can travel to the lining of the heart.
Some studies also show that poor oral health is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and heart disease. This is because unhealthy gums have receded from the teeth, creating a deep pocket. This allows bacteria to penetrate the gums more easily.
Excessive bleeding from the gums is often one of the earliest symptoms of leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells. Leukemia compromises the body’s ability to produce red blood cells and platelets (cells that help the blood to clot). This can cause the gums to bleed excessively, especially during brushing and flossing.
A person with swollen and bleeding gums who also exhibits unexplained weight loss and fatigue may be recommended a test for leukemia.
Most people are familiar with chest and shoulder pain as indicators of an impending heart attack. However, it may be surprising to learn that jaw pain and toothache are also considered common warning signs of myocardial infarction.
Women are more likely than men to experience severe tooth or jaw pain before a heart attack. Jaw and neck pain are also associated with Silent Myocardial Infarction.
You may think that your teeth have no impact on your overall health. In truth, your overall health can have a big impact on your teeth and gums--and vice versa.
It’s important to schedule regular dental checkups to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.
Searching for a family dentist in Murfreesboro? Contact Stonegate Family Dentistry today.
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