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Disease detectives

Posted in: Blog, by harpenden, on 7th October 2016 | 0 comments

We all know eagle eyed dentists can spot tooth decay and gum disease but did you know their detective work can also help identify conditions that affect other parts of your body too.

Also, when your dentist gives you advice, it’s wise to take heed and stay on top of your oral hygiene as poor dental health can increase your risk of developing certain diseases, including:

Dementia

Inadequate dental hygiene can suggest that a patient is perhaps not looking after themselves as well as they once were. Neglect of daily routines may be a sign of dementia as this condition can cause memory loss and confusion. Also, studies have shown that older people who brush their teeth less frequently are more likely to develop this disorder.

Heart problems

Keeping your mouth in peak condition can help protect your precious ticker. If the bacteria in plaque is left to stick around, it can contribute to the development of heart disease.

Oral cancer

Signs of this increasingly prevalent disease can be spotted by your helpful dentist. Oral cancer screening is now routinely carried out during check-ups, which can aid early detection and successful treatment.

Anaemia

If the lining of the mouth is very pale coloured or the tongue smooth looking, the dentist may suspect anaemia.

Diabetes

Diabetics are more prone to gum disease, so bleeding gums or wobbly teeth may be indicators of this auto-immune disease. A dry mouth can also indicate diabetes, as can slower healing.

Osteoporosis

Most common in post-menopausal women, osteoporosis can cause the bones to become fragile and that includes the bone that holds your teeth in place. This thinning of the bones may show up as receding gums and wobbly teeth.

Acid reflux

Erosion of tooth enamel, particularly on the upper back molars, can indicate gastro-oesophageal reflux (GERD); a digestive disorder that causes stomach acid to find its way back into the oesophagus and the mouth. You’ll thank your dentist for spotting this damage to your teeth as GERD can cause erosion of the oesophagus and even cancer.

Stress

Stress can have a number of unpleasant effects on the body, including teeth grinding (bruxism). This can happen while a patient is asleep, so they may be unaware they have a problem until the dentist notices tooth wear.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Jaw swelling and an inability to open the mouth properly may indicate that the patient is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis – an auto-immune disease that can affect people of all ages.

So, if you want to keep your mouth and the rest of your body in the very best of health, make sure you see us regularly – your next check-up might turn out to be a real lifesaver!


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