3 Health Problems a Dental Exam Could Reveal | James Heller DMD | A premiere cosmetic dental practice in Easton Massachusetts

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3 Health Problems a Dental Exam Could Reveal

Dental Exam

 3 Health Problems a Dental Exam Could Reveal

Dental ExamWhen you get a dental exam, you know your dentist is checking your teeth and gums for cavities or gum disease. But did you know that a dentist can actual spot other health problems — just by looking in your mouth? Here are three health problems a dentist could spot during a check up:

1. Diabetes

One major symptom of diabetes that your MD may be on the lookout for is increased thirst. But your dentist may be able to spot these signs even before you can. How? Diabetes is the inability of your body to produce insulin, which results in elevated glucose levels that your kidneys can’t process. This causes your body to make more urine, which requires fluids. If your body is busy converting fluids into urine, your mouth will be much dryer. But you might not even notice until your saliva production decreases by half. Your dentist will be able to tell much sooner.

2. Heart Disease

Gum or periodontal disease has been linked to heart problems. If you brush and floss frequently and still sport swollen, red and/or bleeding gums, your dentist might suspect an increased risk of heart attack. Your dentist can lower your risk of the bacteria in your mouth migrating to your arteries by doing deep cleans to remove the bacteria-causing plaque. You might also want to up your appointments from once every six months to once every three or four months to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

3. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

RA is an autoimmune disease that can strike people of any age. And unlike osteoarthritis, which most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine, half of people with early onset RA will first display symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and as many as 90% of RA sufferers may also have this issue. Jaw pain, swelling and an inability to open your mouth are signs of TMJ. Usually the treatment for TMJ includes eating soft foods, ice and heat packs, pain medications, exercises, relaxation, side sleeping, avoiding chewing gum, dental splints, and limited cortisone injections. In serious cases, surgery might be involved. But if you are experiencing TMJ as well as joint pain in other areas of your body, you might want to consult a specialist. 

Your next trip to the dentist might do more than save your teeth — it just might save your life! 

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