Routine visits to the dentist could be more important than you ever realized. Oral exams can reveal a considerable amount of information about the overall health of any patient, and dentists are increasingly able to recognize serious health conditions based on the evidence in our mouths. Here are some of the symptoms that can be used to identify more serious health concerns:
- Bad Breath: Foul odors can be associated with more than just poor oral hygiene. Halitosis can be caused by sinus infections, especially if the odor is still present after exhaling through the nostrils. Bad breath can be caused by sleep apnea as well, a condition that causes people to sleep with their mouths open at night. When they wake up, they can have dry mouths, which also causes bad breath. Gastroesophageal reflux disease has also been identified as a source of unpleasant breath.
- Bloody Gums: It’s normal for the gums to bleed after an extended period of not flossing, but if you notice bloody gums every time you floss, it could be a sign that your blood sugar is not under control. People who are prediabetic, or unaware that they have diabetes, have a predisposition to develop gum disease. There are treatments that your dentist can prescribe to help you battle gum disease before it becomes a bigger problem. However, if you consistently notice the presence of blood during and after flossing, then you should consider talking to your primary care doctor about a blood sugar test.
- Tongue Spots: If the dentist notices white patches on your tongue or inside your cheeks, it may be due to a problem with your immune system. The condition is called oral thrush, and it occurs when there is a buildup of the candida fungus, also known as yeast. It’s normal for everyone to have some candida present in their mouth, but a healthy immune system should be able to keep this fungus in check. Patients who are enduring chemotherapy, radiation treatments, or suffer from an HIV infection are more likely to develop oral thrush. However, gaps in the immune system’s ability to respond may also allow for candida fungus to take over. This could happen after ingesting prescribed antibiotics, inhaling corticosteroids to treat asthma, or if the patient is beginning to develop a cold.
- Eroded Teeth: People who are under a lot of stress may not realize that it can affect your smile. Stress can lead to intense clenching of the jaw, and many stressed out individuals grind their teeth. Both of these habits can quickly erode the teeth into flat projections with jagged corners, and patients who grind in their sleep may notice headaches in the morning. Clenching can damage the muscles that open and close the jaw, preventing patients with severe symptoms from being able to completely open their mouths after some time.
Babylon Dental Care has been treating patients like family for over 35 years. If you or a loved one are in need of an oral examination, please call us today at (631) 983-6665 to schedule your next appointment.