Can Dentists Identify Health Problems?
When we think of going to the dentist, we automatically think of our teeth – check-ups, fillings, visiting the hygienist but did you know that your dentist is there to care for more than just your teeth? Your dentist is able to identify a number of health problems.
Can dentists identify eating disorders?
People with eating disorders will often try to cover up their disorder, but a dentist is often one of the first people to spot it. People with anorexia have poor nutrition and this therefore can affect the development of their teeth. Brittleness and bleeding gums are just a few of the dental problems that anorexia can cause. If a patient has severe erosion of enamel on their teeth, it could be possible that they are suffering from Bulimia. This is because the stomach acid in vomit wears down the tooth’s enamel and makes teeth very sensitive.
Can dentists identify stomach problems?
Erosion of enamel from the insides of teeth, especially the upper back molars, can be a factor of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Stomach acid rises up through the oesophagus and can cause problems such as heartburn, nausea and tooth erosion. This is a common health problem that is usually easily treated by small changes to diet, changes to eating patterns and even changes in the way you sleep, for example, propping pillows behind you so that you are at a 45 degree angle instead of lying flat, making it harder for the acid to make its way up the oesophagus.
Can dentists identify diabetes?
Loose teeth, bleeding gums and slow healing times are all symptoms of diabetes. The most common dental problem amongst diabetic patients is gum disease. Infections of the gum line can cause further problems for diabetics as it can contribute to the risk of having strokes or heart disease. Diabetic patients must take extra care with their oral hygiene to limit their chances of becoming ill.
Can dentists identify debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s?
Dentists can discover symptoms of chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s, Dementia and Osteoporosis. These devastating illnesses can be spotted by dentists from only a few tell- tale symptoms. In older people, poor dental hygiene can be an indicator of a patient with dementia. While osteoporosis doesn’t harm teeth, a dentist will notice a weakened jaw bone that supports the teeth, which will present itself in a receding gum line or slightly looser teeth. Patients who may be showing signs of Parkinson’s may be suffering from a constant dry mouth that drinking extra fluids cannot fix.
If your dentist notices any of the above health problems, they’ll chat with you and discuss treatment options. They may even refer you to your doctor who will be able to inform you further.
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