March 22, 2009
Top Ten Health Reasons to See Your Dentist
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The list of reasons to visit your dentist regularly continues to grow. Last week the American Dental Association and Dr. Joseph Kravitz of the Center for Dental Health in Washington D.C. provided a top ten list of diseases that your dentist may spot early warning signs of when you’re in the chair.
1. Oral Cancer: Typically this shows up as a white spot on the gums or anywhere in the mouth. It can be a tiny growth or sore that just doesn’t go away.
2. Heart Disease: Inflamed gums, cavities and missing teeth are clues to heart ailments. Sometimes it’s linked to an infection around the third molar or related to root remnants of decayed teeth.
3. Type II Diabetes: Bad breath, bleeding gums, dry mouth and receding gums have all been linked to diabetes.
4. Kidney Disease: If you have a metallic our otherwise nasty taste in your mouth, that could indicate kidney problems.
5. Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): This is not heartburn. GERD is when acid backflows from the stomach into the throat, or esophagus.
6. Osteoporosis: If your jaw doesn’t look as dense at it should, this could be a first indication of osteoporosis (bone loss). Rapidly progressing gum disease or tooth loss are symptoms too.
7. Leukemia: Swollen gums, bleeding gums, bad breath and impacted teeth are all symptoms of this cancer of the blood cells.
8. Stress: You know the symptoms – a sore or stiff neck, aching jaw or teeth and headaches. Sometimes poorly aligned bites or missing teeth can be a problem as can nightly tooth grinding and clenching.
9. Sleep Apnea: You may actually stop breathing for a few moments and wake gasping for air.
10. Bulimia: An eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging. Repeated exposure to acid from your stomach can eat away at your tooth enamel.
A trip to the dentist is just one more way to protect your overall health. Since most people go to their doctor once a year for a physical, your six month check ups at the dentist can help spot a problem while it’s still very treatable. If you have a chronic disease like diabetes, problems with your metabolic control affect your mouth. To find a dentist who understands the links between oral health and diabetes you may want to visit a DentistryForDiabeticsSM dentist. Click here to find one in your area.
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