Two Diseases Your Dentist Might Notice First

Older man considering his oral healthAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 90% of all pathologies have symptoms that show in the oral cavity. Whether it’s gum inflammation, dry mouth, or bone loss, your dentist has a privileged view of your overall health via the “window” of your mouth. Today, we’re taking a look at two diseases with initial symptoms that could show up during a routine checkup.

Diabetes

Classified as a metabolic disorder, diabetes is characterized by elevated blood glucose (blood sugar) caused by the body’s failure to produce enough insulin. High blood sugar creates a ready source of food for certain types of oral bacteria that cause gum disease. In addition, many diabetics have poor circulation, meaning that adequate blood supply cannot reach gums and the inflammation and infection caused by gum disease cannot heal properly. During an appointment, if your dentist notices signs of gum disease (like gums that bleed when probed, bad breath, and periodontal pockets) and you also have other risk factors for diabetes (like high body mass, you smoke, or you’re over the age of 50), he may refer you to a physician for diabetes testing.

Heart Disease

Heart disease and gum disease have a close but not fully understood relationship. However, as more in the medical and dental field have come to accept the connection, more research is being funded. According to one study conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease sufferers are two times more likely to also have heart disease. In another study, scientists found that patients with high levels of certain oral bacteria in their blood had increased cases of clogged carotid arteries, one of the leading factors contributing to stroke. Should your dentist diagnose you with gum disease and you also have other risk factors associated with heart disease, he may recommend that you visit your physician or a cardiologist.

About Shawn Hofkes, DDS

With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and oral pathology, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to diagnose and recommend treatments for a wide range of oral diseases from our comfortable, state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.