When people imagine talking with a dentist in their office, they often assume the conversation will be about brushing, flossing, and avoiding cavities. There are plenty of other issues a dentist can help you address, including some you might not even think of as dental.
Although treating oral cancer will likely require the services of an oral surgeon, your dentist is oftentimes the first person who gets a good look at possible problems. It can be hard for you to look around at spots on the insides of the gums or even the back of the throat. Likewise, something that might look like minor gum disease to you could be a warning sign a dentist will recognize.
The proximity of blood vessels in the mouth and bacteria makes the oral region a prime entry point for infections that can foster heart disease. Inflammation in the gums is also strongly correlated with heart disease, and a dentist is likely to be the first doctor to take a good look at what's going on.
Signs of excessive glucose production appear in all parts of your body, and that includes the mouth. It can promote the growth of plaque on your teeth, and it also can appear in your saliva as a soft, sticky film. Ulcers can appear on the gums, and you may experience bad breath. You might also notice pain while chewing.
If you're already aware that you have diabetes, you should mention this to your dentist in your first consultation. They can then take a closer look at how well your teeth are holding up. If necessary, they also can present you with treatment options for diabetes-related oral health issues.
The Onset of Dementia
While outright signs of issues like Alzheimer's disease aren't apparent in the mouth, dentists do see one of the first broad problems that arise from dementia. People who are struggling with dementia often have trouble maintaining their oral health regimens. If you've been diagnosed with a form of dementia, it's a good idea to discuss your specific needs with your hygienist and dentist.
Although we tend to think of head injuries as affecting the brain and the neck, the jaw and skull are often where signs of trouble appear. What might seem like a pain in your tooth or jaw may actually be a sign of a facial or head injury.