You already know that regular dental cleanings are important to protect your teeth and gums. Regularly removing plaque and attending your checkups can help you to ward off cavities, dental emergencies, periodontal (gum) disease, and more. And of course, healthy teeth and gums will mean you spend less on out-of-pocket dental care.
But did you know that your dentist can detect health conditions beyond his or her specialty? He won’t diagnose you with these conditions, of course, but will point out any warning signs and urge you to go see your regular doctor right away.
Warning signs of heart disease. Oddly enough, the bacteria that contribute to periodontal disease, or gum disease, can make their way into your bloodstream. They can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries or contribute to heart disease. When your dentist spots signs of gum disease, it might also be a good idea to attend a heart health screening.
Diabetes. Bleeding gums and unpleasant breath are early warning signs of diabetes. This is especially true if you practice good oral hygiene. Your dentist might recommend that you get screened for diabetes if she notices certain signs in your mouth.
Leukemia. Leukemia in more advanced stages can cause gums to swell and bleed. Getting tested can be a wise step if you experience these symptoms unexpectedly.
Kidney disease and pancreatic cancer. Periodontal disease is also linked to kidney disease and pancreatic cancer. Since the links go both ways, your doctor and dentist each need to know if you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions.
Crohn’s disease. If your dentist notices certain lesions in your mouth (white with red circles around them) this can be a sign of Crohn’s disease. This is especially true if you suffer any type of digestive discomforts on a regular basis.
Oral health is strongly linked to inflammation and other health conditions in the rest of the body. So, attending your twice-annual dental cleanings can actually be a great way to keep your whole body healthy. And if you’re worried about the price tag, know that some Private Insurance plans now include coverage for dental health care. Contact a licensed agent for details