8/21/2012 8:15 AM
Do you believe your dentist should only be responsible for protecting your teeth? Think again.
Your dentist is sometimes your first line of defense when it comes to diagnosing several chronic health issues.
Your dentist is trained to spot abnormalities in your mouth that can be a sign of a medical problem. While there are more than 120 different diseases that show symptoms in the mouth, we compiled a list of three to give you an idea of what abnormalities your dentist is on the lookout for during your routine exam and cleaning.
- Anemia – Anemia is a condition in which your red blood cell count is lower than normal. If you have anemia, you may not be getting the oxygen-rich blood your body needs. Your mouth tissue will appear pale and you may have a swollen and inflamed tongue, called glossitis.
- GERD – Dentists are usually the first to spot the serious signs of GERD. GERD is a gastrointestinal disease that causes the acids in your stomach to make their way back into your oral cavity. Dentists spot the problem in dental erosion as this is one of the most common symptoms of GERD.
- Diabetes – Oral tissues may reveal lesions or pathology that are the first signs of systemic disease.
Now that you know your dentist doesn’t only fix your teeth, remember to schedule appointments to see your dentist twice a year. Preventive checkups provide dentists with opportunities to identify dental diseases and in some cases, other diseases in your body.