Your dentist doesn’t just look at your teeth.
When you go to the dentist, we take a good look at your teeth. But there are other parts of the mouth that we look at that can help diagnose a systemic disease that has gone undiagnosed.

Warning Signs in the Mouth

With American diets, diabetes has become a more common disease. The gums can be red and inflamed—periodontal disease will be exaggerated with diabetes. There is also a different kind of sweet smell from unmetabolized sugar in the system. Your dentist can help detect that.

Acid reflux or GERD (gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease) can show up on teeth from a chemical erosion. The stomach acids, with the very low pH, slowly dissolve the enamel from the teeth. This is more pronounced in the lower teeth. There are also signs of bulimia which can be quite devastating. I’ve seen the enamel stripped off the inside of the teeth in one patient in her mid 20’s!

Gum disease has been shown to be related to both heart disease and possibly dementia! Bacteria are present in increased concentrations in the presence of gum disease, and these bugs can move to other places in the body and wreak havoc.

X-rays can also give evidence of problems with bones, namely any suspicion of a decrease in bone density. The patient can then check with his physician who can perform the appropriate tests and prescribe recommended treatments.

So dentists are playing an increasing role in the overall health of their patients.