Posted on: 30 September 2019
A thorough dental examination is an important part of every dental care plan. While most dental patients expect their dentist to use this type of appointment to check for gum diseases and look for indications that a cavity may be forming, many may not realize that their dentist may also be watching for signs of serious physical health problems that go far beyond their mouth.
If you are wondering what surprising things a dentist might learn about your overall physical health during your next dental exam, this information can help to enlighten you.
Winning the battle against cancer is much more likely when patients are diagnosed as early as possible. Dentists may be able to detect early changes in the mouth, gums, or teeth that may be associated with oral and some other types of cancer, including throat, larynx, esophageal, and cancers that may cause early changes in the lymph nodes found in the neck.
Dentists may also be the first to note growths and early changes in oral tissues related to human papillomavirus, or HPV, as well as those associated with tobacco and alcohol use. Some of the early warning signs of these oropharyngeal-related cancers may include:
- changes in the size or shape of the tonsils
- oral swellings, discolorations, sores, or ulcers
- visible lumps on the neck or throat
These signs, as well as hoarseness, persistent coughing, ear pain on one side, or numbness in the mouth may be most easily discovered by a skilled dentist during a regular dental exam.
Abnormal blood sugar readings associated with the development of diabetes are another serious health issue that may first be noticed during a dental examination. Persistent halitosis, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and many other types of dental issues are often present when blood sugar levels are uncontrolled and the patient is well on the way to developing diabetes.
When bone mass is lost due to osteoporosis, dental X-rays often provide the early clues that lead to a needed diagnosis. Dentists routinely compare past X-rays to their patient's current ones, a process that helps them spot bone loss in the early stages when patients can best be treated and the rate of bone loss is more easily slowed or reversed.
Dentists may also be able to note signs that their patients are suffering from other serious health problems, including heart issues, kidney disease, and leukemia.
If you would like to learn more about the many ways in which your physical health can benefit by having frequent dental exams, take time to have an in-depth discussion on the matter with a reputable dentist in your area. You may also want to find a dentist to schedule a dental exam with.Share