How a Dentist Can Save Your Life

When it comes to saving lives, we usually think of our medical physicians, not our dentists. However, dentists are life-saving heroes, too. How so? Dentists Browns Bay can tell you more about your overall health than most people realize. Your mouth is like a window into the rest of your health, and by looking for certain clues, a dentist can identify potential medical problems like diabetes, kidney disease, and osteoporosis.

Eight signs dentists look for and what they could mean:

1. Excessive cavities and inflamed gums - Chronic dental infections may be a sign of heart disease. Clinical studies have linked periodontal disease and heart disease. When you keep up with regular dental visits, your dentist is often the first line of defense - he or she can recognize potential heart problems even if you haven't been to the physician in awhile.

2. Breath that smells like ammonia - This is a common symptom of kidney disease and is often accompanied by a metallic taste in your mouth. Be sure to divulge anything that seems unusual; after ruling out dental problems, your dentist can advise you on what to do next.

3. Bright red, bleeding gums and bad breath - These may be signs of gum disease or Type 2 diabetes. A trip to the dentist can confirm whether you have gum disease. If you don't, your dentist may recommend a visit to your physician for a diabetes evaluation.

4. Fiery red gums and slow-to-heal mouth sores - These may be signs of leukemia. As with any cancer, leukemia requires immediate care. A regular dental exam can turn out to be a lifesaver because your dentist will see the signs even if you don't.

5. Sour or burning taste in your mouth - This could be a sign of acid reflux, especially if your teeth also show signs of enamel erosion. Many dentists can offer helpful dietary tips; at the very least, your dentist can make you aware of a potential problem and advise you to see a medical physician.

6. Rapid tooth loss - Aging and periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, but dentists know that rapid tooth loss may be a sign of osteoporosis. Early recognition is critical because getting treated for osteoporosis may help prevent more severe damage like hip fractures.

7. Blocking of the airway - If your tongue falls back and blocks your airway while in the dental chair, you may have sleep apnea. Consider yourself fortunate if your dentist sees the signs; sleep apnea can be treated with oral appliances or oral surgery.

8. White spots on your gums - White spots or patches on your gums may be signs of oral cancer. As with many diseases, the earlier oral cancer's caught, the better. Your dentist can help save your life by checking for oral cancer on a regular basis.

Who knew your dentist was such a life-saver? Now that you do, it should give you even more incentive to stay on top of regular dental exams.