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What can a dental exam reveal about your overall health?

Research has shown that 90% of systemic diseases have oral symptoms. A dental exam may reveal problems with your bones, heart, and digestion. When you visit your hygienist she is looking for more than cavities and broken teeth. She is also looking at your gums, tongue, cheeks, and the skin on your face. Some common health issues dentists and hygienists look for include:

Anemia: The color of your gums is checked. Pale or white gums indicate low blood hemoglobin, which means not enough oxygen in your blood. Low oxygen can contribute to heart failure.

Heart disease: If you have inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease the bacteria in your mouth can travel in your blood to your heart and contribute to coronary artery disease.

Diabetes: Periodontal disease, bleeding gums, and loose teeth are all signs of diabetes. Also, infections in your mouth can worsen the effects of your diabetes.

Anorexia/Bulimia: People with eating disorders often try to hide them but a dentist or hygienist may spot signs first. Erosion of tooth enamel is one sign as well as dry mouth and bleeding gums.

GERD/Acid Reflux Erosion on the backs of your teeth can indicate reflux of stomach juices. This can cause erosion of the esophagus and may lead to esophageal cancer.

Cancer: During your exam the hygienist will check your soft tissues for irregular bumps and lumps for changes as well as skin cancer on your head and neck. Sores that don’t heal are another clue to oral cancer.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis does not affect the teeth but it does affect the bone around the teeth. A receding gum line and loose teeth can be a sign of osteoporosis.

At Alouf Aesthetics we are concerned with more than just your teeth. We care about your overall health and well being.

Shelly Koon, RDH, BSHS

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