4 Surprising Medical Conditions Your Dentist May Find First
September 20, 2020
Have you ever put off your routine visit due to a hectic schedule? Or canceled your appointment because something else came up? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, then you are not alone. Over one-third of Americans don’t visit the dentist at least once a year. However, it is important to remember that your dental checkups in Owings Mills catch more than just cavities. In fact, 90% of health conditions have oral symptoms, which means your dental team can play an instrumental role in early detection. Read on for four surprising medical conditions your dentist may find first.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Statistics Report for 2020, over 34 million Americans have diabetes (roughly 10% of the population). If overlooked, this condition can lead to a multitude of serious health concerns, like heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Therefore, your dentist dedicates a portion of their examination to look for bleeding gums, dry mouth, and wiggly teeth. If they suspect these symptoms are a result of diabetes, they will recommend undergoing a blood test with your primary care physician.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, an estimated 53,000 cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in 2020 alone. Since it is the sixth most common cancer in America, your dentist will check for red or white lesions at your routine appointment. Typically, they arise on the surface of your tongue and floor of your mouth, but they often fly under the radar since they are usually painless and tough for patients to see on their own. Therefore, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening at your checkup to reach a formal diagnosis and begin treatment.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle. However, it is tricky to detect because there are no symptoms, which means it often goes undiagnosed until a patient gets a bone fracture or bone density test. However, your dentist can play a crucial role in the detection of this medical concern by further investigating loose teeth. If this symptom is present in conjunction with other warning signs of osteoporosis (like a change in posture), then they will refer you to your doctor.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD, is a condition that causes the liquid in the stomach to enter into the esophagus. While the side effects can be uncomfortable, like heartburn symptoms, many patients don’t know they have it because it occurs in their sleep. If undetected, the acid in your stomach can dissolve the enamel on your teeth and create lesions near the back of your mouth. Fortunately, your dentist can catch these warning signs at your routine appointment and recommend speaking to your primary care physician about proton-pump inhibitors, like Nexium.
Forgoing your routine appointment can be tempting amid a hectic schedule. However, it is important to remember that your biannual visits play a crucial role in your oral and overall health!
About the Author
Since earning her dental doctorate at Care Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Monica M. Mattson has earned multiple awards for her world-class care, including the Quintessence Award and the Eleanor Bushee AAWD Senior Woman Dental Award. Today, Dr. Mattson is also an active member of notable organizations like the American Dental Association, the Maryland State Dental Association, and the Baltimore County Dental Association (to name a few). If you are looking for a dentist in Owings Mills, visit her website or give her a call at 443-394-2273.
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