At our dental clinic in Seaside, Dr. Santos and his team can discover far more about whether a patient brushes and flosses by examining their teeth and gums. A great-looking smile can say a lot about a person. It can even reveal potential health problems that may lurk just beneath the surface.
The mouth acts like a gateway to the body. Problems that originate in the mouth can move onto other areas of the body, such as the heart or brain. However, problems that begin elsewhere in the body can also move towards the mouth, manifesting symptoms that give Dr. Santos valuable insight into a patient’s overall health.
Let’s take a look at what a patient’s oral health can reveal about their overall health.
Pale Gums and Anemia
Anemia can cause gum tissue to turn pale, commonly as a result of an iron deficiency. While the color of a patient’s gum tissue will vary from person to person, pale gums combined with swollen, ulcerative, or sensitive gum tissue becomes a cause for concern.
Patients who exhibit pale gums may need to visit with their general physician following an oral examination from Dr. Santos. Your physician should be able to determine whether you have anemia and offer a treatment solution to restore your iron levels back to a health range.
Tooth Loss and Osteoporosis
The underlying bone structure of the jaw is what provides your teeth the foundation they need to properly function. Osteoporosis can cause this foundation to weaken, thereby increasing a patient’s risk for teeth that move, shift, and even fall out.
Determining whether a patient is experiencing osteoporosis can be difficult to detect at home, but regular exams with Dr. Santos at our dental clinic in Seaside can uncover early signs of the disease. If Dr. Santos notices that a patient’s teeth move more than average during an exam, that can offer an early sign of an underlying problem.
Oral Thrush and Immunocompromised
Younger, healthier patients who don’t wear dentures don’t generally develop oral thrush. However, patients who are immunocompromised or who have a weakened immune system can develop thrush and other more serious types of infections. Fortunately, a general physical exam and blood test can provide answers about whether a patient’s immune system is fully functioning.
Kidney Disease and Tooth Loss
Kidney disease can cause sores in the mouth to develop. The disease can also cause changes in a patient’s ability to taste, their ability to produce saliva, and dry mouth. When the mouth dries out, the acidity level of the mouth increases, and a low pH level may result in rapid tooth decay and eventual tooth loss.
Some additional research has shown that patients with gum disease have an increased risk of developing kidney disease, just another example of the mouth/body connection.
As with any type of disease, early detection is key to increasing a patient’s ability to quickly recover. Regular exams with Dr. Santos give our team the opportunity to spot dry mouth and aggressive decay early on, which allows for better cavity prevention and an early indication of a more serious underlying issue.
A healthy mouth means more than just a great-looking smile. Your oral health offers Dr. Santos the opportunity to spot the signs of more serious problems that can otherwise go undetected. Don’t take any risks with your oral or overall health. Contact our team at Seaside Family Dentistry today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning.