Visiting the dentist every six months is not only about good dental care, but a dentist is sometimes the first healthcare professional to find signs of other medical conditions. During routine exams and cleanings, dentists also look for signs of oral or throat cancers, and they can see signs of other chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes as well.
When you visit one of our dentists they don’t rush through your bi-annual examinations. Instead, they take their time and examine the soft tissues of your mouth, especially near the cheeks, lips, and under the tongue.
They are looking for signs of medical diseases that you may not know about. For instance, some forms of cancer are detectable in the mouth. Oral cancer and throat cancers often cause lumps or sores in the mouth that look a look like canker sores. Signs of throat cancer can also show on the back of the tongue.
Another cancer, leukemia, is also detectable by what is going on in the mouth. Signs of leukemia can include gingivitis, which is indicated by bleeding and swollen gums. If you also feel tired and weak, then this can be the first sign of cancer. Our dentists can do a blood test for leukemia and then refer you to an oncologist if it’s positive.
Bleeding gums and bad breath are not only indicators of gingivitis or periodontal diseases, but it can also indicate that you may be a diabetic as well. If you don’t know whether you have the disease, you should make an appointment with your physician if one of our alert dentists at All American Dental suggests going to your doctor.
The presence of gum disease may also indicate an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The same bacteria that cause gum disease is also present in heart disease. Also, if you have an infection in your mouth, then it needs immediate treatment. The bacteria can get into the bloodstream and damage heart valves.
Don’t discount the indications of diseases that dentists find because they could save your life.