Your Medical Team Includes Your Dentist

Phoenix Dentist Your internist, gynecologist (or urologist), ophthalmologist, dermatologist, and cardiologist are all part of your medical team. Other specialists get added as needed. But if you haven’t added your dentist to your medical team, you are missing out on a simple way to keep your health. . .and your teeth.

1. Cancer

“A dentist notices changes in your mouth before you do and those changes can signal important medical conditions,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental practice.  A dentist can see where you cannot and can find color and texture changes on your lips, floor of your mouth, palate and tongue that indicate early cancer signs. WebMd cites a study from the American Cancer Society: “According to the American Cancer Society, men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as women, and men who are over age 50 face the greatest risk.”

“While the obvious changes to watch for are mouth, lip or tongue cancer, there are others health signals that appear in the mouth before you may notice them,” continues Dr. Ford.

2. Cardiovascular disease

Foods that are sweet or greasy often have high amounts of trans-fatty acids in them. An increase in cavities can signal a rise in bacteria that can cause heart and other vascular diseases. The website WebMD says, “one study found that the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease (gingivitis), cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.”

3. TMJ

You may think you have a headache, even migraines, but your dentist will be able to diagnose TMJ—Temporomandiblular Joint Disease. This join is a complex construction of bone, ligaments and muscles. When the components don’t work together well, you will feel pain. Whether it’s caused by stress or poorly-meshing teeth, your dentist can help you discover a solution to the problem and a way to reduce or eliminate the pain.

4. Diabetes

Gum disease can be caused because of lower resistance and slower healing—symptoms of diabetes. Fungal diseases, which show up as painful sores in your mouth, are often more often seen in diabetics. “Both of those signs are easily seen by a dentist and can be ignored by a patient as just a passing problem,” says Dr. Ford. “Early diagnosis of diabetes can help you make decisions to keep your health longer,” she adds.

 

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