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Going to the dentist regularly is not only good for the overall health of your teeth and gums, it may actually be critical to help identify other underlying medical issues that may not have been detected yet by a physician.  A dentist can spot warning signs when examining your mouth for health issues such as diabetes, oral cancer, HIV, and osteoporosis.


Early warning signs for diabetes include loose teeth, dry mouth, receding, dry and bleeding gums and inability to fight off infection or diseases effectively.  If you have bleeding gums this does not necessarily mean you have diabetes, since gum disease and gingivitis may be the cause.  However, these early warning signs should encourage you to follow up with your primary physician for a blood glucose tolerance check.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the sixth leading type of cancer diagnosed in the United States, effecting 300,000 individuals a year.  If you visit your dentist twice a year, he or she can examine your mouth regularly for any signs of oral cancer.  Oral cancer usually appears as red and white lesions on the floor of the mouth, palate or on your tongue.  A follow up screening can be done by your dentist to confirm these warning signs.


Certain oral conditions may indicate that you have HIV.  Adults with HIV may have oral warts, lesions, white, red, purple or brown spots in their mouth or on their tongues. A person infected with HIV may also have other infections, ulcerative gingivitis or periodontitis.  Children with HIV may have oral lesions and viruses, such as herpes simplex, herpes zoster, HPV and oral candidiasis. If a dentist sees one or more of these signs he or she will refer you to your primary care doctor for blood testing.


Osteoporosis is most common in post-menopausal women.  Your dentist will look for signs of loose teeth and receding gums, which may indicate there are changes in the bone density that supports your teeth. A primary care physician will need to do a follow up bone density test to see if the patient is at higher risk for osteoporosis.

Source: ”Non-Dental Medical Issues Your Dentist Might Discover,”123 Dentist

Keeping up your regular visits with your dentist will help him or her detect any changes in your mouth which could lead to serious medical issues. Dr. Ted Melchers and his staff are here to help you understand and decide the best course of treatment for you and your family.  Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.