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You probably know the importance of regular dental visits and the repercussions of poor dental hygiene; but do you know that dental exams can also help detect significant health issues, too? It is true- and experts liken your teeth and gums to a window that allows your dental provider to identify when there is a risk to holistic well-being. The condition of your teeth and gums may also be connected to your overall health and wellness, so practice good dental hygiene habits.  

So, what health issues can your dentist detect during an exam? Here are just a few: 

Diabetes 

Your dentist will know if you are diabetic and whether your body is producing insulin properly. Your breath can reveal a lot about blood sugar levels. Bleeding gums are another indicator as those with diabetes are at a greater risk of contracting gum disease.   

Cardiovascular Disease 

If you have signs of advanced periodontal or gum disease, your dentist may detect cardiovascular issues. Gum disease impacts the soft tissue and bone around your teeth; when plaque and bacteria accumulate, they can break away and travel through the bloodstream. This puts you at a higher risk of heart attack, coronary heart disease, and blood clots.  

Kidney Disease 

If you experience chronic dry mouth accompanied by bad breath, your dentist may refer you to a kidney doctor. These could be signs of a kidney problem- and if you do have a kidney issue, you are at an increased risk of an oral infection.   

Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Swelling around your jaw or the joint that connects to your jaw could be an early sign of Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. RA is an autoimmune disease that afflicts both the young and old. Your dentist may recommend follow-up with your primary care provider.  

Stress and Anxiety 

Do you grind your teeth at night? Your dentist will be able to tell if you do- and this is often a sign of anxiety and stress. It could also indicate that you are not getting enough of what you need in your daily diet.  

Use these healthy hygiene tips for overall wellbeing: 

  • Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once. Rinse your mouth with water after snacks if you are unable to brush. 
  • Eat a diet rich in nutrients for strong teeth and bones, like calcium and Vitamin D. Avoid sugar and processed foods when possible and drink plenty of water.  
  • If you smoke, quit; smoking puts you at greater risk for a number of oral health problems and illnesses.  

Perhaps the most important thing that you can do for overall health and wellbeing is to make regular dental appointments. Call or visit Old Mt Pleasant Dentistry, a family dental practice in Mt Pleasant, SC, to schedule your examination today.