Each time you visit the dentist, he or she will check for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. This is to be expected, but did you know that your dentist might also pick up on clues to your overall health? Conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea, and eating disorders can all cause telltale changes in your mouth.
Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes
Diabetes and pre-diabetes are systemic conditions that can affect many aspects of your well-being. One way diabetes can change your mouth is by reducing the amount of saliva you produce. Dry mouth is medically problematic because saliva washes away food particles and bacteria. If you don’t produce enough saliva, you’re at a higher risk of tooth decay. Other things that can also occur with diabetes or pre-diabetes are gum inflammation, slow wound healing, and oral infections.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing cyclically stops and restarts multiple times during the night. It’s strongly associated with teeth grinding, also called bruxism. Your dentist can determine that you grind your teeth at night if you have multiple chips on your teeth. Scalloping along the sides of the tongue is another sign of nighttime jaw clenching and teeth grinding.
Women who are pregnant are at a higher risk of oral health issues. It’s possible to suffer from enamel erosion if you vomit frequently due to morning sickness. Pregnancy can cause the gums to become more sensitive. It may even result in the feeling of loose teeth in the mouth.
Pregnancy isn’t the only cause of enamel erosion. People with eating disorders may also display thinned enamel. The vomiting associated with bulimia causes the teeth to come into frequent contact with stomach acid, resulting in erosion. Cavities can also be a sign of eating disorders, as they can result from malnutrition.
Protect your oral health and overall wellness by visiting the dentist in Tucson every six months for a checkup. You can call the office of John R. Carson, DDS at (520) 514-7203 to request an appointment. Be sure to ask us about our cosmetic dentistry services!