You may think of your dentist as only the teeth doctor, but did you know they can also screen for potential health problems? That’s because, during your dental exam, your dentist can identify signs and symptoms of other diseases by checking your mouth and asking follow-up questions. Typically, most dentists can perform the following important health screenings.
Your dentist is trained to check for any signs of oral cancer even if you don’t request the screening. This is important because detecting the signs of oral cancers early can improve the chances of recovery for many patients. According to healthcare experts, oral cancers are more common in adults; the risk is higher in people over the age of 55 and those who smoke or drink heavily. The common signs of oral cancer that your dentist will look out for in your mouth include bumps, sores, or white or red patches. Your dentist will examine your lips, tongue, the inside of your cheeks, and the roof of your mouth for any of these signs.
If your dentist notices signs of gum disease, they may single out diabetes as a culprit. That’s because, according to research, having diabetes puts you at high risk of developing gum disease. Signs of gum disease to look out for include loose teeth, receding gums, bleeding gums, and loose teeth.
When screening for sleep apnea, your dentist will check if you have been grinding your teeth. If you don’t recall grinding your teeth while awake, it probably means you have been grinding them at night. This is a symptom of sleep apnea, which can be a serious condition that causes you to stop breathing intermittently while sleeping.
Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can severely affect your oral health. For instance, bulimia involves making yourself vomit. The stomach acids from the vomit will eventually weaken your tooth enamel. In addition, other eating disorders affect your oral health due to poor nutrition.
Osteoporosis is a condition that results in weak bones in older people. The condition also affects the jaw bone. As such, the screening involves dental X-rays to see if the thinning of the jaw is causing teeth or dentures to become loose.
Visit Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry
These are some of the important health screenings that your dentist can do. If you would like to find out more about this topic or request a health screening from a trained and qualified dentist, be sure to call Sninski and Schmitt Family Dentistry. Luckily, we have two convenient locations. You can reach us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and our Cary, NC dentist office at (919) 467-2203. Or, you can fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.