The state of your dental and oral health can reveal a wealth of information about your overall wellness. While you might think of cavities, dental infections, or other such issues as self-contained, they can also point toward associated underlying conditions that involve entire physical processes, from your metabolism to your disease resistance.
Fortunately, you can work together with your dentist, primary care physician, and other specialists to stay on top of these health challenges as they become apparent. If you struggle with any of the following oral or dental symptoms, you may want to have your overall health checked and, if necessary, addressed.
- Chronic Gum Disease
Chronic gingivitis and periodontal disease occur when bacteria trigger a destructive inflammatory response from your immune system, resulting in swollen gums, bleeding, and eventual tooth loss. While poor dental hygiene typically causes gum disease, uncontrolled diabetes can make you especially vulnerable to it.
Diabetes and gum problems appear to have a two-way relationship. The elevated blood sugar associated with diabetes can make people more susceptible to chronic infections, including periodontal disease. At the same time, periodontal disease may interfere with your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar, resulting in diabetes.
- Loose Teeth
You can develop loose teeth without having periodontal disease. If you have noticed one or more teeth feeling wobbly or loose, you may have insufficient bone density in a part of your jaw known as the alveolar process. This portion of the jawbone helps secure the teeth in place.
While periodontal disease can create this kind of bone loss, so can osteoporosis — a progressive loss of bone mineral that commonly occurs in older women. Regular dental exams that include X-rays may catch this issue in time for you to receive an early diagnosis and effective treatment, helping you protect bones and teeth alike.
- Discolored Teeth
Anyone can experience discolored teeth related to coffee, tea, red wine, and other agents that leave stubborn stains. Some people may also get spots on their teeth caused by tetracycline or high levels of fluoride. However, another issue can also create chronic tooth discoloration is a digestive disorder called celiac disease.
Celiac disease can create numerous enamel defects. These defects include yellow, brown, white, or translucent spots on the teeth, as well as patterns of banding or pitting on the enamel. Other telltale oral symptoms of this underlying condition include a red, smooth tongue, ulcers, and canker sores in the mouth.
- Prematurely Worn Teeth
If your teeth have worn down faster than you might normally expect, you may suffer from bruxism, or chronic tooth grinding. This issue may occur due to an uncorrected bite misalignment or a chronic stress disorder such as anxiety. It may also mean that you have sleep apnea, which can lead to numerous health problems if untreated.
If no such issues can account for your prematurely worn teeth, you may suffer from acid reflux, with stomach acids rising up through the esophagus to the mouth and damaging the enamel. Over time, your teeth may develop sensitivities, cavities, or even abscesses. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid these complications.
- Dry Mouth
You can experience a dry mouth for many reasons, from temporary dehydration and age-related issues to overuse of alcohol. However, chronic mouth dryness can also indicate the presence of an autoimmune condition known as Sjogren’s syndrome.
Since the immune system attacks both the salivary glands and tear glands in Sjogren’s syndrome, you may suffer from chronically dry eyes as well as a dry mouth, nose, or throat. Women aged 40 and older have an elevated risk for developing this condition.
Crest Hill Family Dental can play a pivotal role in both your dental health and your overall physical health. Contact our office today to schedule a wellness exam or have any troublesome symptoms evaluated.