Health & Fit 9 Things Your Dentist Can Tell About Your Health By Looking in Your Mouth
Alert: Using Mouthwash Daily May Trigger a Serious Health Condition
To stave off this serious condition, limit your use of mouthwash to just twice per week.Mouthwash may leave your breath minty fresh, but according to a recent study, frequent use can increase your chances of developing diabetes.
Your mouth can reveal a lot more about you than your pearly whites and your opinions. It also holds clues to your overall health.
“The body is all connected,” says Sally Cram, DDS, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association. “There are a lot of things you can see [in the mouth] that might lead us to think there is something else going on in the body.”
Diabetes, anemia, and various autoimmune diseases are all conditions with symptoms that can show up in your mouth.
Here are some of the health concerns your dentist might be able to spot just by taking a peek.
Here’s the All-New Medical Test That Can Pinpoint Your True Age
If you know when you were born, chances are you're aware of your chronological age. But what about your biological age? There's a test for that.Whereas your chronological age refers to the amount of time you’ve been alive on this planet, your biological age refers to how old your body actually seems (for example, Jane Fonda’s chronological age is 80, but we’d be willing to bet her biological age is closer to 45).
Virtually no part of the body escapes the effects of. In your mouth, a distinctive symptom is breath that has a fruity smell. This is a byproduct of your body burning fat instead of sugar for energy.
There are other signs of diabetes in the mouth your dentist might see too. For instance, people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease, which often shows up as swollen, sore, and bleeding gums. Cold sores and dry mouth are also common if you have diabetes, as is oral thrush, a fungal yeast infection. (Yeast is always in your body at low levels, but because diabetes weakens your immune system, it can proliferate more easily.)
Research also suggests that people who have gum disease are more likely to develop diabetes.
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or gastroesophageal reflux disease causes acid from your stomach to bubble up into your esophagus, giving you heartburn, , and trouble swallowing. The acid can also lead to bad breath, canker sores, and dry mouth.
It’s not always easy to pinpoint the problem as GERD just by looking, but your dentist may be able to narrow it down by noting any medications you’re on. “It’s always important to tell your dentist about any medications you’re taking, even over-the-counter,” says Cram.
Left untreated, acid reflux can eat away at your tooth enamel, a tip-off to your dentist. GERD can also increase your risk for cancer.
Sure, your regular dental checkups can reveal cavities and evidence that you haven’t (or have) been flossing as much as you should. But during those visits, your dentist can also find signs of head and neck cancers, including cancers of the mouth and.
Keep Your Pearly Whites Intact by Avoiding These Problematic Foods and Drinks
We love our chocolate and coffee or our wine and soda, but we don't love the evidence that is often left behind in the form of discolored and stained teeth.We love our chocolate and coffee or our wine and soda, but we don't love the evidence that is often left behind in the form of discolored and stained teeth, which is absolutely not photo-friendly.
In the mouth, Cram says, dentists scan for “any red or white spots that are abnormal, any ulcerated areas in the cheeks, lumps, bumps, and swelling that shouldn’t be there.”
Dentists usually also check the glands around your neck for any sign of swelling that could indicate an illness, including cancer.
Always talk to your dentist about any changes you notice in your mouth. “When something is present for two weeks or longer or increasing in size or shape, then we start becoming worried, especially if there’s a history of tobacco use,” says Ryan Kauffman, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of head and neck cancer. If you see your dentist twice a year, he or she may be able to find cancer early when it's easiest to treat.
Osteoporosis is the steady thinning of your bones that’s most common among postmenopausal women. While the classic image ofis an older person with a stooped back, osteoporosis can also affect the bones in your jaw that anchor your teeth.
“If [a person has] loose teeth and receding gums without periodontal disease and with good dental care at home, this could be a sign of osteoporosis,” says Cram.
Tongue Scraping Is the Secretly Relaxing Ritual You're Gonna Love
Because bad breath often starts there, tongue scraping is typically prescribed by dentists as a treatment for halitosis.What’s the point? The overarching purpose of tongue scraping is to more effectively remove built-up bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Because bad breath often starts there, tongue scraping is typically prescribed by dentists as a treatment for halitosis. According to a study done at the University of Sao Paolo, a tongue scraper was more effective at getting rid of this bacteria than a toothbrush. And proponents also say that tongue scraping keeps your taste buds clear, possibly elevating your palate.
Dental X-rays can be used to screen for osteoporosis.
There are many effective treatments for osteoporosis, but some of them, includingsuch as Fosamax and Boniva, can cause rare additional problems in your jaw and in your femur bone.
People withor AIDS are prone to several different mouth problems. One of the more common is oral thrush, the same yeast infection affecting people with diabetes. It produces a white, cottage-cheese-like cover on your tongue.
Other oral health problems linked with HIV/AIDS include dry mouth (this can lead to tooth decay), recurrent cold sores, gum disease, and warts from the(HPV). This is the same virus that can cause and some head and neck cancers.
Kaposi sarcoma can be a later complication of HIV/AIDs. It’s a form of cancer that appears as deep purple or red spots on the skin or in your mouth.
In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells instead of threats like viruses or bacteria. Many autoimmune conditions can manifest in the mouth;is one example. In people with Sjogren’s, the immune system tends to specifically target moisture-producing glands in the mouth area, causing dry mouth. It also affects tear ducts and causes .
5 Cavity Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
Your teeth are trying to tell you something. If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, go get treatment ASAP before the cavity has time to spread.Food is wonderful (and, you know, essential to living). That’s why it’s honestly rude that it can contribute to cavities. Sometimes cavities fly under the radar. Other times, though, cavity symptoms might make you feel like your mouth is a complete wreck.
and can also come with mouth issues ranging from painless bumps to painful canker sores, problems swallowing or talking, and changes in taste. About half of people with rheumatoid arthritis get sometimes-painful swelling in the jaw. Many people who have Sjogren’s also have one of these other autoimmune disorders.
If you have, ingesting gluten–a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley–spurs your immune system to ravage your small intestine, but symptoms can extend all the way into your mouth. You or your dentist might notice problems with the enamel on your teeth or frequent canker sores, and you might experience a dry or burning feeling on your tongue.
The only treatment for celiac disease is to stay away from gluten. This will generally curb symptoms and stave off long-term health problems.
occurs when you don’t have enough red blood cells or they’re not working properly. Typically, the main symptom is fatigue–but your dentist may notice you’re losing color in your gums, tongue, and other parts of your mouth. “Because the oral cavity tissue is more transparent than typical skin tissue, you can see a distinct difference if [patients] are anemic,” says Dr. Kauffman.
The most common cause of anemia is, which, in turn, can be the result of heavy periods, chronic diseases, gastric bypass surgery, or vitamin deficiencies. This type of anemia can often be treated with supplements or changes in your diet.
Do you *really* need to floss? Dentists weigh in once and for all
The "floss daily" commandment came under fire in the past couple of years, with the Associated Press announcing that there's no scientific evidence that you need to be flossing daily. What gives?As far as the flossing commandment, however, I can probably count on one hand (maybe even one finger) how many people I know who floss on the reg—which completely goes against what all dentists say.
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Chronic kidney disease
Healthy kidneys quickly and cleanly get rid of your body’s waste products. If the kidneys aren’t working correctly, toxins can build up and cause trouble throughout your body, including your mouth. Your breath, for instance, may smell like urine or even have a sweet odor. Dry mouth is also common.
Your dentist may ask you about kidney disease if he or she notices your mouth is unusually dry. Certain treatments–like diuretics and dialysis–can be dehydrating, which can produce dryness and irritation in the mouth, Dr. Kauffman says.
Slideshow: 7 new breast cancer prevention steps you need to know (Health.com)
- breast cancer death rate has declined by 38% since 1989. “Thanks to advances in detection and treatment, women aren’t just living longer; they’re requiring less-invasive surgeries and therapies,” says Therese Bevers, MD, medical director of the Cancer Prevention Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Learn more about these breakthroughs, plus moves that reduce your risk." role="presentation" data-src="/upload/images/real/2018/04/02/slide-1-of-6-p-amazing-news-the-a-href-http-www-health-com-breast-cancer-breast-cancer-a-death-rate-_236236_.jpg?content=1" src="/img/no_img/content/no_img_content_flip.jpg" lazyload="lazyload" title="Amazing news: The breast cancer death rate has declined by 38% since 1989. “Thanks to advances in de... - kali9/Getty Images" />
Not everyone may need surgery
Mammograms still matter
- immunotherapy, a type of treatment that harnesses the body’s own immune response to blast away cancer cells. It’s especially promising for treating triple-negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive type. But other breakthroughs are already helping slash death rates, including targeted therapies for HER2-positive breast cancer (about 20 percent of women with breast cancer have this aggressive type) and a class of drugs called CDK4/6 inhibitors, which help ght one type of breast cancer in advanced stages by blocking cell proteins that enable tumors to grow.
Bottom line: These advances will likely boost survival rates for years to come." role="presentation" data-src="/upload/images/real/2018/04/02/slide-4-of-6-p-the-hottest-area-of-cancer-research-is-a-href-http-www-health-com-mind-body-immunothe_568628_.jpg?content=1" src="/img/no_img/content/no_img_content_flip.jpg" lazyload="lazyload" title="The hottest area of cancer research is immunotherapy, a type of treatment that harnesses the body’s ... - DragonImages/Getty Images" />
New advances are saving lives
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Don’t worry about it
5 Reasons Your Teeth Are So Agonizingly Sensitive .
Eating ice cream should be a wonderful experience (same with sipping a nice cuppa joe), but when pain ruins the party, it's a sign that something is going on in your mouth.“[Tooth sensitivity] is a sign that something in your mouth needs to be addressed,” Susan Maples, D.D.S., author of Blabber Mouth! 77 Secrets Only Your Mouth Can Tell You to Live a Healthier, Happier, Sexier Life, tells SELF. Read on to learn more about common causes of sensitive teeth, plus how to solve them.
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If Dentists Were Honest
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