6 Health Conditions Your Dentist Can Detect

Did you know that your oral health can tell a lot about your overall physical health? Some people may be surprised when their dentist warns them about certain health conditions, or recommends they have them tested. Your oral health affects more than just a good-looking smile. 

Heart Conditions. Did you know that gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease? According to a statement in April, 2012 from the American Dental Association, there is no current scientific evidence proving the link, however, "many studies show an association between gum disease and several serious health conditions, including heart disease."

Diabetes. People who suffer from diabetes develop gum (periodontal) disease more often than people who do not, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Common signs of gum disease include tooth decay or loss and pain when chewing. People who are unaware they suffer from diabetes may also have dry mouth, oral ulcers and tooth decay. Controlling your diabetes and proper oral care is important in preventing gum disease.

Alzheimer's disease. According to Mayo Clinic, people who suffer from tooth loss under the age of 35 may be at risk for Alzheimer's disease.

Pregnancy. Even if you're not showing yet, women may still notice gum changes during pregnancy. They may be more sensitive, redder or bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called "pregnancy gingivitis". Rarely, pregnant women may develop a granuloma on the gums. While uncomfortable, they are rarely dangerous.

Sjögren's Syndrome. Many people with Sjögren's are known for having dry eyes and/or dry mouth. Dry mouth makes you more susceptible to cavities. Dry mouth is often caused by not enough saliva production, requiring saliva substitutes. Natural saliva contains substances that help get rid of bacteria that causes cavities and oral infections, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Sleep Apnea. Some dentists are trained to detect and even treat sleep apnea. Not all snoreers have sleep apnea, and not all people (though most) with sleep apnea snore. People who suffer from sleep apnea tend to have some sort of obstruction on their airway. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine provides an alternative to the traditional CPAP with oral appliance therapy. This is good news for people who cannot tolerate the CPAP machine.

Dentists at clinics like Family Dental Office are a good source for proper hygiene advice and can even detect early onset of many conditions. Some people see their dentist more regularly than their family doctor, which lends to them suspecting certain health conditions first.