DENTAL - HH 23
SPOTTING SIGNS OF DISEASE
A thorough dental examination may reveal more than signs of tooth decay and gum disease; the dentist is in a unique position to spot signs of other diseases, as well. For instance, signs of mouth dryness may be indicative of diabetes. While patients may not realize that their reduced saliva production is an issue until it decreases by half, the dentist may see signs of dry mouth much earlier. Diabetes also increases vulnerability to oral infections that create swelling around the teeth, in the gums, and in other areas of the mouth. In addition, the dentist may notice fungal infections (such as thrush, which produces white patches in the mouth) that may be evidence of diabetes.
P.S. Aside from diabetes, the dentist may see signs of Crohn’s disease, heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis while conducting a dental exam.