It’s easy to compartmentalize things when it comes to health care. Dentists work on your teeth. Eye doctors evaluate your eyes. OBGYNs help you deliver your baby. Psychiatrists keep your mental health in check. It’s the nature of medicine—as a field of study and professional practice. But when it comes to self care and your everyday management of that, it’s a lot better to see how everyone is part of a team.
Think of a sports analogy to help crystalize things. A receiver doesn’t catch a TD pass without a quarterback who makes the perfect pass. That quarterback doesn’t make that pass unless his offensive line blocks the defense. The offensive line can’t block the defense if the receiver doesn’t run his route quickly and correctly. Every part must work together.
No singular role is more important than another. But your dentist is a health care provider that’s normal to see at minimum every six months. If you’re in relatively good health, you may go years before seeing a eurologist, an internist or an eye doctor. Men may go a lifetime without seeing and OBGYN!
In all seriousness though, it’s important to treat your exchanges with your dentist as more than a cleaning of your teeth. It’s a health care appointment wherein symptoms should be addressed. Discussing some of those symptoms are obvious—mouth-related issues like tooth pain, bleeding gums, mouth ulcers (canker sores), and so on. But there are other symptoms that are less obviously connected to dental health. And there are symptoms that appear in the mouth, but are signs of a problem elsewhere in the body.
Bacteria that collects on the back of the tongue and around the teeth is the main cause of halitosis. But dry mouth is a common cause too. And dry mouth is commonly caused by medicines, alcohol, stress or other medical conditions, like acid reflux and post-nasal discharge.
A distinctive symptom of diabetes is breath that has a fruity smell. This is caused by the body burning fat for energy, rather than sugar. More rare, but also serious, kidney failure and some carcinomas account for some cases of halitosis. In other words, talking about bad breath—or weird breath—with your dentist is a good idea.
A bad mood can be a symptom of a bad day. If more chronic, it may be a symptom of depression. And one cause of depression—or something highly correlated with depression—is having a sleep disorder. What’s a common cause of sleep disorders? Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition your dentist not only can diagnose, but also can treat and cure with cutting-edge technology like the DNA and mRNA systems from Vivos.
Lumps, Bumps & Swollen Stuff
Lumps, bumps, and swelling in the cheeks or neck shouldn’t be there. And when they are, it could be a sign of cancer. It’s important to remember that the leading cause of head and neck cancer is tobacco usage.
Canker sores, problems swallowing or talking, and changes in taste commonly come along with two serious health issues: rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Roughly 50% of arthritis sufferers get a painful swelling in the jaw, often before they knew they had arthritis in the first place.
Osteoporosis can affect more than your legs or back. It can also affect the bones in your jaw that anchor your teeth. If a person has loose teeth without the gum and periodontal disease normally associated, it could be a sign of osteoporosis. Dental X-rays can be used to screen for this.
People with HIV are prone to a white, cottage-cheese-like covering on the tongue known as oral thrush. It’s the same yeast infection affecting people with diabetes.
Dry Mouth & Itchy Eyes
In people with a rare condition called Sjogren’s Syndrome, the immune system tends to target moisture-producing glands in the mouth and tear ducts. This causes dry mouth and itchy eyes.
This just scratches the surface of it all. The list goes on. And that means you should go visit your dentist as often as you can.