When we speak of oral health, we are not simply referring to your teeth. We are also talking about your gums, lips, inside of your mouth (roof and sides) and your uvula (the little punching bag in the back of your throat). Many people do not realize that we, your dentists, are the first line of defense against many health problems you could have.
Dentists are trained to spot many conditions and diseases because many have symptoms that start in the mouth. Several cancers, for example, will show symptoms in your mouth first. There are childhood diseases that show up as spots inside the cheeks or turn your throat strawberry red, like strep throat.
Oddly, though dentists are trained to look for some of the things doctors are trained to look for, doctors are not trained to look for dental problems. Some diseases manifest themselves with a smell, for example, diabetes can smell fruity and kidney problems can leave you with sweet breath. Oral thrush can be the first symptom of HIV that is noticed. If you are anemic you don’t have enough iron, so your gums, lips, and tongue may be pale.
Diabetes shows up in the mouth with gums that are swollen or sore. If you are diabetic and untreated, you may notice that you get cold sores, have excessive dry mouth or you may develop fungal yeast infections or oral thrush. We can spot the signs and will discuss them with you.
If you have HIV, it may show up in your mouth first. You may get recurrent cold sores. You experience dry mouth and you could develop warts from the human papillomavirus. Celiac disease is yet another common illness that dentists find. It could manifest itself as a dry, burning feeling on your tongue and it can also show up as problems with the enamel on your teeth.
Dentists can also see cancer in your mouth. Most particularly we can see head, neck, mouth, and throat cancers. They could show up as swollen glands or sores near the cheeks. We also look for any abnormal red or white spots in your oral cavity as these too, could be signs of cancer.
For more information about dental examinations, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.
Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.