Your mouth is an early warning system. Changes in tissue color, persistent sores, chipped and eroded teeth, and excessive tartar buildup are certainly unattractive. But, more important, these variations from the norm can also be vital evidence of serious ill-health.
What you don’t see can hurt you
You may miss early warning signals on your own; they often cause little or no distress. That’s why it’s so important to schedule dental checkups regularly. We may be the first to notice symptoms of diseases.
Reading the signals
Some symptoms indicate simple vitamin or mineral deficiency. Others betray signs of serious concern—cancer of the mouth, leukemia, diabetes, and, more recently, AIDS. The link between gum disease, heart problems, and stroke is clear. You and your physician will want to know. Fortunately, these are rare findings. Today, we are more likely to detect the effects of modern-day stress on your teeth in the form of tooth grinding (bruxism) or TMD (jaw joint and muscle disorders).
Moral of the story
Dentists are trained to detect important warning signals and alert you to seek further medical treatment. Regular office visits not only keep your mouth, tongue, teeth, and gums in top condition, they form your first line of defense against disease.
When we look into your mouth, we’re looking for a lot more than the common cavity!