Your eyes might be the windows to your soul, but your teeth can also tell a lot about you—particularly when it comes to your physical health.
We spoke with Dr. Karim Lalani at the New Westminster location of award-winning dental practice, Family Dental Centres, to find out just what a dentist can tell about a patient’s overall health by looking in the patient’s mouth.
“There’s a strong connection between the mouth and other health conditions, especially when it comes to someone’s diet,” says Dr. Lalani. “Often times we’re able to make recommendations to patients based on what we see.”
Here are 8 diseases and/or conditions Dr. Lalani says can be reflected in the patient’s oral health.
1) Tongue or stomach issues.If acid in your mouth isn’t breaking down properly, this can be an indicator of tongue or stomach issues.
2) Diabetes.Overly red or unhealthy gums and tongue can be an early indicator of diabetes.
3) Dry mouth and other gland conditions.Through the saliva, a dentist can tell if a patient is suffering from dry mouth or other conditions that affect the glands, depending on how the saliva looks or if the mouth isn’t producing enough.
4) Heart disease.There’s been evidence of a trend between advanced gum disease and heart disease. People with gum disease tend to be more prone to heart attacks; however, the exact cause or reason is still unknown.
5) Vitamin deficiency.Dentists can often tell if you’re nutritionally balanced or unbalanced depending on the quality of your gums. Gums that are overly red and bleed more indicate an unbalanced diet.
6) Oral cancer.Unexplained bleeding, discoloured patches, or swelling can be early indicators of oral cancer.
7) Sinus infection.What feels like a toothache could be a sinus infection caused by increased pressure in your sinus cavity.
8) Grinding teeth and nail biting.If your tooth enamel is worn down and flat, it can be a sign that you’re grinding your teeth at night (or that you bite your nails). Both habits are often underlying symptoms of stress.