Dentist Visits Are About More Than Just Pretty Teeth

The image of the dentist as a tooth doctor is one that people pick up from the moment as a child they see the first cartoon picture of a molar with a toothbrush in its hand. This simplified view of the jobs of dentists, though, can lead people to not always get the most out of their visits. Your dentist can also provide you a lot of information about these 5 other important health issues.

Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer risks are higher than people anticipate, and it's normal for folks who don't have specific risk factors, such as smokeless tobacco use, to not think much about the problem. An oral cancer can develop in other circumstances, including due to gum or dental infections. Your dentist also tends to be the person who sees the back of your mouth and the top of your throat the most, and they may be the first one to spot any trouble that's developing.

Heart Disease

Some bacteria that appear in the mouths of individuals with gum disease have been cited as sources of heart disease. There is also a linkage between the presence of periodontitis in patients and thickening of blood vessels in the neck, a potential risk factor for a stroke or an aneurysm. Treating these problems before they have a chance to get worse may reduce the risk of a major cardiac event.

Facial Injuries

It might seem shocking to think that an injury to the jaw or skull may go untreated or be misdiagnosed, but identifying and pinning down injuries in the head can be harder than you might anticipate. Displaced structures in the skull, however, may only be noticeable to patients because of pain when biting down.

Alzheimer's Disease

While dentists and hygienists cannot do anything to explicitly treat Alzheimer's disease, they do tend to be the first folks to see it coming. A decline in oral care is frequently one of the earliest indicators of forgetfulness attached to the disease.


Diabetic issues are apparent in about 9.3% of the American population, and many diabetic symptoms first appear as oral health trouble. For example, individuals with diabetes often experience dry mouth. They also have an increased susceptibility to oral infections, and wounds in the mouth area may take longer to heal. Dentists are often the first practitioners to get a look at the symptoms of diabetes in their patients.

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