Diabetes to dementia, surprising things your teeth can tell about your health | Health - Hindustan Times

Diabetes to dementia, surprising things your teeth can tell about your health

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Apr 18, 2023 05:52 PM IST

Diabetes to Alzheimer's disease or dementia or osteoporosis, here are the surprising things your teeth can tell about your health

Teeth are not only important for chewing and speaking but they can also reveal a lot about your overall health as poor oral health has been linked to several systemic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and even some types of cancer. Our mouth is the gateway to overall health and there are lots of things a very astute dentist can pick up about your general health by just looking inside your mouth.

Diabetes to dementia, surprising things your teeth can tell about your health (Photo by Junior REIS on Unsplash )
Diabetes to dementia, surprising things your teeth can tell about your health (Photo by Junior REIS on Unsplash )

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Neetika Modi, Director of Studio Aesthetique at Dentofacial Aesthetics, shared, “You may have type two diabetes. Severe gum disease. Periodontitis is an early sign of type two diabetes. So diabetes can be checked. Then a doctor can see when you're pregnant, if your general health has been good and your gums have been firm, and you suddenly start bleeding in the mouth and your gums are inflamed, it may be an early sign of pregnancy. Patients with poor oral hygiene or gum disease are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or dementia. A deficiency of vitamins can be seen inside the mouth. Also, it has a lower resistance to microbial film that comes from plaque. And deficiency of vitamin B can affect enamel. And because of that, the enamel would be really thin.”

She added, “Also, vitamin deficiency vitamin B deficiency can lead to cracks on the lips and cheeks. Ulcers, a lot of ulcers burning sensation in the mouth. So different lesions with different vitamin deficiencies. Osteoporosis is linked to bad gums health and bone loss of teeth. So that's another thing we can detect. Patients are eating a lot of sugar when they have a lot of tooth decay. Also, people with gum disease have an increased risk of lung cancer and developing lung disease. There's a link between gum disease, plaque buildup and cardiovascular disease. So seeing a lot of plaque, I can always tell if the patient is going to be more predisposed to a heart attack or an ischemic stroke risk.”

Another very interesting thing she pointed out is that your dentist would be able to notice if you're suffering from any kind of eating disorder. She revealed, “Bulimia would be picked up by a dentist. If you have erosion of your enamel, this happens when you're vomiting and the bile passes to the teeth, the acidic bile causing the wear of the enamel. So that changes the shape and colour of your teeth. So also those with bulimia, have this little swelling on either one or both sides of their cheeks. So it's a presentation that a dentist can pick up. Those with periodontal disease have a lesser chance of survival beyond the age of 80. So because of other risk factors, how you look after your gums play a major role and your teeth play a major role in overall health.”

Adding to the list of surprising things your teeth can tell about your health, Dr Vinisha Pandey, Root canal specialist, Laser Dentistry and Cosmetic Dentist and Founder of Dr. Vinisha Pandey Dentistry, emphasised -

  1. Your teeth are one of the best indicators of diabetes

Dentists can spot signs of diabetes after a thorough examination of teeth and oral cavity. Diabetes weaken the overall immune system and in turn the mouth becomes prone to other infections such as periodontal disease, gum disease and tooth loss.

2. Pregnancy affects your teeth as it affects your body

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can weaken the body's immune system and increases the chance for periodontal infections such as loosening of teeth and gum bleeding. This happened because of constant build-up of plaque which leads to swollen and bleeding gums commonly called as pregnancy gingivitis.

3. Your teeth indicate whether you are nutritionally deficient or not

Malnutrition and dietary deficiencies can lead to overall poor oral health. Vitamin D deficiencies which helps in building strong bones can lead to a series of oral diseases, including periodontal disease, tooth malformations, tooth decay and gum diseases.

4. You may lose your teeth due to osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease of bones which may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports the teeth decreases with time. A correlation between decreased bone mass density or osteoporosis and periodontitis has been established.

5. Listen to your dentist….to safeguard your heart

The American Dental Association concluded that suggested gum and periodontal infections are found more commonly among people with heart disease. Heart attack/stroke have been directly linked to tooth loss or gum disease.

6. Clenched teeth…..your body may be screaming

Our lives are not stress free but constant and prolonged stress takes a toll on your body, including your oral cavity and teeth. Bruxism also known as teeth grinding may be a sign of excessive stress and is associated with temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction.

7. Eating disorders may lead to poor dental health

Eating disorders known as bulimia can cause serious nutritional disturbances which in turn lead to extensive damage to the teeth and the oral cavity. Bleeding around the soft tissue and gums in the mouth can also be observed.

8. Poor oral health plays a role in cognitive function leading to dementia and Alzheimer's disease

Old age patients with a history of dental infections developed Alzheimer's disease and cognitive dysfunction more as compared to non- dental history patients. Brushing your teeth regularly twice and combining it with flossing, delays the process of developing Alzheimer’s.

9. Do you know toothaches can also be caused by allergies?

Runny noses and sore throats- it may be a good idea to call your dentist. Allergies put pressure on the roots of your upper molars, which can stimulate a toothache. Mouth breathing frequently dries up the mouth and saliva, which is essential in washing away foods, plaque, and acids that can cause cavities.

10. Our teeth are unique

Our teeth are unique just like our fingerprints. Even twins have different teeth. So protect your teeth and oral cavity by getting a regular dental check up every 6 months.

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