If the eyes are the windows to your soul, then your mouth is the gateway to your overall health. Research has found a surprising number of links between the state of your oral health and your overall health.
Be on the lookout for these warning signs provided for you by Marc Liechtung, DMD, a dentist in NYC and the inventor of the Snap-on Smile® and principal in New York-based Manhattan Dental Arts, a practice that specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry.
Erectile Dysfunction-- According to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are three times more likely to have gum disease than men who do not have ED. These bacteria can also seep into the bloodstream and damage blood vessels, and because erectile problems can be caused by impaired blood flow in the penis, poor dental hygiene can be associated with ED.
Dementia—Studies have found that people with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, have more gum disease-related bacteria in their brains than a person without Alzheimer's. "It's thought that gum disease bacteria might get into the brain causing inflammation and brain damage," notes Dr. Liechtung.
Diabetes—Bright red bleeding gums, also known as periodontal disease, that are puffy and may contain small abscesses or loose teeth are harbingers of diabetes
Parkinson's Disease-- Saliva helps to wash away bacteria and debris that lead to cavities and gum disease. And if you're producing too little saliva, your dentist will know. Dry mouth may be caused by medications or it may be a sign of a disease such as diabetes or Parkinson's disease.
Anemia—"Your dentist will look for a pale-colored tongue as an indication of iron deficiency or anemia that affects one in five women," notes Dr. Liechtung. Anemia is a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness.
Celiac Disease-- Canker sores may be an indication of gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease. Celiac disease is an inherited, immune system disorder in which the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley cause damage to the lining of the small intestine.
Osteoporosis--Osteoporosis does not cause changes in the teeth, but it does cause changes in the bones that support teeth. "This may show up as a receding gum line and loose teeth. If your dentist sees any oral signs of osteoporosis, let your medical doctor know right away," warns Dr. Liechtung.
Heart Disease--Inflamed gums and loose teeth can be warnings of heart disease. That's because if you have a gum disease like periodontitis, the bacteria in your gums could travel to your heart and contribute to coronary artery disease.
Eating Disorders--Dentists are often the first health professionals to observe signs and symptoms of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, the three most common. "That's because eating disorders can cause poor nutrition which can lead to oral conditions like bleeding gums and dry mouth," describes Dr. Liechtung. In addition, erosion on the insides of the front teeth may be a sign of forced vomiting in a young person with bulimia -- stomach acid wears away at enamel and also makes teeth more sensitive.
Reflux Disorder-- Erosion of enamel from the insides of teeth, especially the upper back molars, is a clue to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Reflux disease can cause erosion of the esophagus and may even lead to esophageal cancer, so let your doctor know if your dentist sees possible signs of reflux.
Dr. Marc Liechtung, D.M.D. and inventor of Snap-On Smile, graduated from The University of Pennsylvania, one of the most world-renowned dental schools, as well as having the best fellowship programs in the country. After graduation, he attended an Advanced Restorative and Implant fellowship at The University of Pennsylvania, and graduated from that fellowship in 1987. Dr. Marc Liechtung has had his prestigious dental practice for over 18 years, and is dedicated to each of his patients’ dental needs. Dr. Marc Liechtung believes in treating each of his patients on an individual basis, because needs and treatment differ from person to person. Dr. Liechtung is a member of the following professional organizations: New York City Dental Society, American Dental Association, Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Mid-Manhattan Advanced Dental Study Club and has recently been Elected to a Fellowship in the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics.Marc Liechtung, DMD is the founder of Manhattan Dental Arts and the Inventor of the Snap-on-Smile®. Manhattan Dental Arts P.C. is located on the Upper West Side at 68th and Broadway. We specialize in dental cleanings,emergency dentistry, dental implants, all-on-4 dental implants, full mouth reconstruction, dental crowns, root canals,periodontics, Snap on Smile, dental bridges, dentures, extractions, smile makeovers and all forms of general and cosmetic dentistry. If you are looking for an emergency dentist in NYC then we offer free consultations. The practice group also owns Kew Gardens Dental Arts, a dental practice in Queens offering dental implants in Queens, emergency dentistry in Queens, teeth cleaning in Queens, dental crowns, dental bridges,periodontal surgery and all forms of cosmetic and general dentistry. If you are looking for a periodontist in Queens we offer all gum disease treatments at our practice for patients for all types of gum disease.