Did you know that our Hudsonville dentists might be able to detect early signs of diabetes, osteoporosis, and even heart disease just by examining your mouth? Many people don’t realize that oral health is linked to the overall health of your body until it’s too late. The best way to take care of your smile is to see our dentists every 6 months for a routine teeth cleaning and dental exam. After all, the goal of preventive dentistry is to protect oral health before you lose it. Here are 5 medical issues that should be further confirmed with a primary care physician if our team of dentists find their telltale warning signs. Your Teeth and Gums Can Show Signs Of: 1.) Diabetes People with diabetes have difficulty resisting infection, which often leads to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by an untreated buildup of plaque, an invisible film of bacteria on your teeth. Fortunately, early gum disease (gingivitis) is reversible with good oral hygiene practiced at home and teeth cleanings from our dentists every 6 months. However, if ignored, gingivitis will develop into a serious and long-term gum infection called periodontitis. If you have a family history of diabetes, talk with our dentists about ways you can avoid gum disease and keep your smile healthy. Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums, receding gums, bad breath, and loose teeth. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, schedule an appointment with one of our dentists as soon as possible. 2.) Heart Disease Loose teeth can indicate a variety of different health issues, including heart disease. While children are happy to place teeth under their pillows, losing a tooth as an adult is cause for concern. If you lose a tooth, your first call should be to our Hudsonville dental office to schedule an appointment. Depending on the condition of your teeth and gums, we may recommend dental implants, bridges, or partial dentures. Gum disease can also be a sign of heart issues. For example, dentists know that bacteria from periodontal disease can pass through the bloodstream into your heart. If you have coronary artery disease, the gum-borne bacteria could agitate your condition. 3.) Oral Cancer Risk factors for oral cancer include age (55+), smoking, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, human papillomavirus (HPV), and not using sun protection on the lips. While genetics and family history can also come into play here, they may not be sole contributing factors. If you notice white or red patches inside your mouth, ask our dentists about scheduling an oral cancer screening. Bleeding sores and hard lumps are also signs you may have oral cancer. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and get screened. 4.) Osteoporosis It’s not uncommon for people with osteoporosis to have loose teeth and receding gums. Bones can get brittle with age, which is why it’s important to see our dentists regularly. We can take X-rays of your teeth and jaw to monitor the health of bone tissue and catch arising issues. 5.) Eating Disorders The body tells a story. Even if a patient tries to hide an eating disorder, our dentists may be able to tell just by looking at their teeth. For example, a patient with bulimia nervosa may have less enamel on the insides of their front teeth from vomiting. Other symptoms of an eating disorder that can show up during a routine dental exam include dry mouth, sensitive teeth, and bleeding gums. Prioritize Your Oral Health Our dentists in Hudsonville, MI, are dedicated to helping patients maintain good oral health by providing preventive dentistry services. When you first become our patient, we’ll ask you to fill out your family medical history so we can offer customized dental care that matches your specific needs. To schedule an appointment, call Hudsonville Dental today at (616) 209-4024. This blog post has been updated.