Reader’s Digest (4/19, Bender) states that “dentists are trained to spot more than just cavities,” listing seven dental problems that “may signal a health issue happening elsewhere in the body.” The article states, for example, that a dentist may be able to detect that a patient has diabetes. “Red, swollen gums that may bleed are the hallmarks of periodontal disease,” and people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. “If gums bleed a lot and are swollen or the patient is having frequent abscesses or infections, the dentist might start to question if you have a family history of diabetes,” says ADA spokesperson Dr. Sally Cram. Dentists may also be able to detect if a patient is stressed. “Grinding or clenching your teeth can be a sign that you’re under pressure,” the article states, adding that Dr. Cram also notes canker sores appear more often in people who are stressed. In addition, dentists may be able to identify patients with acid reflux, low bone mineral density, an autoimmune disease, an eating disorder, or celiac disease.
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