Dental Exams and Diagnosis of Digestive Problems
Systemic health problems often cause problems in the mouth, where they may be discovered during a dental exam. As the start of the digestive tract, the mouth is a natural place to find signs of digestive problems. Here are three digestive problems that may be found during a dental check-up.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are potentially life-threatening diseases of the lower digestive tract. Ulcers and inflammation related to these diseases can show up in many parts of the body, including the mouth. Nutrient deficiencies resulting from these diseases can also affect the teeth and gums.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This common affliction is not yet completely understood by scientists, but it has been linked to stress. In dental offices, the condition has been associated with TMJ, a jaw joint condition that has also been linked to stress. Some researchers believe that the connection between IBS and TMJ involves elevated pain sensitivity.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly called GERD, involves chronic reflux of stomach acid and stomach contents upwards into the esophagus and sometimes the mouth. When stomach acid reaches the mouth, it can damage tooth enamel and irritate the gums and other soft tissues. This damage may be detected during a routine dental check-up.
Early detection is always valuable for health problems, whether dental or systemic. This is one more reason to visit our dentist regularly for check-ups. At a consultation with our dentist, you can learn more about the types of health problems that may be uncovered this way.
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