NEW YORK, May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 dental health and your overall health.
Be on the lookout for these warning signs provided for you by Marc Liechtung, DMD, 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. "Gum disease is marked by bleeding of the gums and bone structure of teeth, and if left untreated, can cause tooth decay and tooth loss as immune cells launch an all-out attack on pathogens in the mouth," according to Dr. Liechtung. 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.
- Diabetes—Bright red bleeding gums that are puffy and may contain small abscesses or loose teeth are harbingers of diabetes. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is higher in men than women at 56.4 and 38.4 percent respectively. Gum disease can also be a sign of something more serious, such as diabetes. Infections at your gum line can worsen the state of your diabetes and can contribute to the risk for heart disease and stroke so it is important to maintain a healthy mouth and see your dentist for preventive care.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. A recent study suggests a link between mouth sores and intolerance for gluten. Study participants who ate a gluten-free diet healed their canker sores.
- 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.
- 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.
For additional information, please visit www.ManhattanDentalArts.com
SOURCE Manhattan Dental Arts