Opening your mouth during a dental checkup reveals a great deal about your general health and well-being as well as the status of your pearly whites. Your teeth and gums can tell the story of your overall health to a trained eye. For example, loose teeth may point to osteoporosis, while cavities and gum disease may signal underlying heart disease or diabetes. A high percentage of systemic conditions such as heart disease are linked to symptoms in the mouth, and since most people only see their physician for a checkup once a year, your dentist may be the one to pick up on new health concerns. Beyond detecting existing conditions that may affect you, regular dental checkups and dental hygiene appointments can help prevent many of these problems. Oral bacteria from gum infections have been shown to travel to many parts of the body such as the heart. For pregnant women, dental checkups and cleanings should be paramount. The oral bacteria have been found to affect birth weight and pre-term birth. Diabetes patients are at risk on several levels. Blood sugar levels and sugar levels in your mouth are linked. Oral bacteria thrive on sugar, and high levels lead to rampant tooth decay and periodontal disease. Unfortunately, diabetes lowers your resistance to infection; as a result, treating gum disease in diabetic patients is more difficult but necessary. Blood sugar levels are more easily maintained in patients who do not suffer from active periodontal disease. While Glendale cosmetic dentist Dr. Donald Wilcox is screening you for new cavities and possible gum problems, he will also be looking for mouth sores, loss of the bone that supports the teeth, and possible oral cancer signs. Your regular dental checkup and hygiene appointment is an important part of your overall health routine. By preventing problems before they start through patient education and early detection of underlying health issues, regular visits with Dr. Wilcox can safeguard your health and prevent costly treatments down the road. If regular dental checkups are not already part of your healthcare routine, please contact our Glendale cosmetic dentist today to schedule your appointment. Desert Smiles welcomes new patients in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, and Glendale, Arizona areas.