Dental Blog

5 Medical Problems Your Teeth Can Predict

5 Medical Problems Your Teeth Can Predict

700 700 Macatawa Smiles

5 Medical Problems Your Teeth Can Predict Dentist Holland MIDid you know that our dentist may be able to detect early signs of diabetes, osteoporosis, and even heart disease? Many people don’t realize that oral health is linked to overall health until it’s too late.

This blog post is in no way meant to act as a substitute for seeing your primary care physician.

If you suspect a problem with your overall health, call your doctor.

How Can Medical Conditions Affect Oral Health?

Your teeth, gums, and jaw are not isolated from the rest of your body. For example, research has revealed a possible connection between gum disease and diabetes.

Since your body is made of interconnected systems, it’s important to take care of your smile by seeing our dentist every 6 months and maintaining good oral hygiene.

The goal of preventive dentistry is to protect oral health before you lose it.

Here are 5 medical problems your teeth can predict.

1. Diabetes

People with diabetes have difficulty resisting infection, which often leads to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by untreated plaque buildup, an invisible film of bacteria on your teeth. Fortunately, early gum disease (gingivitis) can be reversed by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing our dentist for a teeth cleaning every 6 months.

If left untreated, gingivitis will develop into a serious (and incurable) gum infection called periodontitis. If you have a family history of diabetes, talk with our dentist about ways to avoid gum disease.

Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums, receding gums, bad breath, and tooth loss. If you suspect you have gum disease, schedule an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible.

2. Heart Disease

Loose teeth can be a sign of many different health issues, including heart disease. While your children or grandchildren may be happy to place teeth under their pillows, losing a tooth as an adult is a cause for concern.

If you lose a tooth, your first call should be to our office to schedule an appointment. Depending on the condition of your teeth and gums, we may recommend dental implants, dental 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 smoking, abusing alcohol, human papillomavirus (HPV), and not using sun protection on the lips. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 53,000 Americans will get oral or throat cancer in 2020.

If you notice white or red patches inside your mouth, schedule an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible for an oral cancer screening. Bleeding sores and hard lumps are also signs you may have oral cancer.

While there may be other factors to consider, it’s always best to be on the safe side by scheduling an oral cancer screening with our dentist. There are always ways you can reduce your risk of oral cancer, such as quitting smoking.

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 dentist every 6 months. We’re able to take X-rays of your teeth and jaw to monitor the health of bone tissue.

5. Eating Disorders

The body tells a story. Even if a patient tries to hide an eating disorder, our dentist 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.

Request an Appointment with Dr. Habecker

Dr. Brenton Habecker is 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. That way, Dr. Habecker will be able to customize your dental care to your specific needs.

To request an appointment with our dentist in Holland, MI, call Macatawa Smiles at (616) 396-7524.

This blog post has been updated.


Dear Patient Family,

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care and we appreciate your understanding while we kept our office closed to follow orders from the Governor's Office.

We are happy to say that we are opening our office for all patient treatment on June 1st, 2020. Our hours of operation will go back to normal, Monday-Thursday 8am - 5pm. We want you to know that there will be some changes at your next appointment. Please be patient with us as our protocols will inevitably change as new guidelines are released.

  • We ask that you use our parking lot as the waiting room.
  • Please wear a mask when you come into the office and leave it on until entering the treatment room. Homemade is acceptable.
  • Only the person receiving treatment should come in the building, all others will be asked to wait in the car if at all possible. The exception will be for our minor patients who may have one parent accompany them.
  • We will be asking you some questions when you arrive at the office and we will also be taking your temperature.
  • We will not be able to offer magazines, drinks, or toys at this time as they cannot be disinfected to our standards. Eventually this will change and we will be happy to offer our amenities once again.

These changes have been made to adhere to the latest CDC guidelines and for the benefit of our patients and our staff. We want you to know that our office has always taken the safety of our patients very seriously and that we will continue to follow the highest levels of sterilization and disinfection to keep you protected. If you would like more information on what measures we have taken we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

We cannot say how excited we are to see all of our patients again and to provide for their dental needs. We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces soon!

Dr. Habecker and Team