Developing a good relationship with your family dentist and making sure your entire family has regular checkups is an important part of maintaining good oral health. But there can be other health benefits, as well. In fact, an observant dental health professional is perfectly positioned to spot the early signs of some serious health conditions and diseases that affect other parts of the body. Here are just four of many possible examples. 

Uncontrolled blood sugar

Patients who develop diabetes may experience uncontrolled blood sugar levels for months or even years before their condition is discovered by a medical doctor. But people who have fluctuating blood sugar levels and other symptoms that eventually lead to the development of diabetes tend to also experience gum disease. Because of this, dentists that see patients who are experiencing the loosening teeth and bleeding tissues that suggest gum disease may also suspect their patient is developing diabetes and suggest they have their medical doctor run some tests. 

Weakened bones 

While a dental patient's teeth do not actually change composition when osteoporosis is developing, the jaw bones that hold both the top and bottom teeth can. As the amount of jaw bone decreases, the gums begin to recede and the teeth soon become loose and unstable in their sockets. Dentists who note these symptoms in patients who meet certain other common risk factors for bone density issues, such as women who are past menopause, may suggest their patient discuss their concerns with their medical doctor. 

Autoimmune conditions 

Dentists who find that their patient is experiencing jaw pain and swelling or having difficulty fully opening their mouth may at first suspect TMJ, a temporomandibular joint condition. But the same symptoms can also point to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a potentially debilitating autoimmune condition. Family dentists who find these symptoms may suggest their patient be seen by their medical care team for further testing. 

Heart health issues

The link between periodontal disease and coronary disease is now widely recognized in both the dental and medical care communities. Unfortunately, merely improving dental health may not be enough to stop or reverse any coronary issues. Dentists are, however, able to discuss their concerns with their patients and encourage them to talk with their doctor about further monitoring and medical testing. 

To learn more about all the ways in which regular dental care can help you enjoy better oral and physical health, take time to meet with a reputable family dentist in your area.