For many people, it’s typical to see the dentist twice a year for routine cleanings, but those simple visits, can mean that dentists will be the first to spot potentially life-threatening medical conditions, including diabetes, and even cancer.
Dr. Katy Wagner of Taylor Wagner family dentistry in Jonesboro has performed standard dental procedures for over a decade. She can pinpoint diabetes and oral cancer using her sight and smell.
“Diabetes may be associated with more of a fruity breath, that’s something that would tip you off,” says Dr. Wagner. “Not necessarily meaning everyone that has fruity breath has diabetes, but it could be an indicator. Oral cancer can be detected, just by visually looking, and knowing what you’re looking at. Of course, it has to be tested and biopsied.”
Every check-in starts the same. They can also reveal vitamin B deficiencies and Crohn’s disease.
“We’re gonna take X-rays of all of your teeth. That’s going to detect bone-loss. It can detect cavities, it can detect fractures, and infection,” Dr. Wagner adds, “We want to be as preventive as possible.”
Despite the medical revelations dental screenings provide, a lack of education, and stigma around visits continue to be hurdles for the practice.
“I know that the dentist isn’t people’s favorite place to come, and unfortunately, people often associate coming to the dentist with they have pain, that it’s not a necessity. And really to be screened twice a year is so significant,” explains Dr. Wagner.
The next time you’re due for your dentist visit, you’re encouraged not to skip it. Dentists seeing your teeth every six months, could be the key to saving your life.