Purplish patches or bumps on the roof of the mouth could be Kaposi's
sarcoma, often the first sign of HIV infection and AIDS.
Rough patches on the cheeks, gums, tongue or lips could be cancerous
or precancerous lesions.
Red, puffy or swollen gums or an overall pungent odor could be
indications of gum disease.
Lumps or bumps in the mouth could denote swollen lymph glands or a
blocked salivary gland.
Rapidly advancing gum disease in younger patients could be an early
sign of diabetes, especially if there is a purplish hue around
abscesses in the gums.
Discolored or irregularly shaped or worn teeth could indicate a host
of problems ranging from decay to tooth grinding to fractures.
You know how your dentist always asks you if you've been
flossing every day and you say, "Oh yeah, every single day," and
then you wonder if he/she knows you're lying because actually there was a
stretch back there in August when you ran out of floss and kept forgetting
to pick up a new batch at the store? Well, let's just say he/ she might have
Your dentist can tell a lot from his/her quick look in the old
oral cavity. In fact, with his/her complex series of evaluations that include
feeling, looking and smelling for any irregularities, your flossing
exaggerations are the least of what he/she may detect. Dentists spend at
least 4 years after college in dental school where their training covers
a medical education that doesn't just stop at the teeth. That's why it's
important to make sure a dentist, and not just a hygienist, examines your
mouth every six months. And to keep a back-up supply of dental floss on
hand at all times.
Copyright © 1995-2000 California Dental Association.