No one wants cavities, much less tooth decay. The latter leading to the former. A decaying tooth causes pain to the person who has it, not to mention bad breath, which has social implications to the affected person. It is best to see your dentist if you have tooth decay so you can have it checked right away; in fact, you should have been visiting your dentist regularly (twice a year at least) to prevent or minimize the likelihood of you contracting tooth decay.
The dentist will be the first person who will normally diagnose and treat your decaying tooth or teeth, and it is rightly to be so. He/she may recommend applying some fluoride to cover the decaying area, particularly if it is just beginning to occur. If the decay has destroyed a portion of the tooth’s enamel, he/she may take off the decay and paste some filling on it to replace the opening. In case the decay has reached the nerve of the tooth, the dentist may perform a root canal treatment in which the nerve is removed and the tooth is reconstructed by filling it with a crown.
However, a dental problem such as tooth decay, particularly if it is regularly occurring, may be a symptom of a bigger trouble – thyroid sickness. A disorder on the thyroid can cause a variety of dental problems, and frequent tooth decay is just one of them.
Thyroid Abnormalities can Affect Your Dental and Oral Health
If your child is experiencing weakness in the jaw and teeth, unusual gaps in teeth growth, or crowded and jammed groups of teeth, then you may have to consider having your child checked for Hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is a condition wherein the thyroid gland does not create enough of a thyroid hormone called thyroxine. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism – how our bodies convert and utilise energy we get from the food and drinks we consume – and without enough thyroxine some of the body’s functions digress , mostly manifesting in irregular teeth growth among children. An underactive thyroid can also actuate gum inflammation or enlargement and fast progressing tooth decay leading to cavities.
Minus the irregular teeth growth, hypothyroidism affects adults’ oral health in a similar manner. People with hypothyroidism are more prone to infection; their cells and tissues may not heal quickly. So they have greater chances of contracting oral and dental problems such as: swollen and bleeding gums, frequent jaw spasms, fast decaying teeth which lead to grave cavities and teeth falling off. In severe cases, it can cause TMJ syndrome – Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (which we will discuss in a later article).
The opposite of an underactive thyroid, equally painful in its gravity and symptoms, is Hyperthyroidism. People who have an over active thyroid may experience fast decaying molars, sensitive teeth that hurt on sudden temperature change, and pain in the jaw.
Of course, thyroid disorders do not manifest themselves only through problems occurring inside your mouth. Your dentist must have the proper schooling and expertise so he can properly identify if your dental troubles are being caused by something else other than poor oral hygiene.
Proper medical practice obliges the dentist to coordinate with an expert endocrinologist* in order to have an appropriate assessment, diagnosis, and eventual treatment of the case at hand.
*An endocrinologist is a medical doctor who specializes in glands and hormones – and that includes the thyroid.
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