How Your Dentist Could Save Your Life

Oral HygieneIf the idea of a trip to the dentist sends you running for the hills, you’re not alone. The drilling and the hours sitting with your mouth filling up with saliva are hardly glamorous, are they?

But Mhari Coxon hygienist for Philips Sonicare, says a trip to the dentist could be a lifesaver: “People don’t realise the way in which the mouth is linked to the rest of the body and how much of an indicator it can be of other more serious problems. But as dentists, we’re trained to look out for all kinds of things that if spotted early, can make a big difference to your health.”

Read on for why that dental appointment should shoot straight to the top of your to-do list for 2015!


Odours – Dentists are trained to recognise different odours from your mouth – a kind of very sweet peardrop smell could be the sign of liver problems. A fishy smell could indicate a problem with kidney and a damp soil smell is from bacteria and can be associated with gum disease – it’s often found in smokers or ex-smokers.

Saliva Flow – poor production and saliva flow can be a sign of diabetes.

Coating on Tongue – dehydration

Raspberry tongue – A red tongue with lots of raised bumps could indicate the presence of liver disease and diabetes

Red Patches or Ulcers that don’t heal – Alongside white patches that don’t go away, these two symptoms can be signs of oral cancer.

Skin Abnormalities – Dentists always look at your face and lips as well as your teeth. Loss of symmetry in the face, swelling, which could be node swellings or gland issues. The examination is one way of detecting cancers like oral-pharyngeal cancer and lymphoma.


Dentists have power of referral straight to a consultant (eg: an oncologist) so you can bypass your GP and some of the difficulties in getting referred. They can also give you great advice on flossing and its importance.

Mhari says: ‘The build-up of bacteria between the gums can lead to diabetes, heart disease and dementia. This is because the tissue in the mouth is very thin and bacteria can easily get into the blood stream from here. By flossing every day, you can reduce the build up of this kind of bacteria.’

For a great clean, Mhari recommends Philips DiamondClean Pink.

Rebecca Wright

With one foot planted firmly in the world of real life journalism and her other toe dipping into the delights of food and travel writing, Rebecca likes to mix it up a bit.
A journalist with over ten years experience, she’s a Londoner born and bred and admits to a weakness for kitsch, cooking and la vie francaise.
Rebecca’s got an insatiable curiosity (read nosey parker) and loves nothing better than meeting new people and discovering new worlds.


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