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How can dental problems indicate diseases elsewhere in the body?

David Wong, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., professor and associate dean of research at the UCLA School of Dentistry notes that systemic diseases such as HIV and osteoporosis are often first detected through symptoms in the mouth -- the appearance of hairy tongue and severe gum infection in the case of HIV and the first stages of bone loss for osteoporosis. Gum disease and other mouth infections can also contribute to problems elsewhere in the body. Gum disease has been linked in studies to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as premature birth. Poor oral health can also make diabetes more difficult to control.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.