Your dental partners are also your partners in health. We’re happy to see more family physicians are acknowledging that connection between the mouth and the rest of the body. You may be familiar with the connection between untreated gum disease and the vascular inflammation linked to heart disease and stroke. You may not be as familiar with the jaw and mouth related symptoms of these conditions. As a society, we have the tendency to focus on “commonly-cited” symptoms of a heart attacks or strokes, such as pain on the left side of the body. But women may experience symptoms that you don’t read about as commonly online. These include:
- Jaw pain or discomfort
- Particularly pronounced pain in the lower jaw
- Discomfort seemingly originating from the jaw worsens when twisting from side-to-side
- Mouth pain that gets worse with deep breath, persists at rest or, conversely, during physical activity
Usually, if tooth or jaw pain is the only worrisome condition, TMJ dysfunction or other dental problems are to blame. If accompanied by other types of symptoms, underlying medical conditions such as cancers, sinus infections, and salivary stones may be to blame. Don’t doubt. Call your health partners without delay.