3 surprising secrets hidden in your mouth.

Ever wonder what dentists see when they look inside your mouth — well, besides teeth? It turns out they might just spot a secret or two.

No, they won’t detect that little white lie you told your boss about a new haircut. But they may spot some health problems your body has been keeping hidden from you. And that may lower your risk for certain diseases.*

What might your mouth be saying?

Psst! You’re showing signs of cancer.

Most dental exams include a screening for oral cancer. Risk factors for oral cancer may include:

  • Tobacco use — both smoked and smokeless
  • Alcohol use
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

Your dentist may look for signs inside your lips and cheeks; on the tongue, roof and floor of your mouth; and on your jaw and neck. It is often caught early with regular dental visits.

Psst! You have diabetes.

People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease and dry mouth, leading to problems like soreness, pain when chewing, infections, cavities and even tooth loss. When gum disease is left untreated, blood sugar may be harder to control and cause difficulty managing diabetes.

Psst! Your heart may be in trouble.

People with gum disease often have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Gum disease may also make some existing heart conditions worse.

What to do next

Don’t have a dentist? Use My UHCOpens a new window® or the Health For Me® app to find one in your network. Most UnitedHealthcare Dental plans cover regular checkups, either in full when using a network provider or with a small copay.

*Sources: American Academy of Periodontology; American Diabetes Association; American Heart Association; National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

The information provided is for educational purposes only. If you have a UnitedHealthcare Dental plan, please refer to your certificate of coverage for a full description of benefits.

Last reviewed January 2018

© 2018 United HealthCare Services, Inc.