What Your Dentist Can Tell About Your Health (Just By Looking in Your Mouth)
The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but our mouths can be the windows to our overall health. From chronic health conditions like diabetes to seeing signs of cancer early on, a dentist can get a very clear look at both your dental health and overall health just by looking in your mouth and at your teeth. Our Fuquay Varina dentist is sharing a few things we can see during your checkup.
You (Only) Flossed Before Your Appointment
Many patients floss right before they visit the dentist, which is normal. However, whether you’re a regular flosser or if that’s the only time you floss, we can generally tell. Healthy gums of people who regularly floss are pink with healthy tissues, whereas patients who try to make up for months of neglect tend to cut at their gum or their gums look inflamed. In some cases, they will even be bleeding.
You Bite Your Nails
Chipped teeth, excessive wear and tear, and complaints of jaw pain are all signs that a patient bites their nails. The real tell is when the front teeth are leveled off and flat due to the frequent grinding of the top and bottom rows as they connect when the nails are bitten. Over time, biting your nails can also lead to unevenness and bite problems.
Signs of Stress and Anxiety
If your teeth appear worn or have cracks and chips, especially the molars, this is most likely due to grinding your teeth. While some people clench or grind due to alignment issues, it’s primarily caused by stress and anxiety, even for people who primarily do it at night.
You Used to Suck Your Thumb
People who sucked their thumb past the age of seven or eight are likely to exhibit signs of it in their bite and teeth positioning. Jaw growth can also be impacted, as well as speech patterns.
The Cause of Bad Breath
Halitosis, or bad breath, can come from a variety of issues. An abscess or failure to brush or floss regularly can be a factor, but so can sinus problems. However, if your breath has a “fruity” scent, this can be a sign of diabetes while a fishy odor to your breath can be a sign of liver or kidney problems. While a dentist can’t diagnose these concerns, we can recommend you see your physician to address them.
Signs of a Sinus Infection
Many patients who are experiencing pain in their teeth are actually experiencing gum pressure caused by a sinus infection. Some doctors suggest bending over to touch your toes, and if the pressure in your mouth gets worse, it is more likely a sinus infection that should be addressed by your general practitioner as opposed to tooth issues.
Vitamin deficiencies can cause a variety of oral problems, including a burning tongue, increased infections and delayed wound healing, bone infections, and easy-bleeding gums. Iron deficiencies often manifest in the mouth as many of these symptoms.
The first signs of oral cancer can be inexplicable bleeding in the mouth, white, red or speckled patches, changes in your bite and teeth patterns, swellings and bumps, and even eroded gums. Dentists know exactly what to look for and can work with you to get diagnosed and begin treatment.
Patients are often surprised when the first person to suspect an eating disorder is their dentist, but for people with bulimia, the erosion caused by frequent vomiting creates a very specific pattern of damage and wear. That being said, acid erosion isn’t always caused by an eating disorder, sometimes it’s caused by acid reflux, but it could be a factor.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Fuquay Varina Dentist Today
If you are concerned about your dental health, you’re looking for a new dentist, or you are simply due for a checkup, we can help! We are accepting new patients at our Fuquay Varina dental center and provide quality care, a safe environment, and offer several payment options, including a monthly dental membership plan. To learn more, call us at 919-552-2431 or schedule an appointment today.