You may have gone to the dentist for your regular dental check-up or tooth cleaning. After all, that’s what dentists normally do, right? However, your oral health gives away more information about you than you might realize.
For dentists, your mouth is the window to the rest of your body. While cavities and plaque build-up may be your primary concern for your dentist’s visit, these may tell something more about your overall health and habits. Often, your dentist can detect certain diseases during a regular examination.
Here are some things they can tell about you:
- You only flossed one time — and only before your appointment
You cannot lie to your dentist if you say that you use dental floss daily when tooth brushing by doing so only the night before or the morning of your appointment. Healthy gums are usually tight and pink, while the people who floss just right before going to their dentist exhibit some bleeding or damage. Your dentist may also find an indication of fresh cuts on your gums for flossing obsessively.
- You are pregnant
An increase in progesterone during pregnancy facilitates the growth of bacteria, causing gingivitis. Nearly 40% of women will develop pregnancy gingivitis. Some may also experience a red lump on their gums called a pregnancy tumour or pyogenic granuloma.
The progesterone can also make your gum tissue more sensitive to plaque, causing them to overreact. It is not uncommon for pregnant women to develop gum problems too. Some studies suggest a correlation between gum disease and premature or low-weight births. If you are expecting or trying to conceive, it only makes sense to visit a mouth doctor as early as possible.
- You bite your nails
Your dentist doesn’t need to check your nails to know that you have a habit of biting them. Your teeth may show signs of chipping and cracking, in addition to the wear and tear from constant stress. People who bite their nails typically have levelled off, flat front teeth. However, it’s not your nails that caused the damage but the contact between your top and bottom teeth.
- You are stressed
Another thing that a chipped and worn down tooth may say about you is that you are stressed. Stress tends to cause people to grind or clench their teeth. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can ultimately result in bone loss, which your dentist may be able to detect through an X-ray. Likewise, your top and bottom teeth may not also be properly aligned. So when you have your teeth checked, your dentist may tell you that you need to relax.
- You sucked your thumb
If you sucked your thumbs or a finger past the age of 7, you might have developed significant changes to your bite and your teeth positioning. Dentists can see signs like protruding front teeth, which can affect the growth and development of children’s jaws and speech patterns. Fortunately, these can be corrected through orthodontic treatments.
- You may have an underlying condition causing bad breath
Generally, bad breath can be diagnosed as plain halitosis. However, dentists can discover more than that. The first thing a dentist does is rule out the possibility of the smell coming from your mouth. They may recommend that you see another medical professional to check you for other issues.
The smell of your mouth can mean different things. Having a “fruity” smell could be a warning sign of high blood sugar or diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication of diabetes. The smell of ammonia may mean a kidney condition.
- You have an eating disorder
Do not be surprised if your dentist asks if you have an eating disorder. Eating disorders, like bulimia, show a distinct pattern of wear and tear on your teeth. Erosion happens almost entirely on the tongue side of the front teeth, as well as hints of increased cavities. The smell of your breath when your body starts breaking down fats and proteins can also be a tell-tale sign.
- You have nutritional deficiencies
Deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals can manifest in various mouth problems or conditions, such as burning tongue syndrome, increased infections, or bleeding gums. Iron deficiency, for example, can be detected through the severe sores in the corners of the mouth and tongue. Bleeding red gums and the absence of tartar can indicate Vitamin C deficiency. You may not be eating enough fruits and vegetables. Dentists may advise you to develop a well-balanced diet plan for your oral health.
- You have a drinking problem
Saliva neutralizes the acid in our mouths that tend to cause damage. However, alcohol dries the mouth out, which makes alcoholic patients at high risk of developing cavities. This is in addition to the fact that having “chipmunk red cheeks” and alcohol breath is a dead giveaway.
- You love sugary beverages
You may have chipped your tooth because of an entirely different reason, but there is a reason why your teeth are weak and susceptible to chipping in the first place. Soda and other sugary drinks can soften the teeth over time. Similarly, energy drinks, which are more acidic than soft drinks, can inflict more damage to your tooth enamel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dental specialists are not only meant to help you clean or fix your teeth. They are also well-equipped to provide patients with answers and advice. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
- What diseases can a dentist detect?
Dentists can detect clues about your overall health. Your mouth problems can be related to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, certain types of cancers, among others. They may be the first to notice the symptoms and will refer you to a primary care doctor for follow-up.
- Can a dentist tell if you have oral cancer?
Dentists can see signs of oral cancer, which are usually red and white lesions on the floor of your mouth, palate, or tongue. After which, they will advise you to see an oral surgeon or a medical doctor for a biopsy.
- Can a dentist tell if you drink?
Yes, the health of your teeth and gums are reasonable indications of your beverage intake. Not to mention, the smell of your breath can also be an absolute indication.
- Can a dentist tell if you have an STD?
Different sexually transmitted diseases manifest various symptoms. The most common are soreness in your throat, swollen glands, and white spots in your mouth. HIV/AIDS, for example, shows oral signs, including oral warts, fever blisters, and oral thrush.
- How does a dentist check for infection?
Some infections have visible oral symptoms. Nevertheless, the dentist may also recommend an X-ray or CT scan to identify abscess and determine whether the infection has spread to other areas.
Make an Appointment
There is more to dental care than your teeth and gums. It is critical to go to your dentist for a regular dental check-up.
If you are looking for a trusted dental clinic and dentist in Burlington, visit Lakeside Family Dental at Lakeshore Rd. for oral care treatment. With Dr. Michael Cohen and a team of highly qualified dentists, you are in good hands. Call (905) 637-0801 to set an appointment today.