What can a dentist tell from your mouth?
Is it possible for a dentist to detect problems with your oral health after just one look? And what about your overall health? A visit to the dentist is essential for avoiding significant issues with your teeth and gums. In fact, twice-yearly dental appointments could potentially detect a life-threatening illness.
The Benefits of Visiting the Dentist
An up close and personal look at your teeth has its benefits. Your dentist can advise you on better practices for increased oral health! Lean on the dentist’s expertise to maintain your winning smile and overall better health.
So, when we are asked, “What can my dentist tell from my mouth?” We answer, “a lot.” Here are just a few of the health conditions and habits we can see about your oral an overall health.
I floss every day… or just once before the appointment.
The dentist can take one look at your gums and know if you regularly floss. If your gums are sensitive to flossing by bleeding, the dentist knows it is not a part of your daily routine. In addition, bad breath and plaque buildup can signify the absence of flossing. So, yes, your dentist can tell if you only floss just before your dental exam and cleaning.
I don’t brush my teeth every day.
Daily brushing results in a shiny smile that is not overwhelmed by plaque buildup in the hard-to-reach areas. If you do not brush your teeth daily, you will likely have tooth decay. In addition, your gums will show signs of gum disease.
I bite my nails.
Biting your nails can be harmful to your teeth, causing wear and tear to the enamel. In addition, as you grind down the teeth to bite your nails, the teeth can exhibit chipping, erosion, and even cracking. Your dentist will talk to you about choosing a different method for cutting your nails.
I have diabetes or other illnesses.
Did you know that gum disease is an early indicator of diabetes? Studies show that this simple oral health screening can lead to a diagnosis of diabetes, putting the patient back on the path to better health. Diabetes management is essential to living a full and healthy life with the condition. And if you catch it early by visiting the dentist, you will learn how to manage the disease before it progresses.
I vape or use tobacco.
Some people mistakenly think that vaping is better for the teeth than smoking. Even though it doesn’t contain tobacco, vaping has nicotine, which also stains the teeth. Nicotine is also a stimulant, resulting in grinding teeth and damaging them that way. You can also get mouth burns from vaping.
I have dry mouth.
During a dental cleaning, the dentist will detect dry mouth if sufficient saliva does not pool around the tongue. Saliva is essential to protecting the teeth against decay and facilitating the ability to taste. In addition, your dentist may identify medication or treatment that is causing dry mouth and discuss treatment options with you.
I am pregnant.
Pregnancy gingivitis is present in about 30-50% of pregnant women. The increased bleeding and tenderness of gums can easily be detected at a dental appointment. In addition, lumps along the gumline can show up while you’re pregnant and go away after birth.
I sucked my thumb.
When you suck your thumb, the teeth come in differently to accommodate the shape of the thumb. As a result, protruding teeth are easily detected when a dentist examines your teeth. Consequently, your dentist will advise you to stop if you are still sucking your thumb. And if your teeth do not align, you will be referred to an orthodontist.
I have an eating disorder.
If the patient has an eating disorder that includes throwing up several times a day, the signs will manifest on the teeth through tooth decay, gum disease, or bad breath. The dentist can be part of recognizing preliminary signs and discussing treatment options with the patient.
I drink too much alcohol.
Alcohol is easy to detect because of its strong smell. However, the dentist can also tell your alcohol consumption by dry mouth. Alcohol is one of the causes of dry mouth, reducing saliva production and increasing your chance of halitosis and tooth decay.
I drink too much soda or sports drinks.
You may think your dentist doesn’t know, but they can tell when you drink a lot of soda or sports drinks. This is because the acid in the soda breaks down your tooth enamel. The specific pattern is easy to detect by dentists, and early detection is critical to avoiding severe tooth decay.
I have a sinus infection.
Did you know that sinus infections can manifest themselves in a toothache? This is because the sinus cavity near the back of the teeth gets inflamed during a sinus infection. People often mistake tenderness and pain for a toothache. The dentist can identify the inflamed area and help you heal from the sinus infection.
I have oral cancer.
Each time you visit the dentist, they check for oral cancer. Signs include a white patch, a sore that bleeds easily and doesn’t go away, or a hard lump. Because you do not get an up-close look at your mouth to check for these signs, you can count on the dentist to administer the exam during a dental cleaning.
I have acid reflux.
Signs of acid reflux on the teeth include sensitivity to hot or cold liquids, yellowing of the teeth, and a change in your fillings. Abscesses or tooth loss can occur in extreme cases. Your dentist can identify these signs when they check your mouth during your appointment.
I have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
Sleep apnea limits the amount of oxygen you get during sleep and can be detected by your dentist for immediate treatment. Teeth grinding and redness in the throat are signs of sleep apnea. The dentist will look for these signs during each check-up.
I have a vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin deficiencies show up in the mouth through a sore tongue, cracked lips, improper teeth formation, bleeding gums, and changing shapes of your teeth. You can speak with your dentist about implementing the necessary vitamins in your diet for improved overall health.
It's time to schedule a visit to the dentist.
Who knew that all this information could be gleaned from one look in the mouth? As dentists, we can tell a lot about your oral health and overall health just by looking into your mouth. Your dentist is waiting to address your health issues and lead you in the right direction to overall good health.
When you schedule your dental cleaning, it is not just about scraping the plaque buildup from your teeth. Instead, prioritize your oral health the same way you would schedule an annual check-up with your primary physician and allow your dentist to identify any and all health concerns.