Did you know that your teeth can tell your dentist about your lifestyle. 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 just before your appointment
You cannot lie to your dentist about flossing. Healthy gums are usually tight and pink. If you floss only once and right before going to their dentist, your gums will 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 dentist as early as possible.
You bite your nails
Your dentist doesn’t need to check your nails to know if you bite 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.
You have a drinking problem
Saliva neutralises 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.
What does this all mean?
Our dentists are here to help you improve your oral health. So while they may ask you difficult questions, it is so they can provide the best treatment possible.
They are also bound by confidentiality. So everything you tell them is in the vault!
Your teeth can tell the dentist lots of interesting things!