9 Things Your Dentist Might Deduce About You
You may have heard the expression “Your eyes are a window to your soul.” Similarly, “Your mouth a window to your body,” especially for those trained to look properly. There are at least 9 things that your dentist might deduce about you just by examining your mouth. Keep in mind that these observations are part of an effort to promote a patient’s overall health. Some diseases like cancer, diabetes, and anemia when discovered early can treated more effectively, and even cured. Often dentists can identify these first while looking through your “bodies window” and refer you to a specialist for help. But what else can they see when looking closely at your mouth?
You Only Floss for Your Dentist
You floss once a year, just before your dental checkup. That’s right, dentists can tell. Your cut, bleeding and damaged gums from your overzealous flossing is an obvious contrast to tight, smooth pink gums. It takes time for gums to toughen up and for floss to bounce off habitually flossed tissues. If you want to recover from a year of not flossing, and fool your dentist, you will need to begin regular flossing at least 3 months before your annual cleaning. Why not start a good routine now and not worry about the last-minute cover up?
Some pregnant women despite good dental routines, are prone to gingivitis. In Canada almost 40% will develop gingivitis while pregnant. Some dental experts say this is from higher progesterone levels. A small percentage of pregnant women also develop a small red lump on their gums called a “pyogenic granuloma” or “pregnancy tumor.” Do not worry though, its not cancerous, and will disappear after the baby is delivered but remember to thank your mom! So, your dentist may know you are pregnant from these two signs, but since both symptoms usually progress later in the pregnancy, your secret my long be discovered before your dentist figures it out.
You Bite your Nails
Do you bite your nails? Your dentist probably can tell that you bite your nails from signs inside your mouth. The signs include wear on the tooth surfaces especially on the front teeth, chips and even cracks in your teeth. Nail bitters can have uneven tooth ware from constant stress on the teeth and jaw. Some suffer from jaw pain and headaches. Therefore, even gloves will not hide this common habit from your dentist.
You Sucked Your Thumb
Some habits that you may have had as a child can be detected from a close examination. Most children when young use a soother or suck their thumb for emotional comfort. A dentist might see signs that you had a problem with sucking your thumb. Some who struggled to kick the habit show it in tooth position and bite misalignments. For example, dentists sometimes see protruding front teeth from long periods of thumb sucking. Fortunately, this can be corrected with orthodontic treatments like Invisalign. If left unchecked, it can affect a person’s speech. The earlier it is noticed the easier it is to correct.
Dentists are trained to detect certain types of bad breath. Halitosis is bad breath caused by bacteria in the mouth, but did you know that certain types of bad breath might cause your dentist to worry about you? An abnormal “fruity” or “sweet” smell may be because of a fast or diet that has progressed too far. Or it can also signify diabetes with dangerous sugar levels. A “fishy” smell could mean something more serious like kidney or liver failure! So, if your dentist is confident that the odor is not dental in nature, then listen carefully to their advice and or referral. Consult your doctor immediately.
*note. Blood sugar problems also show up in your gums. Swelling, bleeding, increased sensitivity, saliva consistency and rapid tooth decay are all common symptoms of diabetes.
You Have an Eating Disorder
Dentists are sometimes the first to notice eating disorders. Tooth erosion on the backside of the front teeth leaves a distinct pattern of tooth decay, and cavity formation, that is often a sign of bulimia or malnutrition. There are other factors that could cause this. According to dental expert’s acid reflux, and some prescription medication can also display similarly. Your dentist may ask you about your eating habits, especially if he or she suspects an eating disorder. Be assured that Your best interests are in mind when tactful questions are asked about this delicate but serious condition.
You Have a Sinus Infection
Tooth infection or sinus infection? In a past blog, we talked about “Our Amazing Nervous System” and the Superior Alveolar Nerve. The roots of the top teeth are positioned in the same area as the floor of the sinuses and both get their senses from the same Superior Alveolar Nerve. It is no wonder that many people think they have a severe tooth infection needing a root canal, when in fact their sinuses are the issue. Your dentist can quickly identify if your tooth is the problem with a simple examination. But before you make an appointment try this first. Bend down and touch your toes. If the pain increases than it is more likely sinus than tooth related. You should see your GP, not your dentist. Don’t feal bad the pain feels the same and is sometimes really difficult to decipher.
You’re an Alcoholic
Besides having alcohol on your breath or red checks from high blood pressure, your dentist may be able to tell if you are an alcoholic from symptoms in your mouth. Habitual alcohol consumption dries out your mouth and dehydrates your body. A dry mouth is often prone to tooth decay because it lacks needed neutralizing effects of saliva. Even with a good dental routine, damage causing acids if left unchecked will wear down enamel, cause cavities, and gingivitis.
You Have a Serious Condition
At the outset we talked about how “the window to your body”, your mouth, can sometimes show signs of serious medical conditions like cancer. Your dentist is trained to spot oral cancer and is all to aware of its presence in Canada. So how might your dentist know if you have oral cancer? What are the signs? First signs of oral cancer include abnormal bleeding, white and red speckled patches of tissue, sudden orthodontic changes like misalignment, swelling, abnormal lumps, and infection on your lips or gums. Your dentist will let you know immediately if they think you have symptoms of oral cancer.
A Dentist Should Care About You
In many ways your dentist is the first line of defence against disease and health concerns. Your mouth does reveal a lot about you, your habits, and your health. It is a window to your body. Therefore, visit your dentist (who cares about you) regularly. If your dentist doesn’t care about you, then find one that does.
Erbsville Dental is Caring. Friendly. Experienced.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.