By examining your mouth your dentist can, of course, tell if you’ve been brushing and flossing regularly and effectively. But that’s just the beginning. There are a number of personal habits and health issues that can be detected — or at least suspected — based on the condition of your teeth, gums, and mouth tissues. Consequently, your dentist plays a bigger part in your overall health than you may have thought. And knowing this, you might see your trip to the dentist as more important than ever!
Insights from a Look Inside
When performing your annual or bi-annual dental exam, your dentist is doing far more than a simple assessment of your mouth. Here are some other things that can be learned:
You sucked your thumb longer than most. The sucking of thumbs and fingers is very common in children and generally has no long-term effect on the condition of their mouth. Those who continue the habit past seven or eight years of age can cause changes to the mouth that, even after corrective orthodontia, are detectable years later. They generally aren’t problematic, but your dentist may ask you about them to confirm they aren’t a sign of something else.
You believe you can cram for a dental visit like a test! Maintaining good oral health requires a continual effort. Brushing and/or flossing especially vigorously in the days (or hours!) leading up to your exam can’t make up for months and months of neglect. In fact, being too aggressive with your pre-visit oral care can actually damage your teeth and inflame your gums.
You bite your nails. Your dentist can tell from the patterns of wear, cracks, and chips in your teeth that you are a nail biter. People often think that because nails are relatively soft the habit is harmless. Unfortunately, the damage doesn’t result from contact between your teeth and nails, it occurs when your teeth have broken through the nail and make contact with one another. And damage to your teeth is just the beginning. Nail biting can lead to jaw pain and discomfort.
You may have a systemic medical condition. Your breath says a lot about the workings of certain internal systems. Dentists are training to detect breath that is noticeable “fruity” or “fishy.” Fruity breath can be a sign that you have uncontrolled diabetes. Fishy breath may indicate kidney or liver failure. Other conditions like bronchitis or a gastrointestinal issue may be the culprit as well.
You may have a sinus infection. The roots of your top teeth are positioned close to your sinuses. Consequently, what may feel like pain or pressure from a tooth problem can actually be a sinus issue. A quick home test is to have the person bend over and touch their toes. If this increases the pain or pressure, the source of the problem is probably the sinuses.
You may have oral cancer. White, red, or speckled patches in the mouth, unexplained bleeding, and lumps or swelling are some signs that point to oral cancer, and your dentist may be the first person to notice them.
Here’s to Your Health!
Hopefully your dental exam will reveal nothing more than healthy teeth, gums, and tissues and a stunning smile. But it’s nice to know that your visit to the dentist can help you become aware of habits you should break or possible medical conditions you should talk with your physician about. And when it comes to correcting any dental issues discovered in your exam, Elevate Dental Wellness offers services that include:
- Preventive dentistry
- Restorative dentistry
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Mercury free/barrier protected mercury removal
- Biocompatibility testing
- Nutritional/supplementation support
- Ozone therapy
To schedule your next exam with Drs. Steinbach and Van Gorden, please call 970-279-5647, or visit us online at elevatewillits.com! We’ve proudly provided comprehensive dental care to Basalt, Aspen, Carbondale, and surrounding Colorado areas for 25 years.