Although you might think that your dentist will judge you for your garlic breath, they are actually more interested in preventative dental health. You may furiously brush and floss your teeth prior to your dental appointment in hopes your doctor won’t notice any slacking off you have done in your daily dental health regimen but the dentist knows all! The inside of your mouth can act as a window to the rest of your body. It is not unusual that dentist can be the first person to identify various health issues unrelated to your teeth such as diabetes, anemia or even cancer.
Despite your last ditch efforts, every dentist can tell when a patient flosses only before the appointment, but not regularly. People who floss daily will have pink, tight gums. Whereas, someone who only floss right before entering the dentist office, might display damaged, irritated or bleeding gums. You know your doctor is going to say it anyway! FLOSS EVERY DAY!
Almost 40% of pregnant women develop gingivitis throughout their pregnancy! The main cause is an increased level of progesterone, which grows bacteria and can develop gingivitis. In some cases, pregnant women can also develop red bumps on their gums called pyogenic granuloma or pregnancy tumors. These types of granuloma usually dissipate after the pregnancy is over though.
Your dentist can tell if you are a nail biter without even looking at your nails! If you have this habit, your teeth will display chips, cracking, or wear and tear on the teeth from all the stress. Nail biters tend to have uneven teeth or even experience discomfort and pain in the jaw area. Your front teeth should usually are flat and leveled off. Most likely it’s not the nails that cause the damage, but the contact between the bottom and top front teeth that are the main factor, which wears off the surfaces.
Some children suck their thumbs, which can cause long-term effects on their teeth especially if the habit extends over a long period of time. Thumb sucking can cause significant changes in the position of the teeth and in the overall alignment of their bite. Some of these issues can be corrected with orthodontic treatment, but some side effects can be permanent, such as speech mannerisms due to the jaw and teeth not growing in place properly.
If you experience a general bad breath or halitosis, it can simply be from food or bacteria trapped in your teeth. However, dentists can identify different types of bad breaths that go much further than forgetting to brush after eating garlic bread. Specific scents can identify different diseases you might be suffering from. If your breath has a “fruity” smell, you might have diabetes! On the other hand, “fishy” smell can mean you have liver or kidney failure. If the smell is very horrible, then it could be gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), lung abscess, bronchitis or tonsil stone.
Bulimia exhibits a very distinct pattern of tooth wear. Such specific erosion exclusively appears in the tongue-side surface of the front teeth.
(But it doesn’t always mean that the patient suffers from bulimia. Such signs of erosion can also appear because of acid reflux, mood-elevating drugs, antidepressants. All of them reduces the amount of saliva in the mouth by increasing the acid damage.)
Sometimes patients come in claiming that they need a root canal treatment due to the pain they are experiencing when actually all they have is the sinus infection. The roots of some of your teeth are positioned in the same area as sinuses. So both issues can show the same symptoms of pressure.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency can cause many oral conditions, such as tissues sloughing off, burning tongue syndrome, delayed healing, increased infections, bleeding gums and bone infections.
Iron deficiency can cause severe sores in the corners of their mouth or a painful burning sensation. All the papillae of the tongue can fall off and leave it with a smooth and glossy feeling. However, increasing the intake of iron can sort out such problems.
Changes in sugar levels usually cause some changes in the gums. It can occur with increased sensitivity, bleeding or swelling of the gums. Moreover, consistency of saliva usually changes and in that case, increases the tooth decay process. Those are signs that your sugar levels are out of control.
Patients who drink alcoholic beverages daily are more prone to tooth decay. That happens because alcohol tends to dry out your mouth, which leads to tooth decay and cavities. This is why it is important to tell your doctor the truth about your daily alcohol intake!
Oral cancer can display symptoms such as unexplained bleeding, red, white or speckled patches, changes in the bite and how teeth fit together, thickenings, swellings, bumps and lumps, eroded areas on the gums, lips or other areas in the mouth. If there are any signs of oral cancer, you should get a consultation with an oral surgeon and take a biopsy of suspicious tissues.
In conclusion, you should always answer all of your doctor’s questions as honestly as possible so as not to confuse a diagnosis that could potentially save you money or even your life! If you have any further questions or concerns about your dental health, or would like to schedule a dental exam, feel free to call Beverly Hills Dental Center at (310) 659-7063. We specialize in general, cosmetic, preventative, and emergency dentistry!