What your Mouth may Tell your Dentist

nail bitingWhen you schedule that 6-month dental checkup, your expectation may be that your dentist will take a quick look at your teeth and gums before performing a cleaning, or telling you that you may need a filling or two. This is partially accurate. Dental exams actually tell us a lot more than you may think. Here are 5 things your dentist can tell by looking in your mouth.

  • Your frequency of flossing. Here’s what often happens. Flossing is a forgotten activity for months. The need to floss is remembered the night before (or morning of) a dental appointment, so a quick session is performed. Contrary to what you might think, doing this will actually not hide the fact that you haven’t been flossing; it may draw attention to inflammation and redness!
  • You could benefit from a vitamin supplement. The mouth is a wonderful indicator of general health. Vitamin deficiency may present as an issue such as burning tongue syndrome or changes in the tongue, sloughing of oral tissue, or bleeding gums.
  • A concerning health issue exists. You might think that only oral disease is evident in the mouth, but that isn’t the only thing. The oral cavity also reveals when there are general health issues, such as diabetes or heart disease. Oral cancer is another problem that we check for during routine exams. This condition may show signs such as erosion of oral tissue in one or more area, or as bumps, sores, or discoloration of mucosa.
  • You are a nail-biter. People who chronically bite their nails typically exhibit excessive wear to the front teeth. This results from the ongoing grinding of the upper and lower teeth at the front of the mouth.
  • You were a thumb-sucker past the age of 7. This childhood habit changes the bite as well as the positioning of teeth. Even if alignment is corrected with braces, there are certain telltale signs that may remain.

Dental Care for Optimal Health
Dental appointments may focus on the exam and cleaning of teeth. However, there really is a lot more to this brief visit. We value the partnership that we develop with each patient, and strive to support optimal health and quality of life through personal dental care.

If it’s time for your exam and cleaning, or you are facing a dental concern, call  (847) 223-5200.