10 Things Your Dentist Knows Just by Looking at Your Mouth
1. Pregnant alert!
Most pregnant women are amazed by how their general dentist can determine that they are pregnant by just assessing their mouth. This is not entirely a magic trick. Most pregnant women develop inflamed gums or gingivitis during the course of their pregnancy. This is due to the influx of the hormone progesterone which makes it easy for bacteria to grow inside the mouth, causing gingivitis.
2. You don’t floss regularly and you only flossed right prior to your visit to the dentist
Just because you flossed the night before or had a deep cleaning on the days prior to your visit doesn’t mean you can fool them into thinking that you floss regularly. Usually the gums of those who flossed right before their dental appointment are bleeding and may look injured, while healthy gums look pink and fresh.
3. One of your bad habits is nail-biting
Dentists could identify when their patients have the bad habit of biting their nails because their teeth may be chipped off or cracked. They may also appear worn off because of the constant pressure that is caused by the hardness of the nails and because of the contact of the top and bottom of the teeth. Nail-biting could lead to uneven teeth and may cause jaw discomfort and pain.
4. Your bad breath may be an indicator of an underlying disease.
Generally, bad breath is medically classified as halitosis. Dentists are able to identify different odors of your breath that are “fishy” or “fruity”, which can mean a lot of things. “‘Fruity’ breath could indicate uncontrolled diabetes, while ‘fishy’ breath could be a sign of kidney or liver failure,” says Keith Arbeitman, DDS, of Arbeitman & Shein in New York City. If the smell is very foul, it could be anything from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) to an underlying lung abscess and bronchitis to a tonsil stone, he explains. The primary step that a dentist should do is to rule out that the odor is coming from the gums and teeth, a recommendation to the appropriate physicians should be made thereafter depending on the illness being considered.
5. You are vitamin-deficient
According to John P. Dougherty, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., of Artistic Dental at the Biltmore in Phoenix, deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals may lead to certain conditions, such as increased tendency for mouth infections, sloughing off of tissue inside the mouth, prolonged healing of developed infections and inflamed or bleeding gums while brushing your teeth. All of which can be easily identified by your dentist by just looking at your mouth.
6. You are suffering from an eating disorder
Patients are often surprised when their dentists are the ones who ask if they have an eating disorder. Eating disorders like bulimia manifests a very unique pattern of tooth erosion that your dentist can easily determine. This wearing off of the teeth happens almost entirely on the tongue-side of the front teeth and can cause increased cavities.
7. You are diabetic
According toI ra Handschuh, DDS, of The Dental Design Center in NY, “Many times, imbalances in sugar will show a rapid change in the health of your gums, including increased swelling, bleeding, and sensitivity”. Sugar levels that are out of control may cause changes in the consistency of saliva and may lead to increased tooth decay.
8. You are alcoholic
“Alcoholic patients are cavity-prone because alcohol tends to dry the mouth out,” says David Tarica, DMD, of 34th Street Dental in New York City. A dry mouth will make the patient more prone to cavities because increased saliva production is crucial in neutralizing the growth of bacteria inside the mouth. Further, people with drinking problems usually have chipmunk red cheeks and also an oral smell like no other. Also, certain alcoholic beverages, like wine, can cause your teeth to stain. There are also plenty of foods that stain your teeth.
9. You may have oral cancer
First signs of oral cancer are a persistent mouth sore, a sore in the mouth that does not heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer, persistent pain and a lump or thickening in the cheek. All of which can easily be identified by your dentist by just looking at your mouth. After the dentist’s assessment, an oral surgeon should be consulted for a biopsy of any suspicious tissue.
10. You are a Gatorade-lover
Chipping of the teeth does not just happen randomly; it may be due to an underlying reason which may have caused such weakening of the teeth. The tooth’s enamel may be softened by sugary beverages over time, which may make a tooth more prone to chipping. Energy drinks, which may be likely to be even more acidic than soft drinks, may cause even more damage to tooth enamel.