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Sometimes what you tell your dentist about your oral and lifestyle habits is different from the story your teeth tell. During your routine dental check-up, your dentist can uncover important clues about your overall health just by looking into your mouth.
Here’s a list of the 10 telling secrets your teeth share with your dentist even if you don’t.
You Miss Spots When You Brush
Many patients have periodontal disease affecting their back teeth, but their front teeth are not suffering. It can be fairly common for patients to focus more on brushing the teeth that they can easily see for one reason or another. Whether you absentmindedly miss spots when you brush, or you only give attention to the teeth that can be seen, it may be time to improve on your oral hygiene habits and proper brushing techniques.
You Don’t Floss As Much As You Say You Do
Brushing your teeth removes plaque above your gum line, but flossing can remove plaque that resides below your gums. If your gums are inflamed during your routine cleaning, it’s a tip-off that you aren’t flossing regular or that you are doing it wrong.
You’re a Smoker
Tobacco is notorious for staining your teeth, and while the color of the stains can vary from person to person, there are other tells that you smoke too. The scent of smoke on your clothes and the examination of your fingers for nicotine stains can also be telling signs that you are using tobacco products.
Your Gums Bleed More Than They Should
One of the first signs of diabetes is bleeding gums. Dentists see so many people with bleeding gums regularly that if it’s not severe, they tend to assume its from poor flossing habits. However, if you do floss regularly and are still experiencing bleeding gums, it can be a sign of diabetes and should be discussed with your dentist.
Teeth whitening has become a popular cosmetic dentistry treatment, and it’s easy to see why. A whiter smile can boost confidence. However, if you bleach your teeth too often, it can thin the enamel, and your teeth can end up almost translucent.
You Still Have Your Wisdom Teeth
The vast majority of people have their wisdom teeth pulled early in life on recommendations from their dentist. These troubling teeth can become problematic for many, but may not ever be an issue for others. Many patients find that they can live their entire lives without any trouble from their wisdom teeth.
That being said, the fact that your third molars haven’t come in by age 25 doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t erupt later in life. For some patients, these teeth can emerge much later. Many dentists and oral surgeons tell stories of patients in their 50’s and even old whose third molars are just beginning to erupt.
You Have a Soda Habit
The acid in soda can wear away the protective layer of enamel that coats the outside of your teeth, and it leaves a distinctive pattern in its wake. Lemonade and citrus fruits can cause similar damage. Consuming these types of beverages regularly and often can cause sugar and acid to linger on your teeth and erode your enamel.
You Grind Your Teeth at Night
Your teeth can acquire a worn look from grinding. If you suffer from headaches or muscle pain around your jaw, it is typically a sign that you are suffering from bruxism, or teeth grinding. Many patients are unaware of the fact that they grind their teeth because most suffer from this habit while they sleep.
You’re a Heavy Drinker
Not only does alcohol have a distinct smell, but drinking excessively also leads to having a very dry mouth. Alcohol interferes with the salivary glands and reduces saliva production. Someone who enjoys five or more drinks on the same occasion, on five or more days in a month is considered a heavy drinker according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 7 out of 10 people with oral cancer are also heavy drinkers.
It’s Been Longer Than 6 Months Since Your Last Cleaning
It’s easy to spot a patient who hasn’t had their teeth cleaned regularly. If you have not had your teeth professionally cleaned in some time, you can expect a significant amount of plaque build up on the surface.
Skip the secrets and be upfront and honest with your dentist. Tompkins Dental is always here to help you improve your dental health, so schedule your next exam today.