Dental care is no longer simply about cavities, teeth whitening, or gum disease. A growing body of evidence suggests that your teeth and overall health are tied together in many ways. The health of your mouth is a strong indicator of the overall health and wellness of the rest of your body.
You probably look at your smile in the mirror daily, but when was the last time you took a long, careful look at them? Here are some things to look out for in your teeth that indicate there may be another problem somewhere else in your body.
Bleeding or Red Gums Indicate Inflammation Problems
Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? Are they red or puffy? These are the common signs of gum disease and inflammation. However, don’t assume that the inflammation is only in your mouth.
Inflammation in the mouth can indicate that your body is stressed. Gum disease has been linked to a variety of chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and osteoporosis.
Treating gum disease can reduce joint pain and inflammation for those that suffer with arthritis, and can lead to better health for those with heart conditions or diabetes. Make sure to brush and floss twice a day, eat nutritious food, and visit the dentist regularly to improve your gum health.
Grinding or Clenching Causes Flat Bottom Teeth
When you check your teeth, if you notice flat areas on the edges of your teeth, you may be unknowingly clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep. This can be caused by stress, anxiety, or a sleep disorder.
Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear away the enamel on your teeth, exposing them to more wear and tear, as well as jaw or tooth pain. Grinding your teeth may also cause constant or persistent headaches.
While a mouth guard may help you avoid damage to the tooth, it won’t necessarily stop you from clenching your teeth, which can cause jaw pain. Your dentist may recommend a sleep study to determine if another health issue, such as sleep apnea, is causing you to clench or grind.
Breathing Problems Can Cause Gaps in Your Teeth
Each of the thousands of times a day that we swallow, our tongues exert force against our teeth. In some instances, the force exerted can move our teeth and cause gaps to form.
For some, this could be caused by thumb sucking as a child, or tongue thrusts. However, nasal allergies or congestion can also cause us to breathe out of our mouths, changing the positioning of our tongue, and cause gaps to appear. Tooth gaps may indicate a breathing disorder, and affect the way we talk.
Gaps in the teeth are the first sign of sleep-disordered breathing. If you notice gaps, request a screening with your dentist for a sleep disorder.
Chronic Bad Breath Can Indicate Something More Serious
For most people, bad breath is caused by lack of brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping. However, if you are taking good care of your teeth and still experience bad breath, it may indicate a more serious concern.
Bad breath can be an indicator for certain types of cancer, as well as diabetes, kidney issues, and sleep disorders.
Sometimes alcohol based mouthwashes can actually contribute to bad breath, by washing away all the good bacteria in your mouth and disrupting the natural balance. Probiotic supplements can sometimes benefit your breath as well, by helping your body balance the bacteria.
If bad breath persists, speak with your dentist about possible reasons. Fruity breath has been linked to diabetes, and fishy breath can be caused by kidney problems. Sleep disorders can also contribute to bad breath, as the mouth may stay open longer or more frequently than normal.
Your teeth and mouth health are a window into your health. By brushing and flossing daily, and ensuring regular dental visits, you can keep not only your smile healthy, but care for your overall health and wellbeing as well.
Do you have any oral health concerns you need advice on? We are offering a $95 New Patient Special that may help.