You may spend the days or hours leading up to a dental exam taking excellent care of your teeth, gums, and breath. From brushing after each meal and flossing multiple times to freshening your breath with sugar-free gum, you may think these tasks will fool your dentist into thinking you take your oral hygiene seriously. However, your dentist knows the truth just by looking in your mouth. Here are a few things your dentist will learn about you during a routine cleaning and exam.
You Don't Really Floss
Again, you probably flossed the day before and the morning of your dental appointment, but your dentist can tell if you are flossing daily just by looking in your mouth.
Food, plaque, and bacteria that build up on your gums and in between your teeth will cause inflammation. Known as gingivitis, this inflammation of the gums can cause them to be red, swollen, and sore. Your gum tissue may also bleed if you have gingivitis.
Flossing daily will reduce your risk of gingivitis, but at least a full week of daily flossing would be necessary to ease the swelling and bleeding of gingivitis. If your gums are bleeding during your exam, you most likely have gingivitis caused by not flossing as directed.
If your dentist asks you if you have been flossing daily, be honest because they already know the answer.
You Use Tobacco Products
When your doctor asks you if you smoke or use any tobacco products, they may believe your lies when you tell them no. Unfortunately, when your dentist asks if you smoke or use tobacco products, they already know that you do.
Smoking cigarettes or using chewing tobacco affects your oral health in numerous ways and most of these ways are visible to your dentist.
The nicotine found in tobacco discolors your teeth, giving the enamel a yellow or brown tint. Nicotine also affects your mouth's ability to produce saliva, causing your mouth to be drier than usual. This excess dryness can lead to a variety of problems including an increase in food, bacteria, and acids that can cause cavities, decay, and gum disease.
Tobacco products also affect your breath. You may brush your teeth, rinse, chew gum, or use breath spray right before your dental exam, but your dentist will still smell the odor of cigarettes or chewing tobacco that lingers in your mouth.
If you are a heavy smoker or tobacco user, you may develop white or grey patches inside your mouth. These patches usually form on the gum tissue, tongue, or roof of the mouth. Known as Leukoplakia, the patches may not be visible to you, but your dentist will see them during an exam. Over time, Leukoplakia can worsen, becoming irritated and painful.
You Have an Eating Disorder
Another surprising thing your dentist knows by looking in your mouth is that you have an eating disorder. An estimated 30 million people of various ages have some sort of eating disorder that affects their physical, emotional, and oral health.
Bulimia is one of the most common eating disorders that dentists diagnose because of the damage the disorder does to the mouth, teeth, and gums.
Characterized by binge-eating and them making oneself vomit, bulimia can lead to a variety of dental issues. Many people with the disorder binge on sugary foods that increase the risk of cavities, decay, and gum disease. However, the vomiting that occurs after binging on these foods is what really damages the teeth.
While vomiting, the stomach acids build up on the teeth and gum tissue. These acids eat through tooth enamel and irritate gum tissue. Patients with bulimia will have noticeable erosion on their teeth, stains, cavities, and even irritated sores on their gums.
If you have bulimia, it is important to seek help from not only your dentist, but also your medical doctor and a licensed counselor who specializes in eating disorders.
Keep these ideas in mind as you go in for your dental cleaning at a place like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock.Share