A dentist visit is all about your teeth and gums, right? Most people think of routine dental cleanings as a fairly cut-and-dry experience. But you may be surprised to learn about the many things your dentist can tell about you — including your best-kept secrets — simply by administering a routine oral exam.
How much you really floss
Sorry, but your dentist can see right through all your flossing fibs. Some may think it’s good enough to break out the dental floss once or twice just before their exam, but that’s not enough to fool a professional. If you flossed just before your dental visit, your gums will likely look damaged and inflamed. On the other hand, people who recognize the benefits of flossing and practice good habits will have tight, pink gums that won’t bleed. Don’t try to pull the wool over your dentist’s eyes — instead, have an honest conversation about your flossing habits. Your dentist can tell you how to floss properly and give you tips on helping you get in the habit, for real.
Whether or not you’re pregnant – Pregnancy, Dental Fillings & Root Canals
Most women think long and hard about the perfect way to break the news to loved ones that they’re expecting, but they might not need to say a word to their dentist. Pregnancy affects women’s teeth and gums in certain ways that could be immediately obvious if you visit the dentist during pregnancy. It’s common to develop gingivitis or other gum disorders as a result of hormonal changes, and some mothers-to-be will grow small, benign tumors on their gums. Additionally extra caution must be taken to avoid infection when dental fillings, extractions and root canals are performed. If you are in your the third trimester it’s likely your dentist will recommend waiting to deal with anything that is not an immediate concern or emergency.
If you have an eating disorder – Eating Disorders Effect Oral Health
Sufferers of bulimia may be keeping their condition a secret from their closest loved ones, but it’s harder to hide from their dentist. Bulimics’ teeth show tell-tale signs of acid erosion on the back side, facing the tongue. Over-brushing to hide the taste and smell of vomit can erode the tooth enamel, too. Though less obvious, anorexia can also leave its mark on the teeth. A lack of saliva in the mouth related to restricted eating habits and malnourishment can leave you vulnerable to tooth decay. A frank conversation with your dentist could be the first step toward acceptance and recovery for victims of eating disorders.
All about your bad habits
The story of your bad habits could be written on your teeth. Ranging from relatively harmless to highly damaging, all sorts of vices can leave an impact on your chompers. Take nail-biting, for example — this habit tends to make your front teeth look flat and leveled-off. It can also create chips and cracks. On the other end of the spectrum, bad habits of alcohol and tobacco can also leave their mark. Alcoholics tend to have drier mouths with less saliva, while smokers’ gums are more sensitive than normal at the site where they usually hold their cigarettes.
Many different health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and more
Diabetes and teeth are linked because rapid changes in blood sugar can increase swelling, bleeding and sensitivity in the gums. When it comes to finding out about diabetes, dental visits could be the first clue. Many other conditions can also be identified during your dentist visit, including oral cancer, kidney and liver failure, and sinus infections.
My name is Jeremy Rourke. I’m part of a family of dentists with my father, brother, cousin and nephew also being dentists. I won a University of Sydney Dental Alumni prize for being the top student in my year and graduated with Honours in 1971. I have been a Registered dentist for over 40 years. In that time I have created a few “firsts” in my efforts to stay ahead.