Going to the dentist is important for your oral health. Ideally, you should make an appointment with your dentist twice a year to keep a close watch on the health of your teeth and gums. Keeping up with your dental health can prevent cavities, gum disease and other problems that could come up if left unattended.
But did you know that it’s possible to learn more from your mouth than just the details of your oral health? Your teeth and gums can say a lot about your overall health. By looking at the health of your mouth, you can often learn about so many other parts of your body.
It’s important to have a communicative relationship with your dentist so that you can get the most out of your experience with your oral health professional. Choosing a dentist that you feel comfortable with can help you ask the right questions and understand your oral health and overall health as best as possible.
The more you learn to ask questions and understand your oral health better, there’s so much that your mouth can tell you.
About Your Stress
From teeth grinding to canker sores, there are many ways stress can manifest in your mouth. Often, stress can cause you to clench your teeth or tighten your jaw, and usually your dentist can tell. The best way to combat this issue is to start with the source and reduce the stress in your life. However, this isn’t possible for everyone. You can speak with your dentist about immediate solutions to protect your teeth as much as possible.
About Your Iron Levels
Anemia, which is often linked to an iron deficiency, occurs when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells can stop your body from getting the oxygen it needs, and this can manifest in your gums. If your dentist notices that you have sore, pale gums or are at risk for gum disease, it could mean that you’re anemic.
While your dentist can’t diagnose you as anemic, if they suspect you might have an iron deficiency, you can see a doctor and seek further testing.
About Your Heart
While the link isn’t exactly clear, research shows that those with gum disease might be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, and that taking care of your gums could be a piece in maintaining the health of your heart. Since studies can’t pinpoint a specific reason for this correlation, the most that you can do is keep an eye on both your gum health and your heart health in tandem.
About Your Oral Health If You Have Diabetes
As opposed to heart disease, the correlation is a little clearer cut when it comes to diabetes. Since those with diabetes are naturally at a higher risk for infection, it can put you at a higher risk for gum disease if you have diabetes. Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself. Taking active care of both your dental health and your diabetes can lower your risk of gum disease.
About Your Gut Health
Your gut microbiome impacts your entire body, and therefore it can impact the functions of your mouth. Research shows that taking probiotics can improve a myriad of oral health concerns, from gum disease to plaque. If you experience dental health complications regularly, you can talk to your dentist about trying a probiotic to see if improving your gut health could improve some of your problems.
The mouth is a crucial part of the body, so it only makes sense that the teeth and gums can tell you a lot about your overall health. If you want to know more about what your mouth says about you, open up a dialogue with your oral health professional at your next appointment. The results might just surprise you.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.