There’s no cause for alarm, but you may be surprised to learn that the dentist knows more about your health than you ever imagined. In fact, the dentist can diagnose many conditions without you saying a single word. The mouth says a lot about you, regardless of whether you’re talking.
While we recommend you always mention health concerns or the onset of dental pain, there sometimes are issues you may be embarrassed to discuss. There also are times when you are unaware of the possible health changes your body is undergoing. When the dental team suspects something that needs immediate attention, your dentist will put a plan into action.
The bottom line is, the Asheville Dental team assures you that we’ve seen it all and want only to offer you the best overall care and advice.
Put aside any shame or fear, and let’s get to what your dentist can diagnose.
Five Conditions Your Dentist Knows Without You Speaking
The inside of your mouth tells a story about your overall health and well-being.
Here’s a perfect example:
Flossing for the first time in six months the night before your biannual check-up might seem like a clever idea, but it does more harm than good. Your dentist knows, as does your hygienist. They can tell from your puffy and bright red gums. Chances are you’ll experience discomfort due to the swelling from that last-minute flossing.
Though it may seem trivial, without you saying a word, your dentist also knows if you bite your nails or if you used to suck your thumb.
But there are plenty of shocking things that they can identify that will surprise you.
If you present “fruity” smelling breath or suffer from dry mouth, it could indicate diabetes. Your dental team may suggest a blood test to determine whether you have high blood sugar. It’s essential to have an accurate diagnosis as diabetes can lead to extensive oral health decline, including periodontitis and excessive cavities.
Individuals often are shocked that the dentist is the first to suggest that a patient possibly has an eating disorder. For example, bulimia causes a striking pattern of oral deterioration. It occurs on the tongue-side of the front teeth, and the condition over time can lead to cavities, enamel erosion, along with more severe and long-lasting health problems.
Though most women don’t hear from their dentist that they’re pregnant, your dentist can guess you are. As it happens, nearly 50% of pregnant women develop gingivitis. A smaller percentage of women develop a pyogenic granuloma or a “pregnancy tumor” on the gum. Your dentist will surely tell you that pregnant women have specific dental needs and create a plan for your oral health.
In cases of severe stages of alcoholism, patients may give themselves away by the lingering smell of alcohol on their breath. However, they also are more prone to cavities because of the high sugar content in liquor. Additionally, dry mouth is pervasive in heavy drinkers, which also contributes to excessive and uncomfortable cavities.
Some of the earliest signs of oral cancer include unexplained bleeding, white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth, a change in the way your teeth fit together, swellings, thickenings, and/or lumps or bumps, or eroded areas on the lips and gums. In cases like this, your dentist will recommend immediate next steps for quick diagnosis and recovery.
As you see, your mouth can tell us a lot about how you are doing overall. That’s why regular dental check-ups are a vital routine to maintain. Keep your appointments, schedule your next one, and if you aren’t a patient at Asheville Dental, we hope you’ll give us a try. Our team wants you to be happy and healthy from head to toe.