The state of the teeth and gums can reveal the overall health of the body, and dentists can identify certain health conditions just by examining the mouth.
Good oral hygiene protects you from bad breath and cavities. Apart from these, it could also prevent the development of other critical health conditions such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. In addition, here are the five things that your teeth can also reveal about your overall health.
Anxiety or Poor Sleep
Your teeth could give you a clue that you are feeling any distress such as anxiety or sleep disorder. Bruxism – the medical term for teeth grinding – often occurs to people with obstructive sleep apnea.
According to Charles Rankin, DDS and a professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, teeth grinding can cause the surface of the teeth to become flat that may lead to teeth get worn down. Healthy teeth have a certain height and uneven bumpy crown. Grinding your teeth while sleeping can make the height go down.
Rankin advised that consulting a dentist is the best way to get a night guard to avoid any damage. Participating exercise training and stress counseling could also stop teeth grinding.
Dentists could detect eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. A study reveals that gastric acid from purging – linked to both conditions – could decay tooth enamel and the soft layer below the enamel which is the dentine that can be found at the back of the teeth.
Aside from eating disorder, enamel erosion may also be due to congenital, genetic, or acid reflux.
Tea, coffee, energy drinks, dark berries, candy, soda, and chocolates may leave some stain on the teeth. These foods indicate that a person has a poor diet.
Rankin says that there is a way to remove the stain, use a straw while drinking coffee or soda so it would leave less mark on the teeth. Rinsing and brushing your teeth after eating also helps the teeth to avoid cavities.
According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2015, alcohol abuse is linked to oral health conditions. The Brazilian researchers have found that drinking alcohol increased the risk of periodontitis and other gum diseases. Poor oral hygiene is also common among people who consume too much alcohol.
The participants in the study were found to have higher levels of plaque compared to non-drinkers.
Heart Disease or Diabetes
Panos Papapanou, DDS and professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University, explains that poor gum status is associated with diabetes. Although researchers are not yet sure about the relationship between periodontitis and diabetes, they consider two possibilities that hint the onset of the disease. First, diabetes increases the risk of gum inflammation that negatively affects the body to regulate blood sugar. Second, the inflammation of the gum could trigger both diabetes and periodontitis.
Those who have cardiovascular disease may also be at risk of gum infection. The bacteria in the inflamed area of the gums could go further to infect other parts of the body, particularly the heart.
Rankin suggests checking for bleeding gums, enamel erosion, pain, broken or loose teeth, and swelling to recognize if your teeth pose a potential threat to your health.