What Your Teeth Say about Your Health

A definite link exists between your oral health and overall well being. In fact, your teeth can actually tell you and your health care providers a lot about what’s going on with your body. Look through the following symptoms and contact a doctor if you have concerns:

Flat or Worn Teeth – Often, people grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism, without even realizing it. This clenching and grinding can serve as an indication of the stress in your life. Headaches and jaw pain are other symptoms of teeth grinding. To stop the discomfort and wear on your teeth, your dentist may suggest a mouth guard.

Cracking or Crumbling Teeth – When a person exhibits cracking or crumbling teeth, it usually indicates a problem with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is also refereed to as acid reflux disease. With GERD, the stomach acid comes back up into the esophagus and can then reach your teeth. In younger people, disintegrating teeth can also point towards bulimia, a serious eating disorder.

Sores that Don’t Heal – Sometimes, people may accidentally bite their gums or chew on the inside of their cheeks as a nervous habit. These sores usually heal quickly. If you have an area that doesn’t clear up with one to two weeks, contact your dentist for an exam to rule out oral cancer. In fact, oral cancer kills one person every hour. Early detection improves treatment options and long-term prognosis.

Dry Mouth – Allergies, smoking, dehydration, and certain medications can all lead to dry mouth. However, not having enough saliva can indicate other medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes.

 
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Finding a Fit with your Dentist

family-dentistryObtaining dental care is an important aspect of good oral health. Finding a dentist that you’re happy with plays a big part in your willingness to maintain regular appointments and seek help when you need it. Here are some guidelines for identifying a dentist you trust for your oral health needs.

Qualifications
The first thing to look for in a dentist is the education and ongoing training that indicate the dentist is qualified to handle your dentistry needs. Ask around your area to make sure the dentist has a good reputation, and ask about the dentist’s affiliations with dental groups such as the American Dental Association. You must have faith in the dentist so that you trust that good recommendations are being made about your treatment.

Chemistry
Be sure you have good chemistry with the dentist and the office staff. This means you feel comfortable in the office and with the people working there, and that all of your questions are being answered.

Location
Having a dentist who is conveniently located near your home or work increases the likelihood that you will schedule and keep your appointments. Your goal should be to make the process as simple on you as possible, so that you have no excuses about not making the trip to the office.

Services
If you’re interested in any specific procedures or services, make sure the dentist offers them and has experience performing them.

Insurance
If you have dental insurance, don’t forget to ask if the dentist accepts that type of insurance. Ask for typical pricing on services that you’ll likely be getting, including exams, cleanings, X-rays, fillings, teeth whitening, or other procedures.

 

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Dental Issues During Pregnancy

pregnancyIt is important for both an expectant mother and her unborn baby to maintain healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy. This means practicing good oral hygiene and having regular visits to the dentist during this special time in a mother’s life. There are some common problems that pregnant women face involving their oral health. Here are some dental issues to watch out for during pregnancy.

Pregnancy gingivitis
Changes in hormone levels can irritate the gums, increase sensitivity, and trigger gum disease. Pregnancy gingivitis is a common issue that triggers bleeding gums during brushing and flossing. The condition can advance to serious periodontal disease if not treated, and end up harming the bones that secure teeth in place. Therefore, tooth loss is possible for serious cases. Tooth decay and infection are other effects of pregnancy gingivitis, and it can even cause the baby to be born with low birth weight.

Tooth decay
Morning sickness not only makes an expectant mother feel terrible, it can actually cause tooth decay and damage teeth. These results are linked to the increased acid in a mother’s mouth during morning sickness. Sometimes switching toothpastes helps relieve feelings of sickness, so dentists may have suggestions about specific toothpastes to try that might reduce morning sickness.

Pregnancy tumors
Possible at any time during pregnancy, a large red lump can form on irritated gums. It may bleed, become crusty, cause discomfort, and impact speaking and eating. This growth is called a pregnancy tumor and requires treatment from a dental health professional.

 

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Vitamins and Minerals that Keep Teeth Healthy

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As we age, our teeth and gums change. Proper care of your teeth as well as eating a good diet can keep your smile beautiful and strong. Certain vitamins and minerals also help promote optimal oral health.

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