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What your teeth say about your health

Article written and submitted by Anne Graham

Many people assume that when they visit the dental surgery, their dentist is looking for things such as plaque and cavities, but the reality when you open your mouth you are revealing so much more about your health. Many dental professionals refer to the mouth as the window to the body, and looking at your teeth and mouth can actually reveal warning signs of conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and anaemia. Plus if you have any bad habits that you prefer not to share (such as an addiction to coffee, sweets, or even crunching on too many apples) your mouth will reveal all of your secrets.  Here are some of the secrets that your teeth can reveal about you, and how they give you away:

You Bite Your Nails

You probably already know that nail biting is a bad habit that makes your hands look untidy, but did you also know that your nail biting has an effect on your teeth? The constant stress on your teeth caused by nail biting (and the pressure of the nail between the teeth) causes increased wear and teeth to your tooth enamel. What’s more, regular nail biting can cause chips and cracks to occur in your teeth, leaving them looking uneven and flattened (particularly if you use your front teeth to bite your nails). Nail biting can increase the speed of tooth deterioration, and therefore is something you should consider quitting sooner rather than later for the sake of your smile.

You Have a Vitamin Deficiency

Having a vitamin or mineral deficiency can lead to many health issues, such as anaemia, bone weaknesses, muscular weakness and even eye and vision problems. However what you may not realise is that (without having to undergo invasive blood tests) your dentist can diagnose a vitamin deficiency by looking in your mouth. A deficiency of vitamins and minerals can cause many oral conditions which your dentist can detect visually,  such as burning tongue syndrome, tissue sloughing off, increased infections, delayed healing after trauma or procedures, and easy-to-bleed gums. Iron deficiency can also be detected by looking at the condition of your tongue.

What your dentist will be unable to diagnose is the type of deficiency you are experiencing or how best you can treat it: These kinds of deficiency can be expertly treated using holistic medicine. It may well be that you need to take a daily supplement to compliment your existing diet, because the quality of the nutrients in the foods you are eating is simply not sufficient. Before taking any kind of supplement though it is important to first talk to a certified nutritional practitioner (Naturopath or Nutritionist) with specific education in nutrition who will be able to ensure you are enhancing your body and improving your vitamin and mineral intake in a way that is as safe and healthy as possible.  Your holistic practitioner will be able to help you with many different aspects of your oral health, but it’s also important to have regular check-ups with a dental practitioner in order to ensure that your smile is maintained. You should view all of the professional practitioners that you work with as a team whose expertise complement each other to provide the best possible holistic view of your overall health.

You Eat Too Much Sugar

If you have a poor diet and, particularly, if you eat too much sugar, this is not something that you can hide from your dentist (even if you brush and floss right before your appointment). The impact of sugar on your teeth can be truly catastrophic: in fact, many dentists believe this is the worst thing you can do for your teeth. Poor food choices can have a negative impact on your oral health, and eating too much sugar can leave your teeth weakened and susceptible to sustaining damage. A chipped tooth is more likely to occur in someone who drinks soda every day than in someone who does not. Sodas are well known to have a negative effect on your tooth enamel, but what you may not realise is that energy drinks are even worse for your teeth because they are more acidic. For the sake of oral health (as well as for overall health) these should be avoided as much as possible.

Toxic Bite provides greater insight into dental health.