On our blog, we’ve talked a lot about how an unhealthy mouth can affect the overall health of a person. Today we’re talking about what a HEALTHY mouth looks like. A healthy mouth is often a sign of a healthy body! Your dentist will look for specific indicators of oral health during an exam:
Healthy, Pink Gums
Look in the mirror at your gums. Are they pink and firm to the touch? Or are they red or white, and swollen or tender? Red gums could indicate a problem with gum disease, and pale gums could signal an issue with anemia. Your teeth should be seated firmly in the gums, not wiggly or loose, and the gums should sit flush with the teeth. If you see “pockets”, or places where the gums seem to be receding from the teeth, bacteria can accumulate and cause decay, as well as bad breath. Daily flossing helps keep your gums healthy, and reduces the pockets where bacteria can hide. Healthy gums are a leading indicator of a healthy body.
Healthy mouths smell pleasant, or have no smell at all. Scrape your tongue with your fingernail and sniff it – if you detect an odor, that means that bacteria are at work in your mouth. The presence of bacteria and particles of food in your mouth is directly related to persistent bad breath. It could also be due to other health issues, such as diabetes or sinus problems, or can also be caused by certain medications that cause a dry mouth. Brush, floss, use a mouthwash, and visit your dentist regularly to avoid these issues.
Strong and Smooth Teeth
When you visit the dentist or periodontist, your dental team will check the condition of your teeth. Clean, healthy teeth feel smooth and strong, and that includes teeth with restorations, such as fillings, crowns, and dental implants. If you grind your teeth (often at night while you sleep), a condition called bruxism, you may be causing wear and tear on your teeth and restorations. Tiny cracks, decay, and other issues may only be visible to a dental professional, so regular checkups are vital.
Proper Alignment and Spacing
How your teeth fit together in your mouth and jaw is important to your dental health. Let’s face it, straight teeth are easier to brush and floss between, so there’s less chance of cavities or gum disease to develop. Crowding of the teeth, which can impact your chewing and digestion, can be caused by bruxism, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), or other health issues. Since gum disease can cause the teeth to loosen and move in the jaw, your dentist and periodontist will watch for changes in your alignment and bite.
Your Teeth Are Not Sensitive
If your teeth are becoming sensitive to hot or cold foods, it could be a sign that the enamel on your teeth has deteriorated, or even that your nerves are exposed. If so, visit a professional as soon as possible, since your enamel is what protects your teeth from decay. At your visit, your dentist always examines your entire mouth (not just your teeth), including your tongue, lips, and cheeks.
A healthy smile is not only a beautiful smile, it’s also a way to protect your overall wellness. Oral health also greatly impacts self-confidence, social, and professional relationships. Since we know that gum disease can significantly impact the health of the body, and your life in general, we are committed to helping you achieve optimum oral health. Call today to schedule an evaluation of YOUR oral health!