What your dentist can tell you about your health
|By Dr. Harold Katz - Bad Breath Expert|
SUMMARY: Your mouth can actually tell a story about your overall health and well-being - listen to it!
Posted: February 19, 2013
You go to the dentist to get a freshly cleaned mouth, and to (hopefully) get the good news that you're in great health. Unfortunately, the doc sometimes has to break some bad news to you - whether it's a cavity or bad breath. But dentists can actually tell a lot more than you think. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of our body - for example, your gum disease that is causing you angst may be linked to heart disease. Keeping up with a good oral health regimen can help prevent diseases, while also eliminating oral discomfort.
Research shows that keeping up with a good oral health regimen can decrease the probability of having heart issues. Showing symptoms of gum disease can actually be a warning sign that your heart isn't as healthy as it should be. The bacteria in the gums that causes periodontal disease could travel to other parts of the body, like the heart and contribute to the formation of clots or plaque build-up in the arteries. Visiting the dentist regularly can help fight gum disease and heart health.
Dentists can often tell if individuals suffer from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, because it can cause the gums to bleed and the front of the teeth can erode. But, a person doesn't have to suffer from a harmful disease for a doctor to be able to tell that they aren't eating properly. If you don't eat enough vegetables and have a diet rich in fatty foods, it's likely your mouth will give it away. Eating vegetables helps to clean the teeth - crunchy foods like apples and carrots work to clean your teeth of plaque - and they can get rid of bad breath. Similarly, eating greasy foods causes bad breath.
You know how everyone always talks about how important it is to eat breakfast? It can also help eliminate bad breath because eating increases saliva production. This can also rid the mouth of bacteria from the back of the tongue, which is a major culprit of bad breath.
Cavities and gum disease can be caused by dry mouth, but your dentist can help eliminate these issues. People who suffer from dry mouth often also get bad breath because there isn't enough saliva in the mouth to rinse away bacteria. Dentists can often prescribe a saliva substitute or product that can increase your natural production. To naturally remedy dry mouth, try to increase the amount of water you drink each day. This will also help against bad breath because the water will wash away bacteria.
Osteoporosis is the most common in post-menopausal women, and is a disease that decreases bone density. If your doctor notices issues in the mouth, it's possible that you're having bone problems elsewhere in your body caused by osteoporosis.
"Osteoporosis does not cause changes in the teeth, but it does cause changes in the bone that supports the teeth," Alyson Hope Koslow, DDS, a clinical assistant professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Illinois Chicago told Everyday Health. "This may show up as a receding gum line and loose teeth."
Being stuffed up all the time can cause bad breath, because you're regularly breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. This causes your mouth to dry out and the bacteria to hang around longer than they would otherwise. Allergies and post nasal drip also go hand-in-hand, which causes bad breath.
Who knew your dentist could tell you so much about your health by simply cleaning your molars?