03 Nov 2017 Is Your Mouth Healthy?
Most of us are busy, very busy. We’ve got jobs, school, and families to worry about. Probably one of the last things on our lists of things to do is to worry about whether or not our mouths are healthy. Interestingly, though, our mouths can tell a lot about us. Problems in our mouths can sometimes be indicators of disease in other parts of our bodies. For example, doctors see a connection between heart disease and gum disease and between gum disease and diabetes. Keeping our mouths healthy will benefit our overall health.
So, how do you tell if your mouth is healthy? Here are four areas to evaluate:
Open your mouth and look at your gums. Healthy gums will be pink, not red or white. Look for how your gums fit around your teeth. Are there areas where your gums are receding? Do you see pockets or flaps of skin partially covering edges of your teeth? Receding gums are a sign of gum disease. The pockets of skin could be holding bacteria in them, making your gums or teeth sore. Do your gums bleed when your floss them? Blood, pain, redness, and swelling are all symptoms of infection. If you have any of these symptoms, you need to brush and floss your teeth more. Gum disease can be reversed through proper care.
Okay, now on to your teeth. Are any cracked? Painful? Loose? If any of these words describe your teeth, please be evaluated by a dentist. All of us have issues from time to time with our teeth. Staying up on dental work that we may require is important to having a healthy mouth and may save us money in the long run. After all, filling a small cavity is much cheaper than a root canal or a crown. Ignoring problems will not make them go away.
None of us like to think about our breath, but at the same time, all of us want to know if we have bad breath! One way to evaluate your breath is to floss a few teeth then smell the floss. If you have bad breath, there could be many reasons for it. For example, it could be a side effect of medication. However, the most common reason is bacteria growth in your mouth. How do you reduce bacteria growth? You reduce it by brushing and flossing your teeth. Sometimes bacteria can also get trapped in the surface of your tongue. You can reduce bacteria by brushing your tongue with your toothbrush or scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper. Scrapers are easy to use and inexpensive.
How does your jaw feel when you yawn? Any pain or popping? Pain or popping could be a sign that your jaw is misaligned. Open your mouth again and look at the chewing surface of your teeth. Are your teeth worn down? Does the chewing surface have a smooth, flat look, or are there bumps and ridges? If your teeth are looking smooth and worn down, you could be grinding them in your sleep or during the day. Sometimes griding is caused by stress. Sometimes, it can happen when teeth are misaligned. Some dentists or orthodontists may suggest wearing a mouth guard at night to limit damage to your teeth.
Many orthodontists will give a free consultation if you need one. Just a few minutes examining your mouth can pay off with better overall health. Take a few minutes today, or even right now!