8 Things That You Should Probably Know about Your Dental Health But Don’t

Swot up on your dental knowledge with these weird and wonderful facts about teeth. Read for top tips on brushing and the best advice on oral hygiene.

8 Things you Should Know about your Dental Health

Image by William Warby on Flickr.

There are many different stereotypes in existence about dentists. There are some people who avoid routine check-ups and appointments like the plague, because they still believe in the myth of the stern figure, with a fist full of scary dental drills. There are others who look at dentists in the same way as they do doctors and teachers. They avoid them, because they represent figures of authority and they fear being told off.

In reality, modern dentists are a pretty caring bunch. They rarely lecture and they certainly never shout, because it does not benefit anybody. They understand that the best way to teach people about the importance of dental hygiene is to show them how simple and easy it can be. And then, if that doesn’t work, they might leave some graphic photographs of an abscess or a tooth infection lying around – that usually works.

In all seriousness, your dentist is there to be your guide when it comes to oral health and hygiene. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Speak up and discuss your concerns and fears about potential treatments. Seek advice on the best ways to keep your smile in tip top condition. There are so many people who let the knowledge and expertise of their dentist go to waste, but it costs nothing to expand your own understanding.

This guide to some of the most interesting things about your teeth (that you should probably already know) is a great place to get started.

Bleeding Gums Always Indicate a Problem

This is a health lesson which the government has really tried to emphasise in recent years, primarily because gum problems are one of the leading causes of tooth loss. It is truly shocking how many people experience bleeding from their mouth and simply ignore it. This is the wrong attitude to take and it will not fix the issue. If bleeding gums are left untreated, they will not get better on their own.

Even if the bleeding is not accompanied by any pain, it could still be a symptom of chronic gingivitis, inflammation of the gum tissue, or other underlying problems. In time, the skin inside the mouth will grow very tender and sore. It may become difficult to eat certain foods and, eventually, the teeth will start to deteriorate. Ironically, the problem can usually be fixed in just a few weeks (as long as there is no underlying tooth damage), so do not ignore it.

You May Be Brushing Too Aggressively

The vast majority of people actually brush their teeth too aggressively. This is because there is a tendency to let the mind wander as we perform this task. While brushing, we start thinking about that party next week or that new suit that we saw on the high street. And, as we muse, we unintentionally increase the pressure. It is also common for people to brush really hard, because they think that this makes up for brushing very quickly.

Unfortunately, this is not true. Applying too much pressure when brushing can lead to bleeding gums, receding skin around the teeth, and pain in the surrounding tissues. So, just take a little more care next time that you are getting ready for work. If you treat your teeth with kindness, they will reward you with a strong and healthy outer surface. If you are in a rush, try not to be tempted by the ‘quick clean.’ You will only end up with dirty gnashers.

You Could Be Allergic to Your Toothpaste

This is a fact that surprises a lot of people. It is rarely talked about, after all, and most people are not aware that toothpaste allergies and sensitivities exist. It does not help that the signs can be quite hard to spot, being inside the mouth. The most obvious symptom of a toothpaste sensitivity is mucosal sloughing. Or, to put it simply, minor burns on the inside of the cheeks.

These usually present themselves as peeling skin across the inside surface of the mouth. In some cases, they will accompanied by a slight tingle, but it is rare for mucosal sloughing to cause pain. Nevertheless, those burns on your mouth are a clear indication from your body that it does not like the chemicals in your toothpaste. You are advised to pick up a natural brand, from a health food store or pharmacy.

Fluctuating Hormones Impact Gums

For women, the idea that hormones might influence the delicate ecosystems of the body is hardly a novel one. These magic chemicals can alter everything from the growth of hair to the length of fingernails, the size of feet, and the smell of sweat. So, it should be no surprise to learn that hormonal fluctuations can influence the health of gums and oral tissue. At various different points within the menstrual cycle, hormones soar and the risk of bleeding gums rises.

It is not a major issue and should cause no worry, as long as the bleeding does not become persistent or chronic. It should clear up once your menstrual cycle progresses. For pregnant women and those going through the menopause, the problem may be more prolonged and require a recommended treatment from a dental professional.

Fruit Juices are a Bad Choice

The complex world of dental health occasionally throws up some challenges, particularly for those who enjoy sticking to healthy diet and lifestyle. For example, we know that eating lots of fruit is good for the body. They provide lots of different vitamins and minerals and help the immune system to stay as sturdy as possible. On the other hand, they can wreak havoc with tooth enamel.

If you are a fan of fruit juice, it is important to understand that just because it is helpful for the body, this does not mean that it is similarly valuable for the teeth. It is a frustrating conflict, but one which must be traversed nonetheless. The best thing to do, if you want to keep enjoying fruit, is save it for meal times. Then, brush your teeth half an hour after eating and drinking.

Medication Can Change Your Mouth

As the mouth is such a delicate place, there are all manner of things that can upset its interior environment. One of the most common is prescription medications. If you are taking drugs prescribed by a doctor, it is always a good idea to make sure that your dentist is fully aware of them. That way, they can be factored in to any discussions about future treatments or dental health routines.

Similarly, talk to your doctor about how prescribed medications could affect your dental health. The more information that you have, the easier it will be to deal with unexpected problems or challenges to oral hygiene. The most prevalent oral issue relating to prescription drugs is dry mouth. While this might sound fairly minor, if persistent, it can weaken teeth and leave them vulnerable to cavities. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help with this.

The Teeth are a Window on Physical Health

If you have ever been told that the teeth are a window on the rest of physical health, you can count yourself lucky that you have encountered such a wise individual. This is absolutely true. As with eyes and feet, doctors can tell a remarkable amount about overall physical condition with just a routine examination. To reiterate, this is exactly why it is essential to keep up with regular dentist appointments.

The faster serious ailments can be identified, the quicker they can be treated and rendered harmless. So, do not underestimate the power of a good trip to the dentist. For those with chronic health problems already, oral health needs to be made a big part of general care. For example, studies have shown that diabetics are three times more likely to develop periodontal disease. But, if they see their specialist regularly and maintain a good oral health routine, potentially risks can be effectively monitored.

Even Small Changes Can Be Powerful

There are so many people who put off going to the dentist because they fear being shamed or embarrassed for the state of their teeth. While this is an understandable feeling, it has no basis in the reality of modern dentistry. It is a caring profession and your dentist has a responsibility to treat you with respect and sensitivity. Do not allow fear to tempt you into ignoring a minor issue with the potential to grow into something more serious.

You can conquer your fear of the dentist today and you can do it by taking the littlest of steps. Nobody is expecting you to turn your life or your oral health around overnight. But you can take back control of your body by seeking the right information, asking the right questions, and keeping up with the right routines. It is never too late to start taking care of your teeth, so be dental proud and protect your smile.

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