Our teeth can tell dentists and scientists a lot about us, our lifestyle, and the potential problems that we might face in the future.
What our teeth say about us
All kinds of information can be drawn from our teeth, including exposure to stress and how likely we are to suffer from mental health problems. A child’s milk teeth can help researchers to understand whether a child is likely to develop mental illness, and tests on milk teeth suggest that children who experience higher levels of stress during the early years of their life show this in their teeth.
Research on families in the San Francisco Bay Area found that children with ADHD and behavioural problems were more likely to have thinner enamel and smaller inner pulp than other children. It is believed that many occurrences of mental illness are caused not by genes, but through experiences, so stressful experiences in the first few years of life can be linked to an increased risk of suffering from mental illnesses later in life. By studying a child’s milk teeth when they lose them, we can start to develop an understanding of which children may be more in danger of facing depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress or other mental illnesses.
In contrast to researching milk teeth, older people’s teeth may be able to provide evidence of whether there is a high risk of Alzheimer’s disease, or if they were exposed to heavy metals when they were younger.
What our teeth tell the dentist
A dental exam can reveal much more about the condition of your teeth and gums. From one look inside your mouth, your dentist will be able to see how often you are brushing your teeth and flossing, and gain a good understanding of your lifestyle, diet and oral health. Your dentist will be able to diagnose any oral health problems, as well as the potential for any future health issues.
Whilst dentists specialise in treating your teeth and gums, they are highly concerned about how your oral health affects your general health and how this fits into your overall wellbeing. In some cases, your dentist may actually be the first to notice symptoms of health problems that could require additional tests or treatment.
As discussed above, tooth enamel that is thinner and worn down can be a sign of stress, as teeth grinding is a common symptom of this. Another example of what your mouth says about your overall health is that receding or swollen gums can be a symptom of diabetes, whilst mouth sores that fail to heal can be a sign of oral cancer.
So how can you change what your teeth say about you?
Firstly, maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is extremely important. It’s important to brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion every day, using a fluoride toothpaste. It’s also important to floss or use interdental brushes regularly.
To help reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, it’s also important to cut down on sugar and acidic foods and beverages and how often you consume them.
Regardless of how often you clean your teeth, or the lifestyle you lead, it’s essential to visit your dentist regularly to stay on top of your oral health. It’s important to remember that problems in the mouth can be indicators for your overall health and wellness, so by visiting your dentist as often as recommended, you stand to understand when you may require dental or medical treatment to help prevent illness.
To book a dental examination today, call Riverside Dental Spa on 020 7091 0677 or click here to request a consultation.