Hygiene visits and dental checkups at my Alexandria dental office are an important part of a proper oral health routine. We’d go so far to say they may even be THE most important part. At these appointments, we’re not only able to identify common dental concerns like decay and cavities, we may also be able to tell certain things about you and your overall health, just by looking in your mouth.
A lot of babies and toddlers suck their thumbs. And most of them stop early enough to not experience any long term effects. However, if it was harder for you to stop the habit and you continued to suck your thumb into age seven or eight, your adult teeth may be suffering. Protrusion of front teeth or jaw misalignment are both common signs of a former thumb sucker. Orthodontics or cosmetic treatments can help.
Without even glancing at your nails, your dentist may be able to tell that you’re a chronic nail biter. Those who bite their nails often typically have chips and cracks in their teeth, and the front ones are sometimes worn down and flat. Besides the cracks leaving little crevices for bacteria to nestle in, the change in tooth shape can throw off your bite, leading to jaw pain or other symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular disorder).
We appreciate the effort of a last minute floss, but if that’s the only time you’ve flossed since your last visit, we can tell. Red, puffy, and possibly bloody gums are telltale signs that you quickly flossed before your appointment. Those who floss regularly don’t show the same signs. We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it — you need to floss every day for optimal oral health.
Bad breath can be a sign of something serious, whether in your mouth or in your body. The type of smell can actually indicate where the issue may be. Fruity breath is a common sign of diabetes while fishy breath could mean liver or kidney failure. Breath that doesn’t really associate with a certain smell but is still unpleasant may be an early sign of gum disease. Gum disease not only affects the mouth, but can increase the risk for heart disease too.
Oral cancer is characterized by unexplained bleeding, white or red patches in the mouth, or lumps on the lips, gums, or cheeks. Many times, your dentist is the first to notice anything suspicious and gets the process started for determining if it is in fact cancer, or something else. Although cancer is a really scary word, oral cancer treatment has a high success rate if caught in the early stages.
Like oral cancer, many oral diseases can be successfully treated if diagnosed early. So if you’re experiencing jaw pain, bleeding gums, or have patches of discoloration in your mouth, it’s important to see your dentist in Alexandria as soon as possible.
If it’s time for your next dental cleaning and exam, give my Alexandria dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Accepting patients from Alexandria, Old Town, Del Ray, and Potomac Yard.