What do your teeth say about your health?

Most of us maintain good oral hygiene habits primarily to preserve our smile’s appearance. However, as the gateway to the body, the mouth is an important factor in your general health. Indeed, your smile conveys more than just the message that you are a happy, friendly person.

This is why it’s so important to keep a schedule of regular exams with Collin County dentists. These exams and cleanings are the best way to maintain your oral health and boost your overall well-being.

A dentist examines the teeth looking for signs of cavities, gum disease and even oral cancer. All of these problems can have systemic effects. A cavity indicates the presence of potentially harmful bacteria in the mouth. If the cavity is untreated, the bacteria can spread and reach the innermost structures of the tooth or resulting in an abscess, requiring more intensive treatment.

In rare cases, such bacteria can also travel to the bloodstream, risking a systemic infection called sepsis, which can be fatal.

If you get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year, you’ll go a long way toward reducing the levels of oral bacteria.

The bacteria can attack the gums in addition to the teeth. Periodontal disease has been linked with a variety of health problems, ranging from diabetes to heart disease. As such, symptoms like swollen or bleeding gums may suggest that a patient has undiagnosed diabetes or cardiovascular issues. In pregnant women, problems with the gums may be a sign to be concerned about preeclampsia or low birth weight.

Your teeth can even reveal information about your mental health. Signs of bruxism may indicate stress or anxiety, with the patient unconsciously grinding the teeth as a mechanism for coping with emotional problems. Similarly, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders may indicate that a patient is dealing with excessive worry.

Take your appointments with your dentist as seriously as your visits to your primary care physician. Oral health can shed a light on how healthy the body’s other systems are.