How Your Teeth Can Reveal Your Physical and Mental Health
by Jordan Colton
Yes. Let’s talk.
About that selfie you posted yesterday on Instagram – you really look chic with red streaks in your hair. On second thoughts that picture revealed more than you intended.
Stop reaching for your phone. Stop panicking!
It was your smile that provided the information. People who follow you now know that you need to include more calcium in your diet. Your chipped teeth also convey that you need to cut down your intake of sugary soft drinks. Surprised? One shouldn’t be.
Tooth decay and periodontal disease are among the most common chronic diseases in the United States. Former U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin called oral diseases a silent epidemic.
The state of our pearlies reveal a lot about our physical and mental health. Every time you smile you convey that information. Let’s look at some of the information about our health our teeth convey.
Cracked or Chipped Teeth
Cracking or chipping of teeth is caused either by injury or poor diet. If your teeth starts chipping all of a sudden, pay attention to your diet.
Teeth like glass, can crack due to extreme temperature changes. If you eat hot food and follow it immediately with icy cold water you could be susceptible to cracked teeth.
You could also be suffering from cracked tooth syndrome. People who suffer from cracked tooth syndrome sometimes have fractures that are too minute to be spotted on X-rays. If you chew on hard candy, ice cubes or pretzels you increase your chances of getting a cracked or chipped teeth.
Poor diet, lack of calcium make your teeth weak. If your teeth have signs of wear and tear, sit up and analyze your food habits. Sugary drinks should be avoided at all costs.
When anxious, some people chew on things like pens, pencils, and necklace beads etc., which can cause small and big fissures in teeth. People who grind their teeth consciously or unconsciously also suffer from cracked teeth.
If you clench and grind your teeth a lot during the daytime or night time you could end up with teeth that look worn with flat edges.
Many people wake up with an achy jaw and are clueless about the reason for it. Usually it is their unconscious grinding of teeth, in sleep at night. It is one of the manifestations of unmanaged stress and anxiety.
Constant grinding could cause TMJ – Temporomandibular joint syndrome which causes pain in the jaw joint, clicking of the jaw, locking of the jaw, ear-pain and pain in the temple area etc., due to the injury caused to the teeth or jaw.
Bruxism is one of the most common sleep disorders. It shortens and blunts the teeth. Stress and anxiety make the situation worse.
If you suffer from Bruxism, you can approach your dentist for help. Dentists usually recommend wearing a night guard over the teeth when you sleep. Spending more time with loved ones, right counseling, exercising, yoga and meditations can help one calm down and manage stress levels.
If your gums are bleeding and are inflamed, they could be indicating more than a simple linear story of poor hygiene. You could be suffering from periodontal – advanced gum diseases which in turn could be a warning sign for other diseases like diabetes, blood-pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Risk factors for many of the gum diseases and heart diseases remain the same – poor nutrition, tobacco use, and other unhealthy habits.
There have been claims linking dental diseases and heart disease. Ann Bolger M.D., Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco says, “The mouth can be a good warning signpost.
People with periodontitis often have risk factors that not only put their mouth at risk, but their heart and blood vessels too. But whether one causes the other has not actually been shown.”
In a recently published research by the American Heart Association, scientists at Forsyth and Boston University demonstrate that using an oral topical remedy to reduce inflammation associated with periodontitis also results in the prevention of vascular inflammation and lowers the risk of heart attack.
Yellow Stained Teeth
Yellow stained teeth and smelly mouth can be nothing more than an unwashed stinky mouth. If you have poor cleaning and hygiene routines, your teeth are bound to get yellow and it shouldn’t surprise you if people avoid sitting next to you.
Under extreme stress, when life goes for a tailspin, many skip flossing, cleaning and rinsing. Call for help if it happens to any one you know.
Many a times inspite of good cleaning habits, teeth lose color. It could be due to smoking or eating certain fruits and vegetables.
Coffee, wines and some sport drinks cause discoloration. Many medicines can also cause discoloration. Environment, age and genetics too play a role.
Dentists usually recommend drinking a glass of water after you eat or drink any thing that causes teeth staining. Regular cleaning, flossing and dental check-ups can help the matters and yes, listen to your dentist’s advise if you decide to go for whitening of your teeth.
Holistic Oral Care
Regular exercise to relieve stress, eating healthy, cleaning your teeth, flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash usually is sufficient to take care of your teeth and gums. However let’s look at a few home brewed remedies that can help you with a few aches, pains and the normal wear and tear.
- Chew a couple of whole cloves or dab clove oil on your bad tooth. Clove has antibacterial as well as numbing effects. The clove bud contains eugenol which works on the teeth as a local anesthetic.
- Make some mint tea. Put some dried mint leaves in boiling water and boil it for 30 minutes. Drink the mixture or rinse your mouth with it. It helps with pain relief.
- You could try alcohol therapy. Take a sip of scotch, brandy, vodka or whiskey. Swirl it around your mouth for about 30-40 seconds and then spit it out. It can help alleviate the discomfort and pain in your teeth.
- Take warm water in a small glass. Mix a tablespoon full of salt in it. Swirl around this mix in your mouth and spit it out. Repeat if needed.
These are some of the most common home remedies to use if you have a toothache. The best option however is to call your dentist for help.
“In a clean mouth 1,000 to 100,000 bacteria live on each tooth surface. A person who doesn’t have a terribly clean mouth can have 100 million to 1 billion bacteria growing on each tooth,” says Sigmund Socransky, a dental researcher at the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
Some of these bacteria can be very harmful. The onus lies on us to take care of our oral health. Oral health is a window to our overall physical and mental fitness.
Taking care of our oral health can benefit us in more ways than we know. And remember, your pearlies reveal a lot more than you do. So take good care of them. Happy instagramming!
(Jordan Colton is Marketing Manager at Arizona Periodontal Group LLC, located in Phoenix. He looks after the PR and marketing functions across all media channels and markets. He has vast experience in developing new and effective marketing strategies and managing marketing campaigns across multiple channels.)