It’s well-known that good oral health (a healthy mouth) is one of the most definite signs of a healthy body overall. There are many good reasons to have regular dental or periodontal check-ups. But one of the most important is that health issues can show up first in the mouth. Here are some of the things your dentist or periodontist will check for during an oral health exam.
Four Signs of a Healthy Mouth
1. You Have Good or Neutral Breath
For nearly everyone, a healthy mouth includes naturally good or neutral breath. You can check yourself quickly at home. Floss thoroughly between your teeth, or use a fingernail to scrape your tongue to check for odor. Either of these gives a reasonably clear sense of how your breath may smell after toothpaste and mouthwash have begun to fade away. Persistent bad breath is often related to bacteria and food particles present in the mouth.
Bad breath also may be a sign of more severe health issues, including diseases such as diabetes, or even sinus problems. Some medicines also can cause a dry mouth, which leads to unpleasant breath. In those cases, your dentist or periodontist can give you options to help improve dry mouth and its symptoms. Of course, the best way to keep your breath fresh and your mouth healthy is by brushing and flossing regularly.
2. Your Gums are Healthy
The next time you’re looking in a mirror, take a moment to take a careful look at your gums. They should appear pink and be firm when you touch them. If they are red, white, swollen, or tender, something is likely the matter. Your teeth should be firmly in place and should not wiggle or feel loose. Check also to see if your gums fit tightly with the teeth — no flaps, pockets, or spots where they seem to be receding from the tooth.
Healthy gums depend as much on frequent brushing (brush gently) and flossing as your teeth do. Daily flossing helps keep gums healthy, and it prevents periodontal pockets where bacteria can collect. Your dentist or periodontist will check your x-rays and carefully examine your gums to check for pockets. Farber Center reminds all patients that healthy gums are among the best indicators of a healthy body.
3. Your Teeth and Dental Restorations are Strong
During every check-up, your dentist or periodontist will examine your teeth for strength and overall condition. They will also check restorations such as fillings, teeth with crowns, and dental implants. Grinding or clenching (bruxism in dental terms) is a frequent issue. It can increase wear on both the teeth and restorations, including fillings.
Tooth decay, along with small cracks or other issues with teeth and dental restorations are not always visible to the naked eye. Therefore, x-rays play an essential role in early detection. Together with a thorough exam, they can help detect issues before they become advanced and challenging to treat. If your dentist finds a potential problem, you’ll know immediately and be able to decide on treatment options to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
4. You Have Healthy Oral Tissues
Because an oral health exam covers everything, your dentist is trained to examine the entire mouth — tongue, lips, and cheeks in addition to teeth and gums. More than a few whole-body health issues can have symptoms that manifest in the mouth. They include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and thyroid issues. Healthy oral tissues are generally pink, firm, and moist. Abnormalities may appear as dry mouth, infections, swelling, or tenderness.
Oral cancer screening is also a crucial part of your dental or periodontal check-up. Your dentist is trained to notice any warning signs for oral cancer or other serious issues. At Farber Center, we come down on the side of caution. If we see anything of concern, we’ll notify you on-the-spot and refer you to a physician for a follow-up.
Everyone wants to have a healthy smile, and it is one sign of a healthy mouth. But our exams go much farther, and we carefully check every patient for a variety of issues. Your teeth, gums, and oral health overall affect both your self-confidence and whole-body health. Give us a call or stop by our Medford or Hauppauge offices to schedule an appointment. We’ll also be glad to help you find out more about how a healthy mouth is an essential part of good health overall.