In the past twenty-years, the world has gotten faster and faster. We have computers in our pockets and can connect with one another almost anywhere on the planet. Even though we now have the tools to be more productive than we’ve ever been before, the goal-post seems to continually move, leaving more tasks on our plate.

How are you supposed to eat healthy, go to yoga, and succeed at your job, all while watching your kids? Things inevitably are left out, and usually it’s the things that are good for us. To make the right health decisions with such limited time, it can be helpful to see the whole picture. Even better than a fitness bracelet, our teeth can provide a surprisingly accurate snapshot of our health, as certain oral complications can point to larger health concerns.

County boy on his ranch

Tooth Grinding and Anxiety

Bruxism, also known as tooth grinding, is a good example for how a seemingly unconnected problem can point to larger issues. Our teeth have natural ridges, indentations, and places of wear that can be spotted at a checkup. If there seems to be more wear on one side or another, there is a good chance you suffer from anxiety, too much stress, or other mental health issues.

If left untreated, bruxism can slowly damage your teeth to a point where reconstructive dentistry may be needed. It can also worsen symptoms of TMJ. Seeking out a mental health professional and practicing stress-relieving exercises can help to lessen tooth grinding, as well as lowering cortisol levels in the body.

Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Disorders

Gum disease or periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue that causes mild inflammation. General symptoms include: gum tenderness, red gums, and loose teeth. When gum disease is left untreated, it can significantly increase your chances of heart attack, stroke, and cancer. Gum disease affects almost half of all adults in the U.S, and is generally a sign of poor oral hygiene and poor eating habits.

Cavities and Diet

Paleo, CERT, Keto–we think about diet more than we ever have before. Food is our body’s literal fuel, so if we don’t feed it well, we’re likely to experience the adverse effects of this. Cavities are just one of those negative effects, and they can sometimes point to an unhealthy diet. Cavities are formed from an imbalanced oral microbiome. When too many streptococcus mutans are present within the mouth, usually as a result of a diet high in sugar and/or simple carbohydrates, there is an influx of an acidic byproduct that wears enamel and creates holes in the teeth, AKA cavities.

If you’ve had many cavities as of late, this could be a sign you need to cut back on your sugar intake. The American Heart association recommends a daily intake of only 26-30 grams of sugar. While this may seem like a generous amount, it’s helpful to consider that one can of soda contains 40g of sugar, and also that fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates contain sugar, as well.

If it’s been awhile since your last dentist appointment, then it’s time to schedule one. A simple checkup can provide you with the perfect snapshot of your health.

If you are overdue for your next dental visit, please call (910) 392-6060 or email Kuzma Advanced Dentistry in Wilmington, NC for an appointment with a dentist.