It can be a shock when at a routine dental exam you are told that you have cavities, gum recession, or gum disease. This is especially true if your dental health has always been excellent. You may find yourself wondering what could possibly have caused this sudden change in your dental health.
Remember, cavity formation and gum recession typically takes place over a period of months or years. So, if you have recently been diagnosed with dental problems or noticed uncharacteristic symptoms such as sensitivity or bleeding gums, you may need to think back over any life changes which may have occurred within the last year or two.
Here are five questions to ask in this situation.
1. Has Your Dental Hygiene Changed?
You probably know that a decrease in dental homecare can cause problems. But you might not expect that any change at all, even a supposedly positive change, could have a negative effect.
For example, if you’ve switched to an electric toothbrush, you may be brushing your teeth a lot harder than you think if you are using your electric toothbrush like your manual toothbrush. And if you’ve started brushing after every meal because you heard that was the best way to keep your teeth clean, you could actually be making your teeth more sensitive if you are brushing aggressively.
2. Have You Had a Diagnosis or Started Taking Medication?
Any diagnosis of illness such as diabetes, thyroid problems, eating disorders, or really any other chronic condition should be disclosed to your dentist right away. That’s because your body’s overall health can affect your dental health a lot more than you might think.
For instance, some common effects of diabetes include slowed healing, making it harder for your gums to resist bacterial infection. In addition, any new medications could cause issues in your mouth as well. Dry mouth, which deprives you teeth of the salivary flow they need throughout the day to stay at their healthiest, can be a side effect of some medications.
3. Have Your Eating Habits Changed?
It is not just what you eat and drink that affects your teeth, but also when and how often you eat and drink it. For example, if you have a sugary soda that you sip throughout the morning, you are constantly exposing your teeth to the acidity and sugar in the beverage. It is better to consume your beverage over a short duration and then rinse with water once you finish your beverage.
Sugary or high-carb snacks can have a similar effect. Some people need to eat snacks in order to control blood sugar, but if you’re just snacking because you are stressed, or do not have time to sit down for a meal, consider changing your habits.
4. Have You Become More Stressed?
Stress has all kinds of deleterious effects on the body. Commonly stress will keep you up at night, which causes fatigue during the day. When people feel less energized, oral hygiene is quite often one of the first things eliminated. A lack in oral hygiene will increase the likelihood of gingival inflammation and cavities. Another common manifestation of stress is bruxism (grinding of the teeth) and or clenching. Both of these activities can lead to muscle fatigue, headaches, and tooth sensitivity.
5. Have You Experienced Sleep Disturbances?
As previously mentioned, a lack of sleep can affect your energy level, which can adversely affect how well you care for yourself. In recent years, sleep apnea has come into the forefront as being the root of several other systemic issues. Sleep apnea can be related to snoring, bruxism, acid reflux, and daytime drowsiness just to name a few. But one thing you also need to consider is if your bed partner is not sleeping well, then you may not be sleeping well either as a result of the nocturnal activities associated with sleep disturbances. For a more comprehensive list of potential symptoms associated with sleep apnea, as well as treatments for sleep disorders, please visit our website WWW.Silverstonefamilydental.com.
These questions can help you get to the bottom of what is causing your recent deterioration in dental health. If you answered no to all of these questions, talk to your dental and medical doctors about any other possible health-related causes. You could have an undiagnosed illness, vitamin or mineral deficiency, or some other issue affecting your dental health.
You can also experience more dental problems as you age, since your teeth and gums may become more vulnerable over time. Contact Silverstone Family Dental to schedule an appointment today if you have experienced unusual symptoms or if you are due for a cleaning and exam.