We’ve all been there — sitting in the dentist’s chair, feeling a little bit guilty about our brushing habits (or lack thereof), and worrying about what our dentist is about to say. But is there anything to actually worry about? Can your dentist in St. Louis really tell if you don’t brush your teeth as often or as well as you should? Well, it turns out that your dentist not only knows if you brush your teeth, but they also know a lot more about you, even if you don’t tell them.
Every time you visit your dentist in St. Louis, there are a few key things we’re looking for — cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer, among other things. But we can also know things about your habits such as:
We can tell if you quickly flossed last night or in the parking lot before your appointment. We can also tell if this was one of the only times you flossed since your last visit. Your gums will appear red, maybe even a bit swollen, and there’s a good chance that they’ll bleed during your cleaning. Patients who floss regularly tend to have pink gums, no or little blood, and no swelling. So while we appreciate that last-ditch flossing effort, please try to floss more frequently.
Even if you don’t share your tobacco habits with your dental team (which you should, by the way), they can still tell if you’re a smoker. The dead giveaway is often the smell. Even if you try to cover up cigarette smoke with gum or mouthwash, the smell can still linger around in the soft tissues of your mouth. Additionally, if your dentist in St. Louis notices any yellowing or staining of the teeth, they may also suspect tobacco use.
While nail-biting may seem like a non-dental issue, the truth is, this habit can greatly affect your oral health. Your dentist doesn’t even need to look at your hands to know if you bite your nails either. Nail biters often have tiny chips or cracks in their teeth and may even have shortened, worn down teeth and jaw pain… all of which can create additional problems such as cavities and TMD/TMJ disorder.
Everyone knows that sugary drinks such as soda can damage your teeth, but can your dentist actually know if you drink soda if you don’t tell them? Yes! And it’s not the sugar that gives it away. The acid in soda, and other acidic drinks, wear away at tooth enamel in a particular pattern, giving away your soda-drinking secret.
It’s important to share your health history and habits with your dentist in St. Louis, even if you’re embarrassed. Knowing what outside factors may be affecting your oral health is crucial to providing you great, personalized dental care and keeping you healthy. We’re not here to judge, but we are here to help.