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Your mouth is a complex environment where strange secrets lurk…

Well, maybe not lurk, because when things go wrong in your mouth, they’re no longer a secret. Seriously, here are some important tidbits to know about your mouth that can improve your life!

Secret #1 — Your teeth can give clues to your ancestry.

Your teeth can provide information about your ancestry and genetic heritage. For example, the shape and size of your teeth can reveal whether you are of African, Asian, or European descent. Dentists who specialize in forensic odontology can use dental records to identify human remains or solve crimes.

Secret #2 — Your bite can affect your overall health.

Your bite refers to the way your teeth come together when you close your mouth. A misaligned bite can cause problems with your jaw, such as TMJ disorders, and may lead to headaches, neck pain, and other health issues. Braces or other orthodontic treatments can help correct bite problems and improve your overall health.

Secret #3 — Your tongue can affect your dental and overall health.

Your tongue can harbor bacteria and contribute to bad breath and other oral health problems. Tongue scraping or brushing can help remove bacteria and improve your oral hygiene. Tongue-tie, a condition where the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth, can also affect your oral health and may require surgical correction.

Secret #4 — Chronic stress can lead to dental problems.

Chronic stress can cause clenching or grinding of the teeth, a condition called bruxism, which can lead to tooth wear, jaw pain, and other dental problems. Stress management techniques, such as meditation or therapy, can help reduce the impact of stress on your oral health.

Secret #5 — Some medications can affect your dental health.

Certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, can cause dry mouth, which can increase the risk of dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Talk to your dentist about any medications you are taking and how they may affect your oral health.

Secret #6 — Your dental health can affect your sleep.

Poor dental health, such as gum disease, can contribute to sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, leading to snoring, gasping, and interrupted sleep. Treating dental problems can help improve your sleep quality and overall health.

Secret #7 — Your saliva can reveal your health status.

Saliva contains biomarkers that can provide insight into your overall health, including your risk for certain diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Saliva testing is a non-invasive way to screen for health conditions and monitor treatment outcomes.

Secret #8 — Your dental health can affect your mental health.

Poor dental health can lead to feelings of embarrassment or shame, which can contribute to depression and anxiety. Cosmetic dentistry, such as teeth whitening or veneers, can improve your self-esteem and mental health.

Secret #9 — Oral piercings can increase the risk of dental problems.

Oral piercings can cause chipping or cracking of teeth, and increase the risk of infection and other oral health issues. Piercings can also interfere with speech and chewing, and should be removed if they cause problems.

Secret #10 — Your dental health can affect your lifespan.

Poor dental health has been linked to a higher risk of early mortality, particularly in older adults. Gum disease has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. By taking care of your dental health, you can improve your overall health and increase your lifespan.

The Lowdown

These “secrets” highlight the interconnectedness between oral health and overall well-being. By being aware of these lesser-known aspects of dental care, you can take a more holistic approach to your own oral health and improve your overall quality of life.

Speak with us if you have any questions, and make sure you come in for regular checkups!

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