When you think of a healthy smile, you envision a mouth full of bright, white teeth free of cavities and gum disease. All the teeth are straight and smooth. You want teeth like that. If you did, you would know that your mouth has optimum health. Are all the signs of your dental health visible?
There are both visible and invisible signs that your teeth and gums are healthy.
The Visible Signs of a Healthy Smile
White teeth, free of excessive staining. Teeth naturally turn a yellow color with age. Teeth that are excessively yellow or have yellow or dark portions can indicate tooth decay.
Teeth that are straight and do not appear excessively long. Crooked teeth are harder to take care of and are more likely to have tooth decay. Against the common myth, teeth don’t “get longer” as one ages. Teeth will appear “longer” when the gums are receding. Gum recess is a sign of gum disease.
Gums that are firm and a pale pink color. Gums that are white, dark pink or red indicate the presence of inflammation and possible gum disease.
Gums that aren’t recessed too low. The gums should recede no more than 3 millimeters from the bottom of the teeth.
A smooth, pink tongue. The tongue has thousands of papillae on the surface which allows for the tongue to detect taste and temperature of food. In and around these sensors are places where germs and bacteria accumulate. Proper tongue cleaning will remove the white film that decayed food particles leave behind. Canker sores or red patches on the tongue can indicate a potentially serious health condition such as diabetes or cancer.
An aligned bite. The teeth on the top jaw and bottom jaw are to align so that the wear and pressure of biting and chewing will be evenly distributed. A misaligned bite is not only a sign of an unhealthy mouth, but it can also cause other problems like ear aches and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
Invisible Signs of a Healthy Mouth
The absence of tooth sensitivity. One of the hallmark symptoms of tooth disease is tooth sensitivity. If your teeth are pain-free and free of sensitivity, chances are they are healthy and don’t have cavities.
Fresh breath. It can be hard to have fresh breath all the time. In the mornings everyone’s breath is less than pleasant. Persistent bad breath even after brushing, flossing and using mouth wash can indicate disease and decay. If your breath is fresh, it means there is nothing decaying in your mouth.
A mouth free of pain and discomfort. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know something isn’t right. A mouth that is pain-free is one that is in proper working condition.
A mouth that is moist. A healthy mouth will be naturally moist with saliva. This is the body’s built-in mouth wash. A dry mouth provides a more hospitable environment for germs, bacteria and eventually plaque to grow and accumulate.
A healthy mouth goes beyond just “skin deep.” There are both visible and invisible signs of a healthy mouth. Even if you have all the signs of a healthy mouth, there could possibly be some underlying oral health concerns that only a trained eye of a dental professional will be able to recognize. This is why it is important to see us at LeDowns Dentistry every six months for a professional teeth cleaning and oral examination. At-home oral hygiene isn’t enough to achieve or maintain a healthy mouth. You also need the regular check-up by a dental professional.
A healthy mouth is a beautiful mouth. If it has been more than six months since your last dental office visit, contact us today to schedule an appointment.