People often say that our faces are a window into our health. But it turns out that our teeth can also be a remarkably good indicator of not only what’s going on in our mouths, but the rest of our bodies too.
In the past, people had surprisingly good oral hygiene. When researchers look at hunter-gatherers’ teeth, they often find that they were in pretty good condition and free from cavities – something you wouldn’t expect, given that toothpaste wasn’t invented.
When farming came along, people’s teeth began to suffer slightly. The change to a grain-based diet altered the flora in their mouths and put them at a higher risk of developing cavities. The problem was present, but it was still minor. Overall, people living at the beginning of agriculture ate surprisingly good diets, so long as they got enough variety of foods and calories.
The problems really arrived with the refining of sugar. Sugar meant that many people in early-modern societies – especially the better off – had terrible oral hygiene issues. Their teeth would go black and fall out, and their gums would bleed. It was a disaster.
Toothpaste was an invention that made eating sugar possible. Before then, you were dicing with your health.
The state of your teeth, as dentists at Sleep Dentistry Defined know, can say a lot about your overall health. Let’s take a look at what your teeth are saying to you.
You Could Have Diabetes
Periodontitis is an infection of the gum around the root of the tooth. It’s a severe form of gum disease and much worse than gingivitis – the condition that leads to it. Researchers believe that periodontitis could be a warning sign for diabetes. The high level of sugar in the blood actively feed the bacteria that live below the gum line, helping them thrive and create inflammation. What’s more, a large proportion of people diagnosed with diabetes have a history of periodontitis – more so than the general population.
You Could Be Pregnant
If you notice a sudden change in your oral health, it could be a sign that you’re pregnant. Pregnancy induces a host of hormonal changes throughout your body that can affect the composition of the flora in your mouth. Sometimes, pregnancy can change your hormones so much that it leads to a breakdown of the gum tissue between your teeth and causes bleeding.
Dentists recommend, therefore, that pregnant women pay special attention to their teeth, particularly during the first trimester. Brushing three times a day instead of two and using an electric toothbrush can help considerably.
You Might Be Vitamin-Deficient
It’s no secret that the Western diet is low on essential vitamins and minerals. We don’t eat the things we should to stay healthy and happy. However, a lack of vitamins can also show up on your teeth.
Low levels of vitamin D, for instance, can change the whiteness of the enamel of your teeth. A vitamin B deficiency can make it more likely that your teeth with crack. If you notice an uptick in ulcers, you may want to start popping a supplement or up your veggie intake.