Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Give Yourself A 60-Second Dental Check-Up

Regular visits to your dentists are absolutely essential to prevent serious dental problems. But it is also important to give yourself an oral check-up from time to time. This simple process just takes a minute, but it can yield valuable clues to the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums.

Stand before a well-lit mirror and open your mouth wide.
1. Check your gum line and the lines between your teeth
Good: There should be no brown lines here
Bad: If you see brown lines, that is a sign of tartar build-up
What to do: Time to go to the dentist. Once the brown lines are cleaned up at the clinic, regular flossing will keep tartar away.

2. Stick out your tongue. What does the surface look like? 
Good: A healthy tongue should be pink
Bad: If it is coated with white, it can be an indication of poor digestion. This coating also results in bad breath.
What to do: Use a stainless steel scraper to clean your tongue every morning. 

3. Are there ridges along your tongue? 
Bad: This is often a sign of tooth grinding. People may not be aware they grind their teeth, but it can happen when they are stressed. 
What to do: If you wake up with an aching jaw, you should see a dentist.

4. Take a look at the inside of your cheeks. 
Bad: Do you see white patches? These can occur if you chew the inside of your mouth when you bite and chew your food. 
What to do: These should be checked by your dentist because a wound inside the cheek can not only get infected, but may also be a sign of pre-cancerous changes, especially in smokers. An ulcer that does not heal within three weeks should also be investigated.

5. How do your gums look?
Good: If they are pink and rosy, your gums are in good health. 
Bad: But if they are red, it is a signal that gingivitis or gum inflammation has turned into gum disease. Another clue: gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. 
What to do: Your dentist can help you with a course of antibiotics and dental hygiene guidance on how to rebuild gum health. 

Bad: Pale gums can indicate iron deficiency - a warning sign of anemia. 
What to do: Up your intake of green vegetables, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, and dried fruits such as raisins and prunes.

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