They say that the mouth is the window to overall health. And rightly so, because signs of oral health problems can work as indicators of various health problems.

Most of us think of visiting a dentist only when we’re facing major dental problems. Otherwise, we always try and ignore issues like cavity formation, bad breadth, teeth cleaning, etc. Little do we realise that our laziness or reluctance to make regular dentist visits can cost us a lot more in the long run.

What is Toothology?

“Toothology is an age-old methodology in the field of dentistry that assists to examine the overall health of a person through their colour, texture and general state of the teeth,” says cosmetic dentist Dr Karishma Jaradi.

How popular is it in India?

Toothology is an age-old science. However, as people are now getting conscious of their overall look and health, including dental care, they are also getting aware about how mouth can play a significant role in detecting various health issues. They are learning to detect their health problems through dental signs, as quality oral health has an impact on career success, social success, general health, and overall quality of life, explains aesthetic dentist Dr Shantanu Jaradi.

Pain in upper molars — Sinusitis

The root cause of acute pain in the upper molars is sinusitis. When the maxillary sinus-air cavities within the cheek bones, above the upper jaw, becomes inflamed due to infection, it exerts pressure on the upper jaw. The roots of the upper molars are in close proximity with the sinus and on being pressed, they mimic pain of dental origin.

Tooth sensitivity — Acidity & heartburn

Those who suffer from frequent heartburn or acid reflux invariably suffer from eroded teeth enamel. Unhealthy eating habits such as eating large meals, lying down on the back right after a meal or snacking before bed time are some factors that cause the valve at the entrance of the stomach to become loose and stomach acids to travel backwards.

Gingivitis and pregnancy

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing oral health problems like Gingivitis (A mild form of gum disease with inflammation of the gum) and Periodontitis (a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports the tooth). Pregnant women with these problems are four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely — and underweight babies — than mothers with healthy gums.

Flat teeth — High stress

A lot of people tend to clench and grind their teeth during the day and night without being aware of it. Long term grinding of teeth makes them flat, causing jaw tenderness, fatigue of cheek muscles, headaches and ear aches. Stress is one of the pivotal causes of Bruxism (It refers to excessive grinding of teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw).

Some other signs:

Mouth ulcers — Weak immune system

Usually, mouth ulcers occur when the body’s immune system is weak. In very rare cases, mouth ulcers can signal a warning of mouth or throat cancer.

Dry mouth — Diabetes

Constant case of dry mouth, clinically known as Xerostomia, may be an early sign of diabetes. It causes the blood vessels present in the salivary glands to thicken thereby slowing down the natural flow of saliva and elimination of toxins, leaving the gums vulnerable to infections.

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