6 Things You Can’t Hide from Your Dentist

dentist and patientMany patients don’t realize just how instrumental proper dental care is in their overall physical health, which is why fibbing, lying to your dentist or underplaying your oral hygiene habits can actually do more harm than good. You may be inclined to try to impress your dentist by stretching the truth a little about how well you actually take care of your teeth but the fact of the matter is that the inside of your mouth will always reveal the truth. A good dentist can tell right away if you’re lying about how often you smoke and consume sugary foods or if you grind your teeth at night.

It’s always better to maintain an open and honest line of communication with your dentist so that they can provide you with the appropriate amount of dental care you need to lead a healthy life. With that in mind, here are some of the most common white lies or flat out lies dentists commonly hear from their patients.

Saying You Don’t Smoke when You Actually Do

Few bad habits are more evident than smoking. Anyone with a working nose can tell if you’re a smoker. Whether you realize it or not, the odour lingers and ingrains itself in your clothes, your hair and especially your skin. What’s more, the toxins contained in cigarettes and even chewing tobacco stain your teeth. If your dentist needs further evidence that you smoke—and how often you do it—all they have to do is look at your index and middle fingers for signs of nicotine stains.

Unfortunately, there’s no getting away from this one. If you smoke, your dentist will be able to tell right away, so you might as well just be honest about it and tell them how much you smoke. Your dentist isn’t there to judge or lecture you about how harmful smoking is for your health— you already know that. They just want to have all of the facts, so they can accurately examine your oral health and provide appropriate treatments as needed.

Saying You Don’t Feel Pain when You Do

Another common lie or white lie that patients tell their dentists is the amount of pain, sensitivity or discomfort they feel during an appointment. Whether it’s a routine checkup, a cleaning or any other type of treatment, you`re dentist doesn’t want to hurt you. They just want to treat the problem and make it as painless as possible. And they can tell when you feel pain because your eyes and face are a dead giveaway. Most people tend to scrunch up their nose, wince or squint their eyes when they feel even a small tingling sensation. Dentists notice this and since they want to make you feel as comfortable as possible, it’s better to just be upfront if they ask if you’re in pain. Depending on the procedure, your dentist might administer a local, general or topical anesthetic to try and reduce your level of discomfort.

Telling Your Dentist You Floss Regularly when You Don’t

As an expert in oral health, your dentist can definitely tell whether or not you floss, how often you floss, and how effectively you floss. There are four immediate telltale signs that indicate bad flossing habits:

  • Redness
  • Inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Tenderness

In a perfect world, everyone would floss between each meal but things don’t usually work out that way. As a compromise, dentists recommend that their patients floss at least once a day before going to bed as part of their nighttime routine. For the record, there is a right and wrong way of flossing. Going too far under the gum line can actually cause gum recession. The correct way to floss is to gently guide the string between your teeth, moving it up and down to loosen stuck-on plaque or food particles. But don’t force it. Once you’re finished, gently rinse your mouth out with warm water to clear out those food particles. You can also use a water flossing device to spray water between your teeth.

Telling Your Dentist You’re Not Afraid when You Are

Dental phobia or anxiety is a very real and oftentimes very serious condition that afflicts approximately 48% to 60% of Canadians. The majority of people who suffer from dental phobia, otherwise known as fear of going to the dentist, avoid going to the dentist altogether or as much as possible. As you can imagine, this is highly detrimental not only to their dental health, but their overall health.

Your dentist can tell if you’re feeling a little anxious or scared thanks to your body language (clenched fists and jaw, squinting eyes, tightened lips, etc.) and there’s nothing wrong with admitting it or talking openly about it. In fact, it’s better if you’re upfront about any anxiety you may be feeling because your dentist can offer some words of encouragement or even administer some nitrous oxide to help calm your nerves. You’re not doing yourself any favours by skipping your regular dental checkups or cleanings.

Bending the Truth about How Much You Drink

Once again, it’s not your dentist’s job to pass judgment on your personal habits. But it’s in your best interest to be honest about your drinking habits. Alcohol leaves behind distinct signs of heavy drinking including a foul odour and extremely dry mouth due to reduced saliva production. These are things your dentist can easily spot right away.

Downplaying Your Sugar Consumption

Sugar depletes the protective layer of enamel, which can cause tooth sensitivity, expose the yellow layer of dentin, and eventually lead to tooth decay. From performing a routine checkup, your dentist can tell if you’re consuming too much sugar and will probably advise against it to improve your dental health.

As a staple in Etobicoke’s Kingsway community for more than 20 years, Princeview Dental Group is proud to provide emergency and routine dental care to all of our patients. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is always happy to answer all your dental and oral health questions and provide the appropriate treatment. Contact us today to book an appointment!

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