Make Self-Examination Part Of Your Routine
Most people know the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth, but one part of your oral health routine you may be neglecting is a simple visual self-examination. Take some time to get acquainted with all the parts of your mouth. You probably know what your teeth look like, but you should also note the appearance of your tongue, gums, back of the throat, and other soft tissues. You don’t have to know what all the parts are called or their specific function. Just observe for significant changes. Becoming aware of and tracking the appearance will give you a good reference as to what is “normal.”
You probably already spend a lot of time in front of a mirror while brushing and flossing, so why not take a little extra time to peer into your mouth?
What Do I Look At?
To perform a self-examination, carefully look over all the surfaces of your mouth. This includes checking the teeth for signs of chips or cracks, as well as plaque/tartar buildup. Look over the tongue, gums, palate (roof of your mouth), inside of the cheeks, the back of your throat, under the tongue… everything! Gum tissue should be pink, not pale or white or overly red and irritated. Check the gumline for possible signs of gum recession (where teeth look extra long or exposed). You can also use your finger to firmly but gently feel the different areas. Check for sensitivity, lumps, or other irregularities.
What are warning signs?
Any significant change observed in the mouth is worth bringing up to your dentist. A wound or lesion that is unexplained in origin and doesn’t show signs of healing within a week or two should be investigated. Blotchy patches of discoloration may be indicators of a problem. You see, your mouth is a sort of window into your overall health and may exhibit symptoms of diabetes, malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, as well as more serious conditions such as oral cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc.
You are the ultimate advocate for your mouth! So, let us know of any significant changes you notice. Then, let our experts discover the cause with a full examination.