What Does Your Smile Say About You?

They say you can learn a lot about a person from the way he or she smiles. For example, a small, forced smile might mean that a person is being insincere. Alternatively, a broad, open grin can indicate friendliness and approachability. But did you know that your smile can also provide a glimpse into your health? Not only can it tell you some pretty significant things about your oral health, but it might also provide some important clues about your overall oral health too. So, what does your smile say about you?

If you have mouth sores, your smile might be telling you a number of things.

First, you'll need to determine what type of sore you have. If it's a cold sore-- sometimes referred to as a fever blister-- it'll present as a group of blisters on the lips or around the mouth. This could be your smile's way of telling you that you are stressed out. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and outbreaks are often triggered by stress. Canker sores, on the other hand, are ulcers inside of the mouth. Occasional canker sores are likely nothing to think twice about; however, if you get them frequently, they could indicate a mineral deficiency or a gluten intolerance.

If your gums are inflamed or bleeding, your smile might be telling you that you have periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease-- more commonly known as gum disease-- is an infection of the structures that surround the teeth. In its earliest stage-- gingivitis-- gum disease is reversible. In its most severe stage-- periodontitis-- the infection can destroy the jaw bone and cause tooth loss. Moreover, gum disease has been linked to other health conditions, such as increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

If your teeth are worn down, your smile might be telling you that you are stressed out.

While that might seem like a strange connection, flat teeth are typically caused by bruxism, or clenching and grinding of the teeth. One of the leading causes of bruxism is stress. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they suffer from bruxism, because the majority of their clenching and grinding occurs while they sleep at night. Untreated bruxism can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders, gum recession, and even tooth loss.

If your tongue is discolored, your smile might be telling you that you have a medical concern that needs to be checked out.

Healthy tongues are pink and are covered with tiny nodules. A red tongue could indicate a vitamin deficiency. A white coating over the tongue might mean that you have oral thrush, which is a yeast infection in the mouth. Additionally, you should visit your dentist immediately if any sores or bumps develop on the tongue and don't resolve within a couple of weeks, as oral cancers often initially present this way.

If your breath smells bad, your smile might be telling you that there's an underlying issue with your stomach.

Of course, there are a number of reasons for halitosis-- for example, poor oral hygiene is a common culprit behind bad breath-- but an often overlooked reason is a bacterial overgrowth in the stomach. Other health issues that sometimes cause bad breath are kidney and liver disease.

There are so many wonderful reasons to smile more often. Not only does smiling make you seem more attractive and approachable to others, but it also can improve your own mood due to the release of endorphins that occurs when you smile. Just remember, though: your smile can also provide you with valuable information about your health. For more information, contact us today.