If it's been some time since your last dental visit, it can be tempting to fudge the numbers a bit and tell your dentist that you've only missed a brushing here and there. You might also spend a little extra time brushing and flossing the day of your appointment, ensuring that your teeth are in the best condition to be seen by a dental professional.
But if you're engaged in this kind of behavior, can dentists tell if you're lying?
The answer is sort of, and it depends more on what you're lying about than any kind of clairvoyance on behalf of your dentist.
While it may sound like a good idea to fib just a bit to avoid the wrath of your dentist, it's not like a dentist can't tell anything about your dental habits just from looking in your mouth. After all, they'll have a better look at your teeth than you have at home, and it's easy to see if you've been missing cleanings or have been neglecting your brushing or flossing duties.
But here's the thing. Your dentist is here to help you maintain and take care of your teeth. By being honest, they'll have more information to help you do that, which, in the long run, is better for your teeth and your oral health.
You may be able to fool your dentist with regard to your diet -- how many sugary drinks and candies you consume -- but you can't undo the damage to your teeth. If you've been neglecting to care for your teeth, it's not like brushing right before your next appointment can erase away the tell-tale signs of poor oral hygiene.
You can tell your doctor that you floss and brush every morning and night, but if they start digging around and your gums start bleeding everywhere, that's what they call a dental gotcha. They might go along with the ploy, humoring you during the appointment, but both you and the dentist will know what's really going on.
Instead, it's better to come clean with all your dental habits. A dentist will probably figure it out anyway, and once it's in the open you can have an honest conversation about how to get your teeth and mouth back on track. At the end of the day, the dentist is here to help you maintain your oral health, and the more open you are with your dentist, the better the care you'll get.
Either way, they're going to clean the extra gunk off that you may have missed in brushing and flossing, so you might as well come clean. If you're honest, your dentist can give you better advice, helping you get to a point where maybe you don't feel the need to lie.
Some people think that neglecting to brush and floss will leave you with bad breath, but that's not all. Gingivitis can turn into advanced periodontal disease if left long enough, and that can lead to tooth decay and eventually you could need surgery. Oral care has also been linked with diabetes and other medical conditions, so you're not just risking a case of bad breath, you're risking your health.
The truth is that your dentist is happy to see you, and they'd rather help than scold you. If you have a dental need, don't delay. Dental services are just a phone call away.