Dental Health and Overall Health: 5 Telltale Symptoms

A good oral hygiene regimen, including brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day, can keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy. But, did you know the state of your mouth can tell your dentist things about your overall health that you may not be aware of?

Here are five symptoms that may reveal more about your wellbeing.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Everyone experiences bad breath now and again, whether it’s from skipping a teeth-brushing session or consuming a particularly lingering meal.

However, this could be a sign of other health concerns, such as a build up of plaque and food debris from ongoing poor oral hygiene, dehydration, or even stress. Consuming low-carb diets and drinking alcohol can also contribute to bad breath.

It’s recommended that you speak to your dentist if you’re concerned about ongoing bad breath, as it could be a sign of something more worrisome, such as diabetes or periodontal disease.

Pale or Red Gums

Healthy gums appear pink and firm. It’s important to contact your dentist if you notice any changes to your gums, including bleeding, swelling, or pain. 

The appearance of pale gums may be a sign of anemia, which is commonly caused by an iron deficiency. Following up with your physician to treat the underlying cause is recommended. Alternatively, red, swollen gums may be a sign of periodontitis (gum disease). This infection in the gums causes soft tissue damage and can lead to bone loss around the teeth.

Although the links aren’t fully understood, studies show people with gum disease are at increased risk of inflammation, which contributes to the development of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Enamel Loss

The erosion of tooth enamel may be a sign of several health concerns, including eating disorders. According to the American Dental Association, studies show that up to 89% of dental patients with bulimia have signs of tooth erosion, which is caused by excess exposure to stomach acids coming into contact with teeth while vomiting.

High intakes of acidic foods and beverages, including alcohol, may also be a culprit. Other health conditions, such as reflux and bruxism (tooth clenching or grinding) can also lead to enamel loss, which can change the colour, shape, sensitivity, and translucency of teeth.

Cracked or Lost Teeth

Damage or loss of teeth can be attributed to several health concerns. One of them is stress, which can promote bruxism. Bruxism can lead to the alteration of tooth appearance, including cracking or chipping that can invite bacteria to invade the teeth and gums.

Tooth loss can also be a sign of osteoporosis. This condition affects bone density, including in the jaw bone, which needs to be healthy in order to anchor teeth.

Xerostomia (dry mouth) may be found in those with kidney disease. Dry mouth results in reduced saliva production, which in turn increases acidity in the mouth, leading to decay and eventual tooth loss. 

Mouth Ulcers

Painful sores in the mouth or cheeks that occur regularly or do not heal need to be investigated. They may be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, notably a lack of iron or vitamin B12.

Mouth ulcers can also occur due to some medications, hormonal changes, or stress. More serious conditions may be the cause, however. People living with certain conditions or diseases may develop sores, blisters, or thrush due to a weakened immune system and a decreased ability to fight infections. Ulcers can also be cancerous, so it’s important to see your dentist or doctor if a persistent sore is present.

Let’s Start Your Holistic Oral Care Plan

If you notice a change in your oral health, don’t delay treatment. Your dentist can help identify warning signs and potential issues before they become larger problems. They will also help you make decisions if you need further medical advice. The team at Lewis Estates Dental Centre is here for you. Your wellbeing is worth it. Book an appointment to begin your oral treatment plan.

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