What Your Teeth Can Reveal About Your Health

Spotting Health Issues Via the Mouth

Your dental problems can reveal a lot about the state of your general health Any good dentist can spot a health issue happening in some part of your system just by a close and thorough oral examination. Here are some red flags manifesting in the oral cavity.

Diabetes makes periodontal disease worse. If gums bleed a lot and are swollen or the patient is having frequent abscesses or infections, the dentist might start to question if you have a family history of diabetes. Red, swollen gums that may bleed are the hallmarks of periodontal disease.

Acid reflux can wear away teeth. Research shows that 24 percent of people with GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease have tooth erosion, which a dentist can easily spot. The condition can also cause foul-smelling breath and sometimes redness at the opening of your throat.

Signs of stress can appear in your mouth. If you grind or clench your teeth, it appears as tooth erosion and you will experience pain or tooth sensitivity. It can create TMJ problems, because it has changed bite height. There’s also a risk of fracture. A painful canker sore is another sign of stress. A white or red lesion the mouth that doesn’t clear up in two weeks can be a sign of oral cancer.

Osteoporosis can lead to tooth loss. Loose teeth, including dentures that have become loose, and receding gums can be signs of low bone mineral density. Studies have shown that women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those who do not have the disease. X-rays are effective in identifying people with osteoporosis compared to those with normal bone density.

Sjogren’s syndrome and certain meds can cause dryness. The autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome attacks the glands that make saliva and tears, can cause dryness in the mouth and eyes and increase the risk of cavities. There’s no cure for the condition but it can be managed by hydration.

Anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders that can affect teeth. Anorexia, with lack of calcium, iron and B vitamins, can cause tooth decay, gum disease, canker sores, and dry mouth. With bulimia, stomach acid from vomiting can erode tooth enamel, causing sensitivity and changing the color and shape of the teeth.

Celiac disease is associated with gastrointestinal symptoms and can affect the teeth, leading to dental enamel defects. It can cause tooth discoloration: white, yellow, or brown spots on the teeth. It can also cause teeth to appear pitted or banded. Other symptoms are recurring canker sores, a smooth, red tongue and dry mouth. A gluten-free diet is an effective management of the disease.