DID YOU REALIZE THAT an estimated 90 percent of systemic diseases can have an oral manifestation? Your mouth is loaded with helpful information about your body’s overall health.
Now, we are neither your physician nor your dentist. But we see your mouth more often than either of them, and sometimes we spot important signs about your body’s total health. Fortunately, most of your mouth’s “stories” are related to minor issues. However, some can actually be signs of more serious problems.
If you have worn-down teeth, it can mean that you’ve been grinding them — probably in your sleep. Teeth-grinding is more common in teens than any other age group. If it starts to cause a problem for your treatment plan, we may recommend a special night guard for your teeth.
If we notice that your tooth enamel is thin, it could be a sign of a condition such as acid reflux or bulimia because both regularly bathe teeth in stomach acid.
Occasionally, we all may have swollen, sensitive gums. But if it persists, even when you’re taking really good care of your mouth, it could be an early sign of something serious like diabetes or leukemia. Sometimes it may simply be a sign of vitamin C deficiency. But it’s good to consider all the possibilities.
In addition, modern research and many health experts continue to draw lines between gum disease and other whole-body health issues, including lung disease, cardiovascular problems, and even early-term labor.
There are a few odd tongue conditions like hairy black tongue (which is pretty much what it sounds like) and geographic tongue (random-shaped, smooth red patches) that have various causes but are not considered serious — although they can cause discomfort. However, what IS serious are early signs of oral cancer which often show up on the side of your tongue first, in small red or white spots. If you have a sore on your tongue, cheek, or elsewhere in your mouth that doesn’t go away in a reasonable amount of time, have a dentist check it out right away.
Nutritional deficiencies are often reflected in your mouth where the soft tissues are renewed quickly. An Academy of General Dentistry study shows that oral tissue sensitivity can be a sign of deficiencies in iron, zinc, and folic acid which can show up as gum disease.
Questions About Your Oral Or Overall Health?
First of all, don’t skip your doctor appointments! That’s not what we’re suggesting with this post! But remember that your regular dental checkups are more important than ever. And if, at any point, we see something that might be a sign of a health problem, we may recommend that you have a dentist or physician take a closer look.
Here at our practice, we’re so grateful for your trust. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your oral health or your orthodontic treatment, please ask us. And if you have any persistent symptoms like those listed in this post, let us know.