Can the condition of your mouth reveal critical information about your overall physical health? It has been suggested by dental health professionals that your oral health is a window into the rest of your body. The Academy of General Dentistry states that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases will produce oral symptoms and signs. Since the condition of the mouth precedes the appearance of symptoms in other parts of the body, careful monitoring of oral health and early detection of problems can speed up diagnosis and treatment for an improved outcome.
There are a wide variety of illnesses and conditions that have early “oral markers.” For example, bleeding gums and blisters may be caused by stress, but it could also be the autoimmune disorder known as Pemphigus Vulgaris, which, although rare, can be life-threatening. Other oral symptoms may point toward much more common illnesses.
Pale, Swollen and Tender Tongue – These issues with the tongue may indicate anemia, which is a condition of low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Other symptoms include weakness, fatigue and dizziness.
Receding Gum Line; Loose Teeth – This might indicate a general weakening of the bones — in this case, a weakening of the bone structure that supports the teeth. It may be an early warning for osteoporosis.
Pus, Swelling and Bleeding of the Gums – These symptoms may be early signs of a cardiac disease. If there is an infection in your mouth, it could travel to your heart, contributing to coronary artery disease, plaque buildup in one’s arteries or the forming of clots.
Eroding Enamel from Insides of Teeth (Especially Upper Back Molars) – This is one early symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If this is detected early, one can reduce the chance of it developing into esophageal cancer.
The Mouth’s Critical Role in Your Body
Think of your mouth as a critical gateway to the rest of your body. It’s involved in several important daily activities, such as speech, respiration and digestion. And, when it comes to other health issues, the mouth plays an essential part. The Mayo Clinic confirms the connection between oral health and overall health — specifically when it comes to bacteria. Studies have found that the mouth’s bacteria and inflammation caused by serious gum disease (periodontitis) may play an important role in certain diseases and medical conditions, such as cardio vascular disease, endocarditis, premature birth and low birth weight.
The Best Way to Ensure a Healthy Mouth and Overall Good Health
How important is it to take good care of your oral health? Very! The formation of bacteria in your mouth may become even more serious than you realize. But it’s not hard to keep teeth and gums in good condition. Eat healthy food and keep sugary sodas, sweets and starchy foods to a minimum. If you do eat them, brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth out with mouthwash shortly afterwards. This will remove food particles that, if left in your mouth, may lead to tooth decay and gum problems. Brush your teeth, floss and rinse twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. Visit your dentist two times a year for a check-up. They should have your complete medical history so that they can keep a close eye on your oral health and any overall health connections.