The eyes may be the window to the soul, but did you know that your mouth can be a window to your overall health? In fact, your dentist can learn a lot about your overall health from just examining your teeth and gums. This is because everything in the body is connected and certain oral health problems can be caused by more than oral bacteria. Here are five different health problems that your mouth can communicate to your dentist:
Your dentist may recommend seeing your primary doctor if they notice that you have pale gums. This is because pale gums could indicate that your gums are not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Normally, gums are a coral pink color, so gums that appear light pink or even white can be cause for concern. In addition to pale gums, anemia can cause headaches, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, pale or yellowish skin and eyes, and unexplained exhaustion or weakness.
Another health problem that can be observed through the mouth are eating disorders. This is because many eating disorders involve “purging” after meals, which means frequent vomiting. Unfortunately, the stomach acid found in vomit is extremely abrasive to tooth enamel. This means that the tooth enamel is likely to experience changes in color, shape, or translucency. Tooth sensitivity can also become prevalent as the protective enamel wears away.
As the name suggests, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) severely compromises the immune system of an individual. This ultimately makes people with HIV more likely to develop infections that people with normal immunity generally would not. A common example of an infection that is likely to affect someone with HIV is oral thrush. Oral thrush is basically a yeast infection that occurs inside the mouth. With the exception of denture wearers, oral thrush is rarely seen in people with normal immunity and could indicate a possible HIV infection.
Kidney disease is another health problem that can present symptoms in the mouth. For starters, kidney disease can cause changes in taste, mouth sores, and dry mouth. As a result of dry mouth, the teeth become more susceptible to bacteria since the entire mouth becomes more acidic. As a result, people with kidney disease generally have higher rates of tooth decay, as well as a higher risk of losing their teeth or requiring extraction. Some sources also indicate that periodontal disease can eventually lead to kidney disease. Although researchers are not exactly sure about the link between the two, it is suggested that kidney disease and oral health are closely related.
A final health condition that can be detected in the mouth is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is characterized by bones that lose their density with age, making them more likely to fracture. Osteoporosis can most often affect the hip, spine, and wrist, although any bone in the body can be affected. Unfortunately, this also means that the jawbone can fall victim to osteoporosis. When this happens, the jawbone starts to deteriorate, and the teeth start to become loose as their support system breaks down. This can result in tooth loss, ill-fitting dentures, and complications healing from oral surgery.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.