You may often think of your oral health as something totally separate from your overall health. After all, you probably wouldn’t go to your dentist with questions about your heart, your migraine problems, or that indigestion you’ve been struggling with.
But the reality is that your dental health and your whole-body health are very much connected. As a matter of fact, your mouth could hold clues to your health that could save you a lot of pain and suffering down the road . . . if you know what to look for.
5 Clues Your Mouth Gives about Your Health
Clue #1: Sores That Don’t Heal
Even the smallest sore in the mouth can be an indicator of oral cancer. If you have a sore that just won’t go away, then you need to have it checked out by your dentist or your doctor immediately.
True, it’s not uncommon to have sores in the mouth; cheek biting causes them all the time. But when a sore sticks around for more than two weeks, it’s definitely time to check it out. Oral cancer is on the rise and early detection is crucial if you want the best shot at recovery. So it’s important to know the signs!
Clue #2: Cracking, Crumbling Teeth and Enamel Issues
Over time, regular wear and tear on your teeth will lead to reduced enamel and teeth that crack more easily. But if you’re relatively young and having these issues, then you may be suffering from GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, which is also commonly referred to as “acid reflux”) . . . and just not know it.
With GERD, stomach acid makes its way into the mouth from the stomach and causes teeth to erode. Left untreated, this can lead to severe damage to the teeth, causing cracking and crumbling. Along with this, other signs of GERD can include heartburn, nausea, and a feeling of a something stuck in the throat. Unexplained voice hoarseness is also common with acid reflux.
Clue #3: Worn or Flattened Teeth with Face Pain or Headaches
If your teeth appear flattened or worn, or you’re dealing with face pain and headaches, then you may be one of the millions of people who grind or clench their teeth. While some people grind their teeth as a nervous habit, others do it in their sleep as the result of stress and may not even be aware of it.
Take a look at your teeth and speak to your doctor or dentist if your teeth look worn down or flat. And, since grinding or clenching your teeth can lead to a condition known as TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder), you may experience all kinds of other painful symptoms as a result, such as migraines, earaches, jaw and face pain (that can even radiate down to the neck and shoulders), and more.
Relief could be as simple as wearing a mouth guard at night to help keep your from clenching or grinding your teeth.
Clue #4: Dry Mouth
A dry mouth could be an indicator of more than just being thirsty. A dry mouth can be a sign of dehydration, diabetes, and Sjogren’s syndrome. It can also be a common side effect with some medications. Other signs to look for in combination with a dry mouth that might indicate a problem include tingling hands and feet, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, and blurred vision.
Clue #5: Periodontal Bone or Tooth Loss
If you notice bone loss or tooth loss or find that your teeth seem to be “weakening,” then you could be suffering from osteoporosis. Just as osteoporosis causes brittle or weak bones in your body, it can do the same in your mouth. Though this is more common in older people, it can still affect those who are younger or indicate a precursor to the disease.
So . . . make sure you take care of your teeth and keep your eyes open for any changes or problems! And don’t forget that regular dental checkups are a must for not only your oral health, but your overall health as well.
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