Find Out What Your Mouth Is Saying About Your Health
Do you do regular dental checkups? Most of us try to, and when we do, we should also find out what other critical health clues are showing up in our mouths.
Agingcare.com tells us we should be looking for swollen, bleeding gums, crumbling teeth, ongoing mouth sores, receding gum line with loose teeth, and plaque and gum inflammation.
Inflamed bleeding gums can signal diabetes. A friend of mine went to the dentist for dental work only to find out he was also diabetic. People with diabetes often have bacterial infections causing swollen, bleeding gums.
Lingering mouth sores that are not a healthy pink can signal oral cancer. People over 60 and smokers are at a higher risk. The same friend that turned out to have diabetes was also spotted for cancer.
Disintegrating teeth may be as sign of serious acid reflux disease. When stomach acid moves up into the esophagus and reaches the mouth it can permanently dissolve tooth enamel, and accelerate tooth decay.
Receding gum lines, loose teeth and plaque and gum inflammation increase the risk for heart disease and, in some cases, endocarditis, an often fatal infection of the heart lining. Researchers believe clogged heart arteries and some strokes may be linked to mouth bacteria. Endocarditis can happen if mouth bacteria attaches to damaged parts of the heart.
An aging senior that I knew had a heart valve replaced and later ran into endocarditis when oral bacteria attached to that valve, ending his life.
More Critical Health Clues
The Mayo Clinic says gum disease has been linked to premature births and low birth weight. The bone disease, osteoporosis, has also been linked to mouth bone and tooth loss, and tooth loss before age 35 has been cited as a future Alzheimer’s risk. There are also eating disorders that show up with acid damage in the mouth.
Protecting Your Oral Health
The Mayo Clinic underscores the need for good preventive dental measures, reminding us to stay on top of dental care and watch for all these major health issues that could be intercepted with regular dental checkups.
Make it easy on yourself and take five simple steps to take care of your mouth. Brush at least twice a day, floss daily, eat a healthy diet and reduce snacking, replace toothbrushes every three months, and maintain regular dental checkups. Also, see your dentist promptly when tooth problems come up.