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What do your teeth say about your health?

Our bodies are great at telling us when things aren’t right in a particular area. Fever is a sign of infection, for example, that may require a doctor’s visit. Similarly, the condition of our teeth and gums can give out early indications of oral health problems, which may necessitate a visit to a dental office for treatment.

Sore, bleeding gums can be an early sign of gum disease, which in turn can lead to the loss of teeth. However, the bacteria that typically causes gum disease and bleeding gums can also be a symptom of other conditions, such as diabetes, or even heart disease and so shouldn’t be ignored if bleeding gums persists for more than a few days. A visit to a dentist for a check-up can help to put our minds at rest by treating the cause of bleeding gums and offering reassurance.

Sore, bleeding gums can be an early sign of gum disease, which in turn can lead to the loss of teeth.


Sore, bleeding gums can be an early sign of gum disease, which in turn can lead to the loss of teeth.


Many people experience dry mouth, which is a condition where the mouth cannot produce sufficient amounts of saliva to rinse the mouth of bacteria and food debris. Saliva is one of the body’s natural defenses, and helps to keep teeth and gums healthy, and dry mouth sufferers are more prone to experiencing tooth decay and gum disease. Most cases of dry mouth clear up on their own, but persistent dry mouth might require a dentist’s intervention in order to treat the cause.

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, could be an indicator of stress. People under stress tend to produce higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that can have a detrimental effect on a person’s teeth and gums by raising blood sugar levels and suppressing the body’s immune system. Add in statistics that suggest stressed people are less likely to maintain a good dental hygiene program, and there is a recipe for tooth decay, gum disease and eventually tooth loss.

Stomach acid, expelled through vomiting or occasionally through acid reflux, can indicate eating disorders, or food intolerances. Eating disorders create nutrient imbalances in the body, which in turn can affect the health of our teeth. Stomach acid is also highly corrosive to teeth enamel, and can erode the tooth’s outer protective shell, making it more susceptible to the effects of tooth decay. Frequent vomiting can also trigger swelling in the mouth, throat and can damage saliva glands, as well as cause bad breath.

These are just a few of the complaints that show our teeth can indicate when something is wrong, not just in our mouths, but also in other parts of our body. As such, any persistent, untoward symptom manifesting in our mouth, teeth or gums should be referred to a dentist for further investigation and remedy.

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