A winning smile can take you a long way in life, but did you know that your mouth can help you understand a great deal about your personal health? In fact, study after study shows that oral health is a window into your overall health, meaning your smile can do so much more for you than land you that job, new client, or date!
Here are six health concerns that your mouth might be trying to reveal to you, long before the issue becomes too serious.
1. Hormone imbalance
Most people know that bleeding gums mean something’s not right in your mouth. But did you also know that they could signal a hormonal imbalance?
Embedded inside your gum tissue are hormone receptors, which is why it’s not uncommon for pregnant women to experience bleeding gums – during pregnancy a woman’s hormones tend to fluctuate. The same can be said for women experiencing menopause.
Here’s a fact that might come in handy: women also have more sensitive gums during their menstrual cycle, so that might be something for ladies to keep in mind when scheduling dental appointments.
2. Nutritional deficiency
If the corners of your mouth are red, this can be a sign of a B6 vitamin deficiency. A swollen tongue, a red tongue, or a shiny tongue can all be signs of iron deficiency. A pale tongue might indicate anemia.
If you experience have any of these coloration issues, it's a good idea to visit your dentist for a diagnosis.
3. Gastroesphoegeal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Many people assume that their teeth wear down because we grind them due to anxiety or stress. However, if these worn down teeth also have a lot of cracks in them, then this can be a result of the emission of stomach acid during sleep.
GERD is when stomach acid comes up through the esophagus and into the mouth. If you suffer from this, then your dentist will likely refer you to a gastroenterologist.
4. Stomach issues
No one wants bad breath. If you brush and floss regularly, yet still suffer from bad breath, it could be a sign of stomach issues or, perhaps, an indication of liver or kidney problems. Diabetics may suffer from bad breath if their diabetes is not under control.
5. Gluten intolerance
Canker sores can be an indication of gluten intolerance (or a zinc deficiency). If you take a zinc supplement, yet still suffer from these, you may want to visit a gastroenterologist to see if you suffer from celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.
6. Heart problems
Bacteria circulates throughout our bodies. Even a mild gum inflammation indicates that the resulting bacteria is in your blood stream. If you have your gum inflammation properly taken care of by a dentist, this lowers the inflammatory process in the body. But if your gum inflammation persists, the bacteria may begin to impact other parts of your body, including your heart.
Listen to your mouth
A body's functions are highly interconnected, which is why a few little signs that pop up in your mouth may be an indication of something greater. If you suffer from any of the ailments listed above, go to your dentist or schedule a consultation with your doctor.