What Is Your Mouth Telling You?

The mouth is a window to your overall health. Problems inside your mouth, such as with your gums, teeth and/or tongue, can all be indicators that serious health troubles are lurking beneath the surface. It’s critical to pay attention to any and all signs or symptoms of oral problems. If your mouth is causing even the slightest discomfort, or you’re having trouble cleaning your teeth and gums, it’s time to book an appointment today to see your oral care health practitioner.

Posted on | Jonathan B. Levine, DMD | Comments ()

The mouth is a window to your overall health. Problems inside your mouth, such as with your gums, teeth and/or tongue, can all be indicators that serious health troubles are lurking beneath the surface. It’s critical to pay attention to any and all signs or symptoms of oral problems. If your mouth is causing even the slightest discomfort, or you’re having trouble cleaning your teeth and gums, it’s time to book an appointment today to see your oral care health practitioner.

One common, yet frequently overlooked, oral issue is bleeding gums. Many people ignore inflamed or bleeding gums or brush it aside as a normal reaction to flossing, but the truth of the matter is that it’s one of the body’s clearest signs that something is awry. Think about gum tissue being similar to the skin on your body. If you developed an open sore every time you washed your hands, you would likely be very concerned and take immediate action to address the issue. The gums should be tended to with an equal amount of attention and care.

There are several, even some surprising, reasons for bleeding gums besides plaque build-up. These include pregnancy and hormonal changes, excessive stress, smoking, challenged immune system functioning, disease and illnesses, such as cancer, HIV and diabetes, and more.

And it’s not just about the bleeding gums alone. When you allow your gums to bleed chronically, your entire circulatory system is more vulnerable to the harmful bacteria in your mouth. If these bacteria gain entry into your bloodstream, it can cause a number of problems. These bacteria can bond to platelets in the blood and cause clots, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, even dementia. As bleeding gums go untreated, inflammation in the mouth can result in the inflammatory process, setting up in other areas of your body and vital organs.

The bottom line is that good oral health is essential to good overall health. Pay attention to clues that your mouth is giving you and follow these tips to be the healthiest you in the new year.

  • Brush and floss at least twice a day.
  • Avoid fatty and sugary foods, as these can lead to plaque build-up.
  • Create a smile-friendly diet by eating foods high in fiber such as fruits and vegetables, which strengthen the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, and take calcium and vitamin C supplements to promote healthy gums. Additionally, fruits and vegetables raise the pH in the mouth which creates a healthier environment for the good bacteria to thrive and the bad bacteria to disappear.
  • Resolve to manage your stress levels for 2011. Too much stress can overload the mouth and affect the gums.
  • Care for your teeth, gums and tongue like any other body part, brushing and flossing regularly. Have a professional cleaning at least twice a year – and more if your gums are sensitive or inflamed, or you have had a good deal of dental work.

Small oral care steps you make today can bring a healthier you tomorrow.

Blog written by Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
Dr. Jonathan B. Levine is a world-renowned dentist and prosthodontist recognized as an authority on restorative dentistry. He's...