Pearly white teeth and decent breath does not always guarantee a perfect oral health. Of course, a healthy oral hygiene is necessary but certain symptoms beyond mere inadequate oral care may show up in your mouth, indicating some underlying disease. Your teeth, gums, and tongue can each say something about the current state of your health. Certain oral problems can point to a range of issues concerning other aspects of your body, including cardiovascular, hormonal imbalances, or maybe even stress. If you’ve noticed something unusual in your mouth and it won’t go away no matter how much you care for your oral health, consider visiting a doctor as it may already be a symptom for a concerning health issue. To give you an idea, here are seven things that your mouth can reveal about your health.
- Strawberry Red Tongue: Iron or Vitamin Deficiency
If you noticed that the colour of your tongue changed into a glossy, bright red colour, this could mean that your body lacks iron or vitamin B12. This is because vitamin B12 and iron are necessary nutrients for the maturation of the papillae on your tongue. Thus, in their absence, your tongue would appear “bald” and very smooth as you lose the papillae. Such condition can cause pain when eating hot or spicy foods.
- Bleeding Gums: Hormonal Imbalance
Bleeding gums is not uncommon but it’s not normal either. Bacteria are usually the cause of bleeding gums and in this case, you’ll have to step up your oral care and visit a dentist for thorough cleaning. However, bleeding gums may also be caused by some hormonal imbalance. Hormone receptors are embedded in your gum tissue so bleeding gums may be more common for pregnant women or women on their period.
- Worn-down Teeth: Stress
When you’re stressed, you begin to unconsciously grind your teeth, wearing them down. The condition only gets worse as you get more and more stressed. In really bad cases, some people flatten out their teeth. This can eventually damage the tissue in the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. As a solution, you can have your dentist fit you a mouth guard you can wear at night to minimize the damage. Also try some de-stressing methods to lessen your bruxism or teeth grinding.
- Bad Breath: Stomach Issues
Bad breath can indicate a lot of other health issues, if inadequate oral hygiene is not the cause. It could be respiratory disease, post-natal drip, diabetes, kidney failure, or more commonly, gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. GERD causes stomach acid to come up through the esophagus into the mouth when you sleep. The acidity can erode the enamel of your teeth, causing cracks and crumbling teeth. Visit your doctor if your suspect GERD is at play.
- Inflamed Gums But Very Clean, White Teeth: Leukemia
It’s rare but there are cases wherein patients exhibit bright red gums that are inflamed and bleed upon touch, but the teeth are very clean and contain very little plaque. If such symptoms are coupled with weakness and weight loss, it might already be indicating acute myeloid leukemia. Schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately to get everything checked out.
- Brown or Black Fuzz In Tongue: Inadequate Oral Hygiene
A tongue covered in dark fuzz is not actually a major cause for concern even if it looks very appalling. It is mainly caused by overgrown papillae that harbour more bacteria and food, causing a dark discoloration. This can cause bad breath and taste abnormalities. Apart from inadequate oral hygiene, black or brown fuzz in the tongue can also be caused by smoking and drinking dark teas or coffee. Try removing the offending cause or use an efficient tongue scraper to get rid of the problem.
- Cottage Cheese White Tongue: Yeast Infection
If your tongue is covered by a lumpy, white-coat, it could be thrush, an oral yeast infection caused by the accumulation of candida. This can lead to weakened immune system and taste abnormalities. Oral thrush can be caused by the intake of antibiotics since the medication kills the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth, allowing fungi to take over. Visit your doctor for treatment.