5 Health Problems That Can Be Detected in the Mouth

5 health problems that can be detected in the mouth

When people think about having a dental exam, they imagine their dentist pointing out potential problems with their oral health, such as tooth decay or gum disease. However, your dentist can also identify possible problems with your overall health as well, just by looking at your mouth. The following are five health problems that can be potentially detected in the mouth: 

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a medical condition where the bones lose their density and become frail. The condition is associated with causing fractures, especially in the bones of the spine, hip, and wrist. While these areas are commonly affected by osteoporosis, any bone in the body can be affected. In fact, osteoporosis has been found to affect the jawbone. When this happens, it can cause the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. It can also cause the facial structure to change and can lead to ill-fitting dentures. 

Eating Disorders

People with certain eating disorders may frequently “purge”, or vomit after eating. Unfortunately, frequent vomiting is extremely damaging to the tooth enamel and can change the appearance of the teeth. As the stomach acid dissolves the enamel, the teeth can change in terms of size, color, and translucency. This is especially prevalent on the backsides of front teeth since they are exposed to the most acid. Without the protective layer of enamel, tooth sensitivity can also become a problem. 

Anemia

Anemia occurs when there are not enough red blood cells in the blood, meaning that there is not enough oxygen-rich blood. It can be detected in the mouth by assessing the color of the gums. Healthy gums are a coral pink color, whereas pale gums could indicate a lack of proper blood supply due to anemia. Pale gums are also usually accompanied by other signs of anemia such as headaches, pale or yellowish skin or eyes, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. 

Kidney Disease

oral thrush

Kidney disease is another health condition that can cause symptoms in the mouth. Most of these symptoms are related to a lack of proper salivary flow, also known as dry mouth. Dry mouth caused by kidney disease can cause changes in taste, as well as mouth sores. Not only that, but some experts believe that periodontal disease can increase the risk of kidney disease. However, this potential link between the two is still being researched. 

HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus attacks the body’s immune system, ultimately weakening it over time. As a result, the body becomes more susceptible to all types of infections. Oral thrush is a type of oral infection that is primarily seen in people who wear dentures, as well as people with compromised immune systems. It is a fungal infection that leaves white, yeasty deposits on the inside of the mouth. Oral thrush rarely ever forms in people with normal immunity and could indicate the presence of HIV. 

Photo of Dr. Admar

Dr. Admar holds dual certificates — a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2010 from India and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2014 from Canada. He is now a full time practicing dentist in Kamloops where he provides a variety of services, including emergency dentistry. Dr. Admar spends hundreds of hours in continued dental education to stay up to date in cosmetic and implant dentistry and he has achieved several advanced qualifications.

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