If you're like many people, you brush your teeth daily and maybe you floss when you remember. But do you ever pay attention to signs and symptoms in your mouth that may indicate something else is going on your body? If not, you should.
Your oral health is directly related to your overall health in more ways than you can imagine, according to research. Take this quiz to find out more about the connection between what's happening in your mouth and the rest of your body.
Some of the first signs of diabetes may be found by your dentist.
A number of issues in your mouth may be caused by diabetes. This includes sweet, fruity-smelling breath, dry mouth and sore, swollen or bleeding gums. Slow healing of cuts or burns in the mouth may also occur. These symptoms may also be caused by other factors, but should be checked out.
If you have gum disease, it may be a sign you also have heart disease.
People with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than people with healthy gums, according to research. The exact link is not fully understood but there appears to be a link between inflammation caused by periodontal disease and narrowing of the arteries.
If the inside of your mouth looks pale, you may have anemia.
When you have anemia, you don't have enough red blood cells or enough hemoglobin in your red blood cells. This may cause your tongue or gums to look pale or your tongue to become smooth, sore or swollen.
Kidney disease may cause noticeable symptoms in your mouth.
Kidney disease often causes few or no symptoms in its early stages. But as it progresses and the kidneys lose their ability to properly filter waste from your body, you may notice a change in how your breath smells. If the smell is similar to ammonia, urine or fish, see a doctor.
Autoimmune disease symptoms may appear in your mouth.
Some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, Sjögren's syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis, may cause symptoms that affect your oral health. You may notice difficulty swallowing, mouth dryness, raised bumps or ulcers in the mouth or pain and swelling in the jaw. If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 17, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor