The mouth, just like our skin, can indicate that something is going wrong with the body. While you may be brushing your teeth twice a day, it’s important to watch out for signs in the mouth to indicate if something else is going on with your body. Dentist Dr Richard Marques revealed seven things your mouth could be saying about your health to Express.co.uk.
A lot of people suffer from mouth ulcers. Sometimes they can be due to a reaction against certain foods, such as spicy foods. But other times it can indicate something else.
Dr Marques said: “Other times they can actually be a vitamin deficiency, so it can be a good idea if you’re getting regular mouth ulcers, to go see your GP.
“It might actually be you need a blood test, and then they can find, sometimes, underlying vitamin deficiencies or imbalances. All you’ll more likely need to do is to either change your diet slightly, or take vitamin tablets. That will really help to get everything back on track.”
Sometimes bad breath can indicate an underlying health problem linked to the stomach.
Dr Marques explained: “Acid reflux from the stomach, a lot of people do suffer from this, and those bacterias and sulphur containing compounds are released into the mouth from the stomach.
“So it’s really important if you’re noticing bad breath. First, try and brush your tongue, use a mouth wash, but if you’re noticing that it really isn’t going, than it’s a sign something is wrong in the mouth.”
Bleeding gums can indicate you have gum disease.
Dr Marques said: “Some people will find it’s gum disease, but sometimes it’s a sign of an underlying health problem.
It can be diabetes or it can be something more serious, even something as serious such as HIV, and that’s because people with lower immune systems tend to get problems with their gums. So it can, in rare cases, be a sign of something as serious as that. It is a rare thing, but it is something that can happen.”
Swellings of the mouth are another thing to look out for.
Dr Marques said: “Swellings like abscesses and infections indicate again that your immune system is low, and it may be there’s an underlying problem. You may want to have your immune system checked along with your level of white blood cells.”
Puffy or swollen gums
Sometimes puffy or swollen gums can indicate something to do with hormonal changes.
Dr Marques said: “Hormones in the body are there for lots of good reasons, but where often those hormones can change your body, they can also change your gums.
“Hormone imbalances are really important to get noticed, and hormones like oestrogen, they’re used to increase vasculature to the womb, but they can also change the nature of the soft tissue. So again, it’s something that’s really important to get looked at as well.”
This can sometimes, as well as the gums, can be to do with the bones and bone loss. Bone loss can be related to conditions such as osteoporosis or calcium deficiency.
Dr Marques explained: “A tooth is held into place by jaw, bone and gum, so it can not only be the gums, but it could also be the bone that has a problem. So it’s a really good idea to get that checked.”
A sore mouth
A sore mouth or pain in the mouth can be another indicator something is wrong.
Dr Marques said: “Sometimes the mouth can be affected by medications you’re taking. Medications have general effects on your body which are good, but they can have side-effects. Sometimes your medications may need to be adjusted or checked by the doctor, and your mouth is giving you a sign of that.
“The other thing sores in the mouth can indicate are sensitivities or allergies to certain foods. We know people are becoming much more aware of intolerances to foods – gluten, spicy foods and lactose – so these things can be indicated through the mouth as well.
“Just as your skin can tell you if you’ve got an allergy, your mouth, your tongue and soft tissues can also tell you.”
Having dry lips could be a sign of a vitamin overdose.