They say the eyes are the window of the soul, but a look inside the mouth can also reveal a lot about a person. Dentists and doctors are well aware of the importance of looking for potential warning signs in the mouth, but do you know what your mouth may be saying about your health?
Most of us know that bad breath means we probably need to do a better job with our toothbrush, but did you know that there are a series of potential oral warning signs that could flag up dental and general health issues? If you’ve ever noticed blood when you clean your teeth, for example, this can be a symptom of gum disease, a condition that is known to elevate the risk of an inflammatory response in other parts of the body. Gum disease can cause complications during pregnancy and childbirth and it can also increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Another sign to look out for is chapped, dry lips, which can indicate iron deficiency. Iron is found in many common food items, including meat and leafy green vegetables. A lack of iron can cause anaemia, which is commonly characterised by feeling tired and lethargic.
Mouth ulcers are very common, and in the vast majority of cases, they don’t cause major problems. Sores can be painful, especially when you’re eating, but they usually heal within a week or so without the need for treatment. If you have an ulcer that is hanging around, however, this could be cause for concern. Slow-healing sores can be a symptom of oral cancer. Other signs to watch out for include difficulty swallowing, lumps and swelling, and red or white patches in the mouth or throat.
The mouth can provide a useful insight into general health, and sometimes, it may be possible to spot warning signs of developing conditions. As well as keeping your smile in check, regular routine appointments could also enable dentists to investigate potential issues, so don’t forget to call and make an appointment if it’s been a while since you took a trip to the dentist.