Oral health provides insight into our teeth, gums, tongue, and even breath, and can also reflect our physical health.
Ignoring symptoms or avoiding treatment can lead to more serious problems for both your mouth and overall health. So, it’s time to start paying attention to what your mouth is trying to tell you about your health.
And Dr. Oceana Okoye, cosmetic dentist for londonsmiling.com, says that in addition to the usual things like cavities and gum disease, our mouth can tell us if we have diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other conditions.
“Taking care of your smile is not just about aesthetics,” notes Dr. Okoye. “The health of your teeth and gums can make a difference in how you feel and affect your immune system.”
1. White spots on the tongue
“A healthy tongue should be a light pink color,” Dr. Okoye says. “White spots on the tongue can be a sign of many things depending on their shape. A cheese-like color is most likely thrush. Causes can range from poor oral health “. health as they multiply, bacteria, medications such as antibiotics and asthma inhalers, and dry mouth due to medications such as antidepressants and blood pressure medications.”
For example, stress on the immune system caused by diabetes or cancer can cause white patches to appear on the tongue.
“Be aware that it can affect all areas of your mouth, pretty much anywhere that has pink mucus,” Dr. Okoye says.
She warns that if you have a thick white patch anywhere that doesn’t go away after three to four weeks, it could be oral cancer, so you should get checked out.
2. Colored language
“A yellow tongue can mean liver problems, and a blue or purple tongue can be a sign of heart problems. If you notice these colors, see your doctor as soon as possible,” explains Dr. Okoye.
And if you notice blue spots on your tongue, it could be a bloody blister from biting your tongue, but Dr. Okoye adds that it could be a sign of something more serious, so it’s best to get checked out.
3. Black hairy tongue
Dr. Okoye reports that a black hairy tongue is usually due to a buildup of bacteria, especially in smokers. “It’s important to use a tongue scraper,” she advises.
She added: “Black tongue is also common in those taking bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), which is a common medication people take for indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea and nausea. The black tongue disappears as soon as you stop taking the medicine. “
4. Bleeding gums
“This is the first sign of problems and a sign of inflammation,” says Okoye. But, she added, bleeding gums are reversible, and to avoid this often painful scenario, it’s wise to increase the frequency of brushing as well as daily brushing.
5. Intraoral tissue
If you notice “spider-like patterns on the inside of the cheek”, this may be due to lichen planus, which is a skin rash that is usually not serious.
According to Okoye, “It’s more common in women aged 40 and older and can also cause bright red bumps to appear on other areas of the skin, such as the hands, nails, or scalp.”
“Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this condition, but good oral hygiene and the use of a steroid mouthwash can help,” explains Okoye. “There is some evidence that this could be an early sign of oral cancer, so it’s important to be careful.” get checked out by a dentist.
6. Dry mouth
Dr. Okoye says dry mouth can cause a lot of problems in general due to lack of saliva.
This can include tooth decay and gum disease, as well as bad breath and a slight change in taste.
Dry mouth is often caused by certain medications people take, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.
She advises avoiding dry mouth by drinking plenty of water, which is the substrate for saliva production. She added: “Try chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production, but only chew for ten minutes or as long as the flavor lasts.”
7. Mouth ulcers
These pitted ulcers appear inside or outside the mouth and are sometimes called aphthous ulcers. It can be caused by stress, hormones, allergies, or a deficiency in iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12, and eating certain acidic or spicy foods can make things worse.
“If it lasts more than three to four weeks, you should get checked out,” Dr. Okoye says.
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