If the eyes are the window to your soul, then your teeth are the window to your health. While this might seem like a far-fetched connection, it might be more reasonable than you think. Your mouth is the entry to your digestive and respiratory systems, after all. And illnesses in one part of the body tend to show symptoms in the mouth as well. So what do your teeth say about your health?
It all depends, really. You first need to know which came first. In problems like cardiovascular disease and heart disease, they often occur after a severe case of tooth decay. In the case of eating disorders and the like, it’s more of other causes directly affecting your gums and teeth.
So what do your teeth say about your health? Let’s look through the most common complaints and see.
It’s one thing to have bright red gums. Usually, that’s a sign of periodontal disease. You either get periodontal disease due to poor oral hygiene or as a symptom of another ailment. It’s another thing to have pale gums.
Of course, these pale gums might come from another source. If you’re an avid user of home whitening kits, you might have noticed your gums turning a little white post-application. But if the paleness lingers, it might be a sign of something else. If these gums are paired with a sore feeling and a swollen tongue, have yourself checked—you might have anemia.
The thing about a dry mouth is you never really know why you have it in the first place. It’s either a symptom of an underlying condition—like Sjögren’s syndrome—or the result of certain medications. If your dry mouth is caused by the former, this means that your immune system attacks the glands and ducts that produce saliva and tears. This doesn’t just leave you with a dry mouth, but dry eyes as well.
If, however, your dry mouth comes from the medications you take, consult your doctor or dentist. You might be able to adjust your course accordingly.
The easiest way to spot a problem in your oral health is to see if your gums are swollen. And much like a dry mouth, this gum inflammation can fall under several categories. Ailments like diabetes give your body a harder time fighting back against illnesses. Because they have a compromised immune system, patients with diabetes are more likely to get a more severe case of gum inflammation.
Aside from diabetes, chronic gum inflammation could also signal poor oral hygiene. So before seeking help for another ailment, it’s best to get yourself checked first.
Lack of enamel
If there’s enamel wear on the insides of the teeth, what your teeth say about your health is that it suffers a gastrointestinal problem or an eating disorder. It’s because you tend to throw up a lot when you have these ailments. In eating disorders like bulimia, in particular, the acid wears at your teeth with every routine expulsion, causing this lack.