Your mouth is the gateway to your body for nutrients from food, water, and everything else it needs to function at its optimal levels.
But it also plays an important role in your health as the means by which microorganisms enter that could eventually lead to disease.
Every day you probably try to maintain good oral hygiene in order to eliminate a lot of the viruses and bacteria that can cause dental problems or bad breath.
In addition to worrying about that, however, you should also consider some warning signs your mouth can send to indicate other health problems. Do you know what they are?
Disease detection from tooth or jaw painIf you’re having pain in the lower part of your jaw and it begins to be accompanied by fatigue or chest pain that radiates toward your arms, it could be a sign of a heart attack.
If the pain occurs in the upper part of your mouth, however, it might indicate a sinus infection. These occur when the natural cavities that surround your nasal passages become inflamed and cause pain that usually affects your jaw, teeth, and head.
Most often, this kind of pain is due to muscle tension from clenching your teeth at night.
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Disease detection from sores and mouth ulcers
Canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia, and fungal infections are the most common types of sores that can appear at any time in your mouth.
Each of these have very different causes so it’s important to pay attention to what they are, because they could alert you to a hidden disease, infection, high fever, or irritation to the mouth..
Disease detection from bad breathAlmost 90% of bad breath originates in the mouth and is associated with a particular type of bacteria at the back of your tongue, or gum disease.
The other 10% of the time should be a concern to you, though, especially when bad breath comes on suddenly. It could alert you to type 2 diabetes, liver failure, or a problem with your kidneys and intestines.
Disease detection from changes in the appearance of your gums
If you notice a white coloration in your gums it’s a clear sign of anemia. When the red blood cell count is reduced it causes your gums to appear pale. You might also notice that you have a red, swollen, and shiny tongue.
If, on the other hand, your gums appear red and inflamed it’s probably a sign you have gingivitis or a bacterial infection.
Disease detection from tooth lossIf you suddenly begin to feel like your teeth are becoming loose and the sensation is accompanied by bright red gums, it’s important that you see your doctor to rule out periodontitis.
In this case, gingivitis has progressed to the point that it’s affecting the tissue that holds your teeth in place.
If you have no clear signs of infection and are suffering from tooth decay, however, it could be an early sign of osteoporosis.
Women who have already gone through menopause should pay especially close attention to these signals, because at this stage your bone density is reduced and it could cause this disease to develop even more rapidly.
See also: 5 habits that damage your bones
Disease detection from bleeding gums
This is a common occurrence when you’ve had some kind of injury or infection in the region. But if your bleeding is recurring and abundant, it could be a warning sign of leukemia.
If it’s accompanied by nosebleeds, it might also indicate liver damage. Your liver produces substances that facilitate the clotting of your blood, so if it’s not working properly it can cause your gums and nose to bleed.
In either situation you should immediately consult your doctor. If you ignore these signs they could develop into serious problems.
You might also notice a little more bleeding than normal when you’re taking aspirin or going through menopause. This shouldn’t be cause for alarm – just watch your symptoms closely and rinse your mouth with water and a little baking soda as a disinfectant.