15 Things Your Teeth Can Say About Your Health

Sure, you can tell if your teeth are clean or not. But do you know about the underlying things those chicklets can tell you about underlying health issues? With help from WebMD and Mind Body Green, we take a look at 15 things your teeth can say about your health.

1. Stress

As Mind Body Green details, being under constant stress can lead to the bad habit of clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth. If the edges of your teeth look and feel flat, it could be that your teeth-grinding habit is wearing away your enamel. This can lead to the need for serious dental work in the future.

2. Eating Disorders

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can “cause serious nutritional shortfalls that can affect the health of your teeth,” WebMD says. Bulimia can be especially hard on your teeth, since regular vomiting and stomach acid can cause your teeth to erode as well as trigger swelling in the mouth and throat.

3. Osteoporosis

Having unhealthy gums — more on that on page 6 — can lead to inflammation in the rest of the body, including your other bones. In fact, women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to lose their teeth, ArchivesOfMedicine.com tells us.

4. Allergies

“Gaps in the teeth can indicate that you have tongue thrusts,” Mind Body Green says, which can be caused by excessive mouth-breathing — a side effect of having nasal congestion and allergies. This can be an especially bad sign if allergies affect your sleep.

5. Sleep disorder

Gaps in your teeth can also be a sign you have a sleep disorder, due to your tongue pressing up against your teeth why you sleep. Those with narrow jaws are more likely to have sleep apnea, according to DesignsForDentalHealth.com.

6. Gum disease

Getting gum disease goes beyond not brushing and flossing regularly. WebMD tells us having chronic dry mouth breaks down the mouth’s defense against bacteria and can put your gums at risk. Taking certain medications or having Sjogren’s syndrome — an autoimmune disorder that affects your saliva and tear ducts — can put you at a higher risk of gum disease.

7. Anemia

Pale skin and brittle fingernails are a couple of signs you may have anemia. But your mouth can also be an indicator. A lack of blood cells can also make your gums a light color, often white, says WebMD. Your gums may also become sore and your tongue may become smooth and swollen if you’re anemic.

8. Rheumatoid arthritis

“People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are eight times more likely to have gum disease than people without this autoimmune disease,” WebMD says. On a positive note, there are ways to manage things. “The good news is that treating existing gum inflammation and infection can also reduce joint pain and inflammation.”

9. Diabetes

Gum disease is linked to a variety of health issues, including diabetes. Having elevated blood sugar levels affects your saliva’s ability to fight off bacteria, which can then make a home in your mouth and create all sorts of gum and tooth problems.

10. Kidney problems

“Adults without teeth may be more likely to have chronic kidney disease than those who still have teeth,” WebMD says. While it’s believed inflammation from gum disease may be the common thread, there has yet to be an exact correlation found between missing teeth and kidney problems.

11. Heart problems

How are your teeth connected to your heart? “The bacteria that infect the gums and cause gingivitis and periodontis also travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body where they cause blood vessel inflammation and damage,” Harvard Health summarizes. So, if you have inflamed gums, the chances of that bacteria traveling inside your body is higher.

12. Dementia

If bacteria from gum disease can travel to your heart, then it can travel to other parts of the body too. WebMD points to research revealing the bacteria from the puffy, bleeding gums of someone with gum disease has been found in the brains of patients inflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.

13. HIV

Due to a weakened immune system, individuals with HIV or AIDS “may develop oral thrush, oral warts, fever blisters, canker sores, and hairy leukoplakia, which are white or gray patches on the tongue or the inside of the cheek,” WebMD explains.

14. Premature birth

The direct link between gum disease and premature birth isn’t well understood, WebMD says. However, there is a link between pregnant women with gum disease and babies born too early or too small. If you’re pregnant and have gum disease, it’s imperative to talk to an obstetrician or dentist as soon as possible.

15. Complications from smoking

You may have heard all of this before, but it’s worth repeating. Smoking tobacco can cause gum disease, which leads to all the complications we’ve already discussed. The best thing to do is to regularly get your teeth cleaned and checked on a regular basis so any of these complications can be identified before they get out of control.

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