Posted September 3, 2014
The healthiness of your mouth could be an indicator of your overall wellness.
The American Dental Association reminds us that infections in the mouth can lead to health problems elsewhere in the body.
Seven warning signs
Beware, these oral afflictions may signal potential health problems:
- Stains – When plaque (a sticky bacteria) collects on your teeth, it’s easily stained by foods and beverages, such as wine, coffee, tea, berries and sweets. Untreated plaque can turn into gum disease.
- Tooth sensitivity – Foods and beverages at very cold or hot temperatures can give your teeth a zing. If the feeling persists beyond a few seconds, you may have a cavity. Since tooth decay breeds infection and can spread, don’t wait for the pain to worsen before seeing your dentist.
- Bad breath – Foul odors are embarrassing. Some oral odors are created by the foods we eat, such as onions and garlic. But if the smell persists for more than a week, the source of the problem may be gum disease.
- Bleeding gums – Sometimes when brushing or flossing too vigorously, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding occurs regularly, you may have gingivitis.
- Receding gums – Teeth are held in place by their roots and firm, pink-colored gums. Changes in gum color and shape could be a sign of gum disease and inflammation.
- Changes in your tongue – A normal tongue should be pink and covered with taste buds. If it’s smooth, you may need more vitamin B. A white tongue may be an indication of dry mouth, inflammation or oral thrush.
- Mouth sores – It’s common to get canker or mouth sores, but white-colored sores that last for more than two weeks could be an early sign of oral cancer.