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Four Things Your Mouth Can Tell You About Your Health

Your breath may remind you that you ate some onions at lunch, but that’s not all your mouth can tell you.  These oral symptoms from cavities to bleeding gums sometimes signal an underlying problem. 

  1.  If you suddenly have a bunch of cavities…

It might mean:  Diabetes

Assuming you’re not hooked on a sugary drink, a sudden influx of cavities and tooth decay could be a sign that your body is having trouble processing glucose.  When that happens, the sugar can build up in saliva and spur the growth of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.  You might also feel some tooth pain, especially after eating something sweet, hot or cold.

  • If your teeth are “wearing away”…

It might mean:  Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

If you’re experiencing heartburn more than twice a week for a few weeks in a row, you may have GERD.  It’s a condition in which stomach acids leaks into the esophagus.  When stomach acid reaches the mouth, it can wear away the enamel on your teeth.  If you are diagnosed with GERD, it may be treated with antacids, prescription meds and lifestyle changes like avoiding certain foods and eating smaller, more frequent meals.

  • If your gums bleed when you brush…

It might mean:  Gingivitis

Blood in the sink my indicate inflammation of your gum tissue caused by plaque buildup along the gum line.  Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more seriously periodontitis, in which the gums recede from the teeth and form pockets that get infected.  Multiple studies found that people with periodontitis are also more likely to have heart disease.

  • If you have white spots on your tongue…

It might mean:  Oral Thrush

White patches or plaques can by a symptom of oral thrush, an infection caused by an overgrowth of the Candida yeast.  It’s not super common, but people who have diabetes, dry mouth or a depressed immune system are more at risk.  Additional signs of the infection include redness, difficulty swallowing or cracking at the corners of the mouth.

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