Understanding the Mouth/Body Connection

If you’re like most people, as long you enjoy a bright and white smile and kissable breath, you probably don’t give too much consideration to your oral health. Which is too bad because even if you brush and floss daily, you could be missing some pretty clear signs that point to the state of your overall health.

In recent years, an overwhelming amount of research has shown clear links between an individual’s oral health and their overall health. Studies have shown that individuals with poor oral health increase their risk of developing a number of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. So the next time you pick up your brush, stop and take a moment to look for these clues that something may be amiss with your health.

Tooth Pain

A slight irritation in the mouth is probably a piece of food lodged between your teeth, something a little floss can quickly alleviate. However, if you experience a sharp pain whenever you bite down or chew, you need to schedule an appointment with a family dentist immediately, as your pain could be a sign of dental decay or a cavity. If you experience a dull, throbbing pain, wait three days and seek treatment if the pain hasn’t gone away.

In some case, tooth pain can located along the top of your teeth may signal a sinus infection, as the sinuses are located right above the upper root of the front teeth. Your dentist should be able to tell whether your pain is from clogged sinuses after taking an x-ray.

Bleeding Gums

Contrary to what many assume, it’s not normal for gums to bleed following brushing or flossing. Drawing blood while brushing could be an indication that you need to take your oral hygiene more seriously – no more forgetting to brush and floss before bed- or as an early sign of gum disease.

As mentioned previously, gum disease has been linked to a variety of chronic diseases, and has also been shown to present serious problems to the health of pregnant women. Studies have shown that expectant mothers with gum disease have an increased risk of premature birth and low-birth weight.

The effects of gum disease can be reversed when treated early, but you need to schedule regular checkups to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.

Permanently Stained Teeth

Few oral health issues cause as much embarrassment as stained teeth. Fortunately, most brown or yellowish stains are the result of a lifetime of drinking soda, tea, coffee, and red wine. Using a whitening toothpaste or over-the-counter whitening strips and gels can help restore your smile to it’s brightest.

But for dark stains that don’t go away, you may need to see the dentist. Brown or dark black spots on a tooth can be a sign of a cavity, while blue and red hues that appear suddenly could indicate the tooth has cracked all the way to the pulp, where the blood vessels and nerves of the tooth are located. Unfortunately, this type of crack cannot be fixed, and the tooth will need to be removed.