What’s Your Mouth Trying To Tell You?

African American Black man flossing teethWhat are the top oral health warning signs? Did you know that your mouth can signal health concerns in other parts of your body?

Some dental conditions such as bad breath and puffy gums can be signs of gum disease. But other oral symptoms, however, may point to something more. So take a look at the below oral symptoms to find out what they could be telling you about your overall health:

Bad Breath. Everyone experiences stinky breath, but brushing and flossing (including brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper) should nip bad breath in the bud. What about when it doesn’t? It could be a sign of advanced gum disease, so it’s important to talk to your dentist before this oral condition ruins perfectly healthy teeth, says David M. Leader, DMD, assistant clinical professor at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston.

Most of the time, however, the biggest bad-breath culprit is your diet. “Onion, garlic, and pungent spices will produce mouth odor for hours after consumption,” Dr. Leader says. In addition, people who have uncontrolled diabetes, eat a high-protein diet, or suffer from alcoholism tend to have breath with a sweet or fruity odor, from a metabolic condition called ketoacidosis.

Swollen Gums. Swollen gums is another sign of gum disease. Even if you believe you have healthy teeth, swollen gums absolutely require a visit to the dentist. Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to tell right away if you have gum disease — but you can check for swollen gums yourself by drying your gums with a napkin or a tissue and looking in the mirror. “The surface of the gum close to the teeth should appear pebbled like a basketball, not smooth and shiny,” Leader says. And although your swollen gums may feel fine, they tend to bleed during brushing.