The Mouth: A Mirror of Health

By Catherine M. Fascilla, D.D.S.

The mouth is often called the body’s “barometer” or “mirror” of health, because it’s so easy to observe and because so many diseases have oral signs and symptoms.

Many diseases can manifest themselves in the mouth and tongue. That’s why when we examine your mouth, we look for more than tooth decay. Disorders that can show up in the mouth include:

  • Vitamin deficiencies. A burning or sore tongue is a common symptom of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiencies. Bleeding gums can be a warning sign not only of gum disease, but also of scurvy, a Vitamin C deficiency.
  • Diabetes. Early signs can include red, swollen gums and teeth that are sensitive to tapping.
  • Leukemia. Signs can include sores inside the cheek, in the throat and on the tonsils and lips.
  • Bulimia. The compulsive pattern of consuming enormous quantities of food and then vomiting may lead to loss of enamel and dentin on the inner (tongue) sides of the teeth.
  • Infectious mononucleosis. This condition is sometimes signaled by inflamed gums and tiny hemorrhage spots on the roof of the mouth.
  • Sinusitis. This condition is an inflammation of the sinus cavity, which can feel like a toothache.

Regular professional care has always been your best way to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Now you know that dental exams help you for the rest of your body, too.

Back to main articles page>