A number of changes in your mouth could be tell-tale signs or symptoms of a serious illness, an expert dentist has warned. One example being jaw ache, which could be an indication of a heart attack, while loose teeth could mean osteoporosis.
According to dentists at Rüh Dental, many diseases can spur on symptoms and changes in the mouth. The clinic’s leading dental expert, Dr Rizwan Mahmood, says:
“This is why people should visit their dentist at least twice a year for check-ups and cleaning. Analysing oral health regularly, along with brushing and flossing at home, can help keep your physical health in good order too.
“It’s also wise to be aware of any changes in the mouth, as well as pain. If you notice anything untoward, see your dentist or medical practitioner straight away.” Below is a list of six changes Dr Mahmood says people should watch out for, as reported by Wales Online.
1. Pain or discomfort in the jaw:
“Occasionally, pain or discomfort in the jaw could be indicative of a heart attack,” Dr Mahmood said, adding: “Although the chances are rare, it’s important to recognise these symptoms which could save someone’s life.
“Your jaw could hurt with cardiac arrest because the nerves that detect pain coming from the heart, travel to the same general area in your spinal cord as they share the same nerve pathway. These signals then work their way up to the brain. So, in essence your jaw is signalling pain on behalf of your heart.”
According to the NHS, temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is also a condition that affects the movement of the jaw. It’s not usually serious and generally gets better on its own.
Signs of TMD include:
- pain around your jaw, ear and temple
- clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move your jaw
- a headache around your temples
- difficulty opening your mouth fully
- your jaw locking when you open your mouth
2. Loose and wobbly teeth:
Advanced gum disease could be the cause behind loose teeth, or teeth that are falling out. Another cause could be early onset of osteoporosis – a disease that reduces bone density and weakens bones.
Dr Mahmood explains: “There have been studies showing links between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw which the teeth anchor into. This should be investigated further if you’re experiencing random tooth loss.”
According to the NHS, osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break (fracture).
3. Changes on the surface of the teeth:
Changes in tooth enamel and the surface of teeth might point towards an eating disorder, says Dr Mahmood. “If the teeth appear eroded and translucent, that can often be indicative of an eating disorder like bulimia or acid reflux.
“Stomach acid is abrasive and can steadily wear away at tooth enamel. Excessive vomiting can also prompt dry mouth, dry and cracked lips, loss of tooth enamel, swollen salivary glands and sensitive teeth,” he added.