This is the third of a four-part series on “Your Mouth, Your Health” from WebMD.
Bleeding gums can be a sign of mouth bacteria that may endanger other parts of the body. Find out which health conditions are related to gum disease and mouth problems:
The brittle bone disease osteoporosis affects all the bones in your body — including your jaw bone — and can cause tooth loss. Bacteria from periodontitis, which is severe gum disease, can also break down the jaw bone. One kind of osteoporosis medication — bisphosphonates — may slightly increase the risk of a rare condition called osteonecrosis, which causes bone death of the jaw. Tell your dentist if you take bisphosphonates.
Your mouth may be sore and pale if you’re anemic, and your tongue can become swollen and smooth (glossitis). When you have anemia, your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells, or your red blood cells don’t contain enough hemoglobin. As a result, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen. There are different types of anemia, and treatment varies. Talk to your doctor to find out what type you have and how to treat it.
A dentist may be the first to notice signs of an eating disorder such as bulimia. The stomach acid from repeated vomiting can severely erode tooth enamel. Purging can also trigger swelling in the mouth, throat, and salivary glands as well as bad breath. Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders can also cause serious nutritional shortfalls that can affect the health of your teeth.