How can problems in my mouth be linked to other parts of my body?

The health of your mouth can be a sign of your body's health. Mouth problems are not just cavities, toothaches, and crooked or stained teeth. Many diseases, such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, and some eating disorders, can cause oral health problems. For instance, people with diabetes can develop tooth and gum problems if their blood sugar stays high. Regular dental exams help you maintain good oral health and avoid related health problems.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.
The health of your mouth mirrors your body's overall health. Not only do various diseases cause noticeable changes in your mouth, but the medications you take for other health conditions can cause problems with oral health. Here are some links between your mouth and your body's health:
  • Bad breath can be the result of a respiratory, gastrointestinal, or other health problem.
  • Fruity breath can be caused by diabetes (a disorder that disrupts the way the body uses glucose).
  • Dry mouth can be caused by Parkinson's disease (a progressive neurodegenerative disease), Sjogren's syndrome (a chronic inflammatory disorder), as well as diabetes.
  • Burning mouth syndrome can be caused by using medicines for high blood pressure, called ACE inhibitors.
  • Burning mouth syndrome can also be the result of anxiety, depression, and emotional stress, as well as hormone changes.
  • Canker sores can be caused by allergies, celiac disease (an autoimmune disease of the small intestine), and Crohn's disease (an inflammatory bowel disease).
  • Thrush, the white fungus that coats the tongue, can be caused by a chronic disease like HIV or diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.