Want to keep tabs on your health? Open your mouth! Research has linked mouth issues to problems in the heart, pancreas, stomach, and sinuses. So, here’s what your mouth is trying to tell you. We got this from several dentists interviewed by MSN Health & Fitness:
- Dragon breath. Most bad breath doesn’t start in the mouth. It often comes from sinuses inflamed by allergies or chronic infection. Why? Because a stuffed-up nose forces you to breathe through your mouth, which dries up bacteria-killing saliva. Post-nasal drip creates slime on the back of your tongue - the perfect breeding ground for stinky germs. The fix: Gargle for 30 seconds with mouthwash before bed, rather than in the morning. Since your mouth produces less saliva at night, the bacteria’s not being washed away regularly. The longer it’s there, the more sulfurous stink bombs are created. You may also need to book an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor.
- Bleeding gums. It means you’ve got gingivitis. Basically, plaque forms on your teeth after you eat and when that bacteria-laden film hardens, your gums become infected and bleeding gums have been linked to tooth loss, heart disease, and a 63% increase in the risk for pancreatic cancer. The fix: avoid sugar, which increases plaque production. Or eat walnuts, which are high in amino acids, and lower your risk of pancreatic cancer by nearly 70%.
- Got sensitive teeth? It could mean acid reflux! Stomach acid dissolves tooth enamel, increasing sensitivity. In fact, people with acid reflux are 3 times more likely to have tooth erosion. Chronic heartburn can also lead to esophageal cancer. So, avoid sodas! Why? Carbonation expands your stomach, worsening heartburn by opening the valve that traps stomach acid in your gut. Instead, drink water, and chew sugarless gum to increase saliva production, which contains enamel-repairing compounds.