What Your Mouth Says About Your Health

Portland dental care

Want to lower your risk of heart disease? Then take a look at the health of your teeth, and get ready to receive some Portland dental care if you don’t like what you see.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that individuals who brushed with toothpaste designed to fight plaque and who practiced quality oral hygiene daily, lowered their risk of developing the type of inflammation that triggers heart attacks. Researchers involved in the study found that continuing the habit of brushing with anti-plaque toothpaste could lead to a decreased risk of future heart attacks as well.

While this is certainly good news, heart disease isn’t the only chronic disease linked to poor oral health. Numerous studies have shown that a clear link exists between our oral health and our overall health. Everything from diabetes to digestive issues have been linked to the state of our oral health. This makes the mouth a wonderful barometer for determining our health if we know how to read the signs.

Here are a few ways you can tell what your mouth is trying to say.


Bleeding gums are a pretty clear indication of a deeper issue, as research has found a direct correlation between gum disease and diabetes. Bleeding gums can also indicate the presence of an autoimmune disease such as arthritis or lupus.

By far, however, gums that bleed easily after brushing or flossing show a clear indication of gum disease. When plaque, a sticky biofilm, is allowed to remain on the surface of your teeth and along the gum line, the bacteria can cause inflammation to develop in your gum tissue. This inflammation causes your gums to swell, bleed, and become tender to the touch.

Gum disease can cause serious lasting damage to your oral and overall health, especially if the disease is allowed to progress into periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease and the leading cause of adult tooth loss.


The number of permanent teeth you have remaining may actually tell how long you have to live.

One study found that individuals with over 20 teeth in their mouth live longer when compared to those with less than 20 teeth. Furthermore, the study also found that individuals who have all of their permanent teeth have a better chance of living to 100 when compared to those who have lost teeth over the years.

While this connection may seem odd, researchers explain that the number of permanent teeth an adult has can reflect his or her socioeconomic status, which impacts access to life-extending health care.

Additionally, patients with fewer teeth are more likely to suffer from dental decay and gum disease. Studies have shown that individuals suffering from these types of oral health conditions have a significantly higher risk of developing a range of chronic health conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, all of which shorten lifespans.


Frequent bouts of dry mouth can be symptomatic of the autoimmune disease Sjögren’s Syndrome, or an imbalance of hormones such as a decline in estrogen during menopause.

Saliva acts as your body’s natural defense against harmful bacteria that thrives in the mouth. When saliva levels drop below normal, bacteria and food particles are no longer washed away from the surface of your teeth after meals as normal. This allows these substances to remain in the mouth longer, leading to potential damage to your oral health from decay and oral disease.


Over 60 percent of the population has the herpes virus, a disease that can manifest symptoms such as oral sores on the lips. The sores could be brought on by stress or by a vitamin deficiency. If the sores repeatedly return even after the use of an over-the-counter cream, you may need to visit a doctor to receive more advanced care.


If your breath consistently smells foul, the most likely cause is poor brushing habits. However, chronic bad breath can also be a sign of digestive issues such as GERD.

When stomach acid travels back up through the esophagus and into the mouth, the acidity of your mouth becomes unbalanced. A healthy mouth requires a balanced pH level that can cause problems when too acidic. In addition to bad breath, higher oral acidity can lead to a weakening of your tooth enamel, which places you at a higher risk of suffering from dental decay and gum disease, and in need of more Portland dental care.