Health clues: in­side your mouth

Open wide for a glimpse into how your body is per­form­ing. Sarah Mari­nos ex­plains how oral health can impact your well­be­ing

Good Health (Australia) - - Contents -

Your oral health can impact over­all well­be­ing. Sarah Mari­nos takes a peek.

There’s more to your oral health than cav­i­ties and toothache. Your mouth can be a sign of health prob­lems, from gum dis­ease and heart dis­ease to di­a­betes and vi­ta­min B de­fi­ciency.

“There has been an idea that your mouth is sep­a­rate to the rest of the body and that oral health is just about teeth,” says Dr Rachel Gar­raway, pres­i­dent of the Aus­tralian & New Zealand Academy of Pe­ri­odon­tists. “But con­di­tions that af­fect your gen­eral health can af­fect your oral health and vice versa.”


Morn­ing breath hap­pens when your mouth gets dry overnight, but if bad breath – like rot­ten eggs – lingers for more than a week or two, it’s a sign of gum dis­ease. “The odour is caused by sul­phur com­pounds re­leased by bac­te­ria in the mouth,” ex­plains Gar­raway.

About two per cent of peo­ple have hal­i­to­sis – chronic bad breath – and this can also be due to smok­ing and some blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tions, an­tide­pres­sants and an­ti­his­tamines. Per­sis­tent bad breath can also be due to si­nusi­tis where nasal dis­charge pools in the throat. Drink plenty of wa­ter and ask your GP about med­i­ca­tion to get rid of the bac­te­ria.

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