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
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.