In a previous article, ‘Eight Medical Conditions that Impact Oral Health, Part I’, four common illnesses were discussed and it was explained why each was relevant to the care received by a dentist in Bastrop, Texas. In this article, four more examples will be discussed – anemia, leukemia, bulimia, and anorexia. All of these are very well known conditions, but a large percentage of the population does not realize the part they play in the mouth.
Anemia This is a condition that occurs then there is too little iron rich protein in the red blood cells of the body. This protein is known as hemoglobin and is responsible for giving blood its red color. More importantly, hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Too little of it means that oxygen is less likely to reach the essential organs of the body, including the heart. Ultimately, untreated anemia can lead to heart failure. It can also increase one’s risk of gum disease, a discoloration of the soft tissue in the mouth, and inflammation of the tongue (glossitis).
Leukemia In the previous article, cancer in its entirety was mentioned as a potential threat to oral health, but leukemia – a type of cancer of the blood cells – is particularly harmful to the mouth. In fact, leukemia is often first detected by the same man or woman who would fit you with dental bridges in Bastrop, Texas. Dentists are familiar with the signs of the form of cancer, which include a sudden occurrence of gingivitis. In conjunction with unexplained weight loss and an overall malaise, gingivitis can be a red flag. Then, of course, once the cancer treatments begin, the same aforementioned oral symptoms can arise.
Bulimia This eating disorder received a great deal of attention not long ago when the public began recognizing the importance of discussing the issue with potentially susceptible children. The binging and purging associated with bulimia is very hard on the mouth. Not only is the mouth taking in large amounts of potentially acidic foods during the binge, purging – or vomiting – brings the acid from the stomach into the mouth. When this occurs regularly, the acid begins to wear on the enamel, breaking it down and eventually eroding the teeth. In addition, the salivary glands will often slow production, leaving the mouth dry and with less defense against the effects of acid.
Anorexia Often discussed in conjunction with bulimia, anorexia is another eating disorder that occurs when a person denies him- or herself food. Depriving the body of nutrients, over time, a person can wear down his bone structure in a process called osteoporosis. The jawbone is often among those bones attacked in this irreversible condition, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Additionally, because anorexia and bulimia tend to go hand-in-hand, vomiting can take the same toll listed above.
This concludes the list of the eight medical conditions that commonly lead to problems in the mouth, but these are not the only illnesses that apply. Be sure to speak to your dentist, at length, about your medical history as well as any recent diagnoses.
Chad Byler, DDS, PA
201 Hunters Crossing Blvd. #16
Bastrop, Texas 78602
Braces | Flickr – Photo Sharing! : taken from – http://www.flickr.com/photos/monicaygarza/6955061730/Author: monica y garza http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en