Like other areas of the body, your mouth teems with bacteria — mostly harmless.
But your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause disease.
The mouth can be a key indicator for your overall health, especially if it’s showing signs of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems.
It can also show signs of other disease, whether you’re missing certain foods from your diet and unhealthy habits such as using tobacco and tobacco-like products and alcohol.
Leading London dentist Richard Marques spoke exclusively with the Mirror to discuss how your mouth could indicate serious underling health conditions.
“Sometimes the mouth is described as a mirror of your underlying health,” said Richard.
“This includes the soft tissues, tongue and gums.”
When it comes to different conditions the mouth could be pre-warning us about, Richard answered: “Gums can have inflammation which indicates being run down or gingivitis/periodontitis.
“The tongue can have changes in colour and pattern, which can indicate vitamin or dietary deficiencies.
“Soft tissues can have lumps or bumps, which can indicate allergies or inflammation.
“The most concerning things can be pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions of the mouth (oral cancer).”
Gum disease linked to heart health
“Gum disease and heart conditions are intrinsically linked,” added Richard.
“This has been shown through multiple high-profile and well-researched scientific, dental and medical journal studies.
“This is because the gums are an entry for harmful bacteria through the bloodstream, which can be transmitted to the heart.
“Good gum health is important for good heart health.”
It is imperative to see a dentist as they can monitor your gums, tongue and soft tissues, as well as your teeth.
“They can also treat or refer to hygienist or periodontal (gum) specialist for treatment,” the expert continued.
“It is also important to have tongue and soft tissues checked, which can help find any underlying dietary or medical deficiencies.
“Soft tissues should also be monitored to find pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions early.”
Best way to clean your teeth
To keep your mouth in tip-top condition, Richard advises: “Thorough brushing of teeth and gums ideally with electric toothbrush.
“Interdental cleaning with floss or interdental brushes or even a water flosser.
“Monitor your diet. Eat well, drink lots of water and try for a low-sugar, balanced diet.
“High refined sugar is one of the main causes of dental and gum problems.”
He added to also look for signs of gum bleeding or tooth pain as “an indicator of your overall health and seek treatment for your best overall well-being.”
Dr Richard Marques BDS graduated with distinction from Guy’s, Kings and St Thomas Institute of Dentistry. Since then, he has attended numerous courses and treated many highly-complex dental cases successfully.
In 2006 he completed the Bicon implant course in South Africa. He has special interests in complex restorative, aesthetic and implant dentistry. He also treats gum problems and periodontal disease.