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Dental health has been shown to be directly related to a person’s general overall health.  Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body so it makes sense that what happens in the mouth (teeth and gums) can have a profound impact on the rest of your body.  Scientific research also shows the reverse, the breakdown and disease processes of the body can directly affect your dental health.

1.  Stress

Oral Symptoms: Headaches with flat, worn down teeth.

Stress is one those things that people underestimate. It takes a tremendous toll on the body and mind. Teeth grinding and clenching during sleep is a classic sign of emotional or psychological stress factors. People who grind or clench their teeth tend to be quite surprised to find out they are doing it. After all, this activity generally occurs in their sleep, when they’re not aware of it, unless a partner hears the noise and tells them.

Patients can sometimes see the flatness of their own teeth, or even feel it with their tongue. They may notice their jaw feeling sore and achy upon waking. Headaches, which are caused by spasms in the muscles during and after clenching or grinding. Often the pain can radiate from the the teeth and TMJ and head down to the neck and upper back. Night guards can relieve the symptoms and protect the teeth from the harmful effects of grinding and clenching.

2. Diabetes or Sjogren’s Syndrome

Oral Symptoms: Dry Mouth or Xerostomia

Dry mouth can be casued by a variety of things. These can include dehydration and taking a new medication.Hundreds of drugs list dry mouth as a side effect. These include medications commonly prescribed such as muscle relaxants, antianxiety medications, and antihistamines. A lack of saliva in the mouth can also be an early warning sign of two different autoimmune diseases. These diseases are Diabetes and Sjogren’s sundrome.

Sjogrens syndrome is largely unknown. It is when the white blood cells of the body attack the salivary glands. This affects many, approximately 4 million Americans suffer with Sjogrens. It is much more prevalent in women, 90% of those diagnosed are female. In Sjogren’s, the eyes are dry as well as the mouth, but the entire body is affected by the disorder. Sjogren’s symptoms often appear like other diseases and often goes misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

Diabetes affects about 24 million people in the United States alone. It affects both men and women. It is a metabolic disorder caused by the bodies inability to process blood sugars properly. Other symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, dry mouth, tingling in the hands and feet, frequent need to urinate, blurry vision, and loss of weight.

3. Lichen planus

Oral Symptoms: White webbing inside cheeks.

Many people would never imagine they can discover a skin disease through an oral examination but you can. Lichen planus is a mild disorder that affects both men and women in the age range of 30-70. The cause is unknown. It affects the mucus membranes in the mouth.

Oral lichen planus  appears as a whitish, lacy pattern on the insides of the cheeks. About 70% appear in the oral cavity before they show up in other parts of the body.

The vagina is another common area where lichen planus can also appear. Lichen planus often goes away on its own, but sometimes further treatment is needed.

4. Oral Cancer

Oral Symptoms: Sores that just will not go away in mouth.

Marielaina Perrone DDS VelscopeMany people bite the insides of their mouth as a nervous habit. Sometimes people bite their cheek accidentally, creating a wound or sore. But when an open sore in the mouth does not go away on its own within a week or two, it needs to be shown to a dentist or doctor.

More than 20,000 men and 10,000 women a year are diagnosed with oral cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Most are over the age of 60. Oral cancer has a survival rate of only about 35 percent. This is mainly due to late detection. Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer, but one in four oral cancers develop in non-smokers.

Suspicious oral sores or ulcers tend to be raised sores and often have red or white borders. They may hide under the tongue, where they’re hard to see. Bleeding and numbness are other signs, but sometimes the only sign is a sore that doesn’t seem to go away. A biopsy usually follows a visual check. At each dental visit you can increase your chances for early detection by seeing a dentist that uses a Velscope oral cancer screening system. This tool is effective in detecting precancerous changes in the mouth. Earlier detection means better chance for survival and cure.

5.  Aspiration pneumonia

Oral Symptoms: Crusting Dentures

Connecting pneumonia and dentures may seem like a real stretch but they have a deadly connection. A leading cause of senior deaths is from aspiration pneumonia. This is caused by inhaling debris from around teeth and dentures.

In aspiration pneumonia, foreign material is breathed into the lungs and airway, causing dangerous inflammation. This often occurs in those who fail to clean their dentures properly. Dentures need to be removed every day from the mouth. They should be properly cleaned daily with a brush and stored in a cleansing solution.

6. Angular chelitis and Candidiasis

Oral Symptoms: Mouth Irritation

Itching, burning, chronic irritation found at the corners of the mouth and inside the mouth and throat. The irritation in the mouth tends to be bright red with or without a white, creamy, layer. The corners of the mouth tend to crack and bleed easily. Both of these are caused by the same culprit, yeast. Chronic yeast infections tend to be a sign of immune system issues, extremely dry mouth, and/or  a collapsed bite.

Conclusion

The above six issues are just a sampling of the many symptoms that can be seen in the mouth. While you care for your dental health, you should be doing a routine thorough self examination for changes. You should know what the normal appearance of your mouth is, so that when something changes, you can have it checked early. Know your body, and find an experienced dentist who you feel comfortable with, so that all of your questions can be answered satisfactorily. Regular dental visits are usually key to early diagnosis for any of the diseases listed in this article..



Angular Chelitis – is inflammation of one, or more commonly both, of the corners of the mouth. The inflammation is caused by yeast development in the area. The condition may show itself as deep cracks or splits in the lips, and the inflamed area may extend onto the skin of the face. In severe cases, the splits can bleed when the mouth is opened and shallow ulcers or a crust may form. It is a fungal disease, which is difficult to treat long term, and commonly recurs.

Angular chelitis has long been a curious disorder to treat. It is difficult to know the cause of the angular chelitis from individual to individual. The usual culprits include poor diet and nutrition (specifically Zinc or Vitamin B2 deficiencies) and certain medications. Angular chelitis can also be caused by the loss of vertical dimension of the teeth. Vertical dimension refers to the height of our teeth, which over time becomes less and less as our teeth wear or our dentures break down. This in combination with the aging process can lead to loose flabby skin at the corners of the mouth. These folds cause a warm, moist, dark environment in which, yeast flourishes.

Solutions For Angular Chelitis

There have been many home remedies tried in treating angular chelitis. These include vitamin regimens, tea tree oils, fish oil, and even a combination of grapefruit and vodka. None of these angular chelitis treatments work. The best approach is to eliminate the source of the issue. Dentists have long known that the loss in vertical dimension coupled with the flabby skin at the sides of the mouth are the triggers in most cases of angular chelitis. Angular Chelitis treatments include:

-Topical Antibiotic/Antifungal Treatment – monostat topical cream is a very effective solution. It needs to be applied externally only, and throughout the day for 2-3 weeks. In many cases this is a temporary solution at best as the root cause of the problem, the mouth folds in the corners, has not been solved. As the patient loses more tooth height, the folds of skin will increase in depth causing the angular chelitis to become harder and harder to treat.

-Increase Vertical Dimension – Once the yeast has been treated and eliminated, the only way to keep it from returning is to address the corner folds. This can be done in a variety of ways but the goal is to open the bite, or increase tooth height, to remove or lessen the presence of the folds around  the mouth. This can be achieved through the fabrication of a new denture (for denture wearers) or through the use of crowns to modify the bite.

-Use of Dermal Fillers – Luckily, we have a third option which many prefer. It includes the use of dermal fillers (such as Restylane and Juvederm) to replace lost volume in the tissues of the lower face. These dermal fillers are generally used in combination with Botox to relax the muscles and subsequently smooth out the wrinkles surrounding the mouth.

Angular Chelitis Conclusion

Angular chelitis can be a long term problem if not treated correctly. It can become quite uncomfortable and unsightly. Some may only be able to utilize the topical antifungal treatment, while others may be able to remove the problem permanently by increasing dental height with the aforementioned dental treatments. Fortunately, we have options at our disposal to treat this condition. You no longer need to be frustrated or embarrassed by this infection. See your dentist to see which treatment is best for you!