tel. (415) 513-5066


450 Sutter Street, Ste 1422

San Francisco, CA 94108

Book An Appointment

What Your Mouth Tells You About Your Health

by MinaLeviDDS on 2013/10/23 4:47 PM

Every now and then you can notice certain changes in your mouth such as tooth coloring, saliva under-production or cold sores. But did you know that changes in your mouth can indicate changes or diagnose issues in other parts of your body? Visiting Mina Levi DDS Dentist San Francisco on a regular basis is not only important in determining your oral health, but is also important for your overall health. Below we discuss some of the noticeable indicators you can find in your mouth and what they might mean.


Gum Disease and Bleeding Gums1. Bleeding Gums. You may notice that your gums are bleeding easily when you eat, floss, or brush your teeth. Bleeding gums can be due to certain medications such as anti-epilepsy drugs, medications for high blood pressure and also birth control. Bleeding gums can be caused by pregnancy and the changing hormones in the body, and can also be an indicator of gum disease. Gum disease can be prevented against as it is one of the leading causes for loss of teeth. When treatment is implemented at the earliest possible stage, the symptoms can be managed; however, advanced cases may require invasive procedure to correct periodontal problems.


Stained Teeth2. Permanently Stained Teeth. Normally, teeth are a white or off-white color, and discoloration of the teeth is usually staining. Staining can be due to a dead tooth which could have been caused by a previous trauma but show no other symptoms, and may need a root canal in the future. Tetracycline antibiotics may also cause tooth discoloration. Stains are also caused by drinking red wine, black coffee and black tea.




Vitamin B-12 DeficiencyCorner Mouth Sore3. Mouth Sores. Mouth sores found in the corners of the mouth can be indicators of poor-fitting dentures, fungal infections common in people with immunosuppressant health issues such as AIDS or cancer, or may be indicators of an iron, folic acid, or vitamin B-12 deficiency. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause a flat and shiny looking tongue as well. Mouth sores found in other generalized areas of the mouth can be stress or hormone related or can be caused by a viral infection such as herpes simplex virus, which sleeps in the neurons in the spinal cord and emerges when the immune system is down.


4. Bad Breath. Bad breath can be caused by simply not brushing the tongue, and the plaque sits on top of the tongue and emits a foul odor. However, bad breath can also be an indicator of more serious problems such as liver disease, diabetes, or stomach problems such as acid reflux disease. In the case of liver disease, the breath usually smells meat-like and with diabetes, the breath smells sweeter or more acidic.


5. Dry Mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs or allergy medications. Dry mouth can also be caused by saliva gland diseases and cancer.


LeukoplakiaLichen PlanusBruxism Due to Clenching and Grinding 

 6. White Covering on Cheeks. White covering on cheeks when it looks web-like can be an indication of Leukoplakia. White covering on the cheeks that looks linear can be an indication of clenching and grinding the teeth at night, and is also very common in tobacco users. Lichen Planus also appears similarly to white film on the inside of the cheeks and is caused by immunodeficiency diseases.


Worn Down Teeth Due to BulimiaBroken Tooth Due to Metal Filling Expansion7. Worn Out Teeth or Fracture Lines. Worn out teeth or fracture lines can be an indication of clenching and grinding of the teeth at night, TMJ, old amalgam/metal fillings as they expand over time or sleeping disorders, and can also be caused by high stress. Metal fillings like this should be replaced by composite (tooth colored) or porcelain fillings. These issues may also cause pain in the jaw joint or near the molars. A custom made night guard can help with these issues and prevent future fracturing of the teeth. Eating disorders such as bulimia, in which a person intentionally vomits, can also cause worn down teeth. Never wait until you have a toothache before making the decision to see the dentist.


Metal Fillings

 8. Metallic Taste in Mouth. A metallic taste in the mouth can be caused by certain medications and can also be caused by a zinc deficiency, which is very common in vegetarians. This taste can also be coming from metal/mercury fillings in the mouth which should be removed and replaced with composite (tooth colored) or porcelain fillings.


Hair Tongue

 9. Hairy Tongue. Hairy Tongue is when the surface of the tongue turns a brown or black color, giving it a dark and hairy appearance. This can be caused by smoking, dry mouth conditions, taking certain medications, immunodeficiency diseases such as AIDS, and poor diet.




Topics: Gum Disease, Dentist San Francisco, Metal Free Dentist, Periodontitis, Teeth Whitening, Teeth Stains,, Bad Breath, Clenching and Grinding, CAD/CAM fillings,


Other Blog Posts