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Changes in Tooth Surfaces and Enamel

Erosion and translucent tooth enamel are often signs of an eating disorder or acid reflux problem. Excessive vomiting, such as seen with bulimia, can lead to other oral health issues such as:

 

  • Dry mouth
  • Dry and cracked lips
  • Loss of tooth enamel
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Swollen salivary glands

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Bad breath can result from a dry mouth or the foods and drinks you consume. But gum disease and gingivitis can also contribute to the annoying recurrence of bad breath.

Beyond your teeth and gums, bad breath that persists can result from certain underlying health problems that require immediate medical attention. These conditions include:

  • Sinus infections
  • Chronic lung infection
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Diabetes

Mouth Sores, Patches, or Lumps

Sores and unusual patches in your mouth can be a sign of something benign like a white or yellowish canker sore. But without seeing a dentist there's no way to be sure. Have your dentist check out any new lesions, patches, or lumps right away. These can be the result of an oral fungal infection or something more serious.

Oral cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the Unites States. It often starts as a small white or red spot or sore in the mouth and occurs most often in smokers or people who use any other forms of tobacco or alcohol. Signs that you may have oral cancer include:

  • Bleeding sores that don't easily heal
  • Hard spots or rough areas
  • Discolored tissue
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together
  • Numbness
  • Lumps or irregular tissue in the mouth, cheeks, neck, or head

Oral cancer is not something you should try to diagnose at home. If you see any of these signs in your mouth, be sure to see your dentist, who can refer you to the appropriate specialists for care, if needed.

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