While a beautiful smile is a goal for many, your teeth can actually be a real gateway into your overall health. The state of your teeth, tongue and gums can indicate both physical and emotional issues, often before you even realise it. Being more aware of you overall oral wellbeing will give you the knowledge you need to tackle the issue before it worsens.

Visiting your dentist is usually for dental issues, but while in the chair your dentist can often spot the possible evidence for a whole raft of other health issues which you should consult your doctor for.

How stress travels to your teeth

It’s commonly understood that stress causes you to tense your body – freeze, flight or fight mode. In a stressful life, we often live many hours of the day in this stressed state – to the extent that it becomes the norm. In fact, often we only realise how stressed we are when we finally relax and realise that we have forgotten how it feels!

That tensing in the body travels to your jaws and the clenching of your teeth. Many people suffer from bruxism – grinding of the teeth – during sleep. When this goes on for a prolonged period of time (and for some it can go on for years) it can cause severe damage to the gums and teeth.

Disturbed sleeping patterns

As well as grinding your teeth, indicative of excessive stress, if you sleep with your tongue pressed up against your teeth, this could be a further sign of a sleep disorder and anxiety. If the disorder persists, it will cause your teeth to develop a gap.

Other circumstances in which the tongue presses up against the teeth and creating a gap is when the individual has a number of allergies causing nasal congestion. This congestion forces the individual to breathe through their mouth, which means that their tongue rests excessively in a position which is not natural.

What unhealthy gums could be telling you

Apart from being unsightly and painful, unhealthy gums can also indicate other health issues. It can also be a sign of inflammation in the bones, and women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to lose teeth.

When an individual’s gums are affected by bacteria causing gingivitis and periodontitis, that same bacteria can also enter the blood vessels through the gums causing further inflammation in the vessels – including those vessels that lead to the heart.

Potential dementia

As well as harmful bacteria travelling to the heart and causing heart problems, there is also evidence that the gum disease bacteria of someone with Alzheimers has been found in the brain. It’s almost as though the mouth is a portal to the rest of the body.

The immune system

A weakened immune system manifest itself through the mouth and gums. Those suffering from immune problems, for example, HIV and Aids, are more prone to developing oral thrush and warts, blister, canker sores, and hairy leukoplakia. – a white patch on the side of the tongue which has an hairy appearance.


Anaemia is caused by a lack of red blood cells, which are crucial to carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. Outward signs include pale skin and brittle fingernails, but your mouth can also be a significant indicator of anaemia. Red blood cell deficiency will give you very light gums, almost white, and they will feel sore. Your tongue may also feel smooth and swollen.

A gateway to overall wellbeing

Today’s generation of dentists such as Sutton Dental and implant Clinic consider that dentistry is an important contribution to an individual’s overall health and wellbeing.