Illnesses That Will Seriously Affect Oral Health

A clean and healthy mouth is a major indicator of the state in which the rest of the body is. Oftentimes if someone is suffering from a serious disease then the mouth will experience negative side effects. It can even be the first signal that something is not right.

Below are five such illnesses and the ways they can wreak havoc on one’s oral health. If one of these sounds familiar and affects your personally, then it is time to visit your closest Birmingham dentist.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a digestive condition in which acid from the stomach regurgitates back up into the esophagus or throat. It causes burning pain in the chest. Certain foods, such as citrus, coffee, and spicy dishes will prompt this to occur more frequently. When this happens it is possible for stomach acid to come into contact with one’s teeth. In turn, this damages enamel on the surface and can even penetrate the layer below that, called “dentin.”


Anorexia is a condition in which people are so fearful and anxious about gaining weight that they starve themselves. They do this to the point of nutrient deprivation. As a result, they are incapable of maintaining a normal body weight. Depending how severe an individual’s case, osteoporosis can develop, which in turn weakens the bones in the jaw that support one’s teeth. This can inevitably lead to tooth loss.


Bulimia is a disorder in which people routinely binge eat mass amounts of food and then purge themselves of it via the use of laxatives, vomiting or over-exercising. This behavior, known as “purging,” can occur multiple times in a day, and ultimately several times over the course of a week. Acid from the stomach contaminates the mouth when throwing up and can erode tooth enamel. Teeth are then also subject to hypersensitivity, and in extreme cases may fall out.


Diabetes is a disease in which one’s blood glucose levels (also known as blood sugar) are too high. This is because the body is unable to produce insulin, which is a hormone that helps transfer glucose into the cells to give them energy. Research has shown that people with diabetes are at greater risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay, That is because glucose levels in saliva are often high, which can lead to plaque build up. Gum disease, in its worst cases, could result in teeth loss.


The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The virus passes from person to person via blood contact, an infected needle, or via sexual contact. The oral health complications resulting from it are some of the most intense. The reason is that the body’s immune system becomes extremely weak and unable to fight infection. Oral warts, canker sores, hairy leukoplakia (white patches on the tongue), fever blisters, oral candidiasis (mouth infection from Candida) are a number of side effects.

Oral cancer

Cancer occurs when cells grow at an uncontrollable rate and damage the tissue surrounding them. Oral cancer manifests itself as a sore or growth in the mouth that will not disappear on the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, throat, the mouth’s floor (under the tongue), and/or the mouth’s roof. Excessive alcohol and tobacco use increase the risk for oral cancer, and it is more prevalent among men and those aged forty and above. Treatment for this type of cancer can lead to sores in the mouth, tooth decay, and other kinds of infections.

One of the more frequent issues that people encounter, as it pertains to oral health, is cavities on the teeth from a combination of consuming too many sweets and not brushing. They are easily preventable, and the solution is a quick trip to the local Birmingham dentist office.

There are, however, many serious complications that can arise in the mouth that are side effects of life altering illnesses from which many people suffer. Acid reflux, eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, diabetes, HIV/AIDs, and oral cancer are just a few of these illnesses. Mouth sores, tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss are just a few of the side effects. In order to maintain good overall health, it is best practice to take care of one’s teeth and remain educated on what behaviors can negatively impact them.