If your blood tests reveal abnormally low hemoglobin, hematocrit, or iron levels, you may have anemia. This condition can lead to dizziness, weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Though these are the most common symptoms, you may notice anemia-related problems with your gums and teeth as well. Not only can anemia have a detrimental effect on your natural teeth, it can also harm your restorations such as veneers, crowns, and dental implants. Here are three ways anemia can affect your mouth and what you can do about them:
1. Pale Gums
Paleness is another one of the most common symptoms of anemia, and while most people notice pallor on their faces, it can also show up on the gums. If your gums lose their pinkness, have a grey tint, or are turning white, see both your dentist and physician for further evaluation and treatment.
Eating more iron-rich foods may help restore natural color to your gums, as may increasing your vitamin C intake. Not only does vitamin C help strengthen your gums, it can also help improve iron absorption.
2. Bleeding Gums
Anemia can also raise your risk for bleeding gums because low levels of red blood cells may cause capillary damage. While a little bleeding during brushing and flossing is common, extreme or prolonged gingival bleeding may indicate anemia or a problem with the clotting mechanisms of your blood.
If you notice abnormal gum bleeding, see your physician, who will order a simple test known as a complete blood count, or CBC. If your results are abnormal, your doctor may recommend that you take iron supplements, eat more citrus fruit and green leafy vegetables, and limit your use of aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications.
3. Acid Erosion
While having a low hemoglobin or low levels of iron may not directly lead to acid erosion, treatment to reverse anemia may. Iron and vitamin C supplements can raise your risk for acid reflux disease. This condition causes stomach acid to rise into your esophagus and sometimes into your mouth.
If irritating stomach acid makes contact with your teeth, erosion of your dental enamel may occur. This can raise your risk for cavities and gum disease, so it is important that you maintain a meticulous routine of brushing and flossing.
Avoiding triggers such as coffee, chocolate, spicy foods, and cigarette smoking may help relieve your acid reflux symptoms so that you are more comfortable during your anemia treatment.
If you feel extremely tired, can't catch your breath, feel dizzy or faint, or look pale, see your physician and dentist, such as Treman & Treman Family Dental Care. Your dentist will monitor and treat your oral conditions, while your physician will manage your anemia.