If you develop a fever, you may experience chills, sweating, shivering, fatigue, and loss of appetite. While these are the most common symptoms of an elevated temperature, other symptoms, such as those that affect your mouth, may also develop. Here are three ways a fever can affect your mouth and what you can do about them:
Fevers can cause dehydration. When you are dehydrated, you may become pale, have sunken eyes, itchy skin, and dark-colored urine. In addition, dehydration can cause dry, sticky mucus membranes, and a dry mouth.
Adequate salivary flow is needed to wash away infection-causing oral bacteria. If dehydration causes your salivary glands to stop producing enough saliva, microorganisms may build up inside your mouth, raising your risk for cavities, gingivitis, and fungal infections.
If you have a fever, drink plenty of water throughout the day to help keep your mouth hydrated and to wash away oral bacteria. While water is beneficial in reversing oral dehydration, beverages that contain caffeine will further dry out your mouth. If your fever fails to resolve, see your physician for further evaluation and treatment. In the meantime, make an appointment with your dentist, who can recommend a special mouthwash to help restore moisture to your oral tissues.
A fever can also cause staining or white spots to develop on your teeth. Fever-related white spots are usually caused by dental demineralization. While superficial dental stains can be eliminated through professional laser whitening techniques, those caused by an elevated temperature cannot. Your dentist can recommend a toothpaste that can help remineralize the affected teeth, however, if this proves ineffective, other treatment options are available.
These treatment options include bonding procedures, resin crowns, and porcelain veneers. These cosmetic options do not get rid of the white spots. They will only cover them up so that they are no longer visible, however, they typically produce a very favorable cosmetic result. While fever-related white spots are more common in children, adults can be affected as well.
Fevers, especially those that are caused by an infection, can cause a decrease in the number of thrombocytes in your blood. Thrombocytes play an important role in proper blood clotting, and when the number of thrombocytes gets too low, you may experience prolonged or abnormal bleeding.
This condition is known as thrombocytopenia, and while it usually resolves once your infection has been cleared from your body, it may take weeks or months. Thrombocytopenia can cause excessive bruising, the appearance of red pinpoint dots on your skin, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums.
If you have an infection and notice that your gums are bleeding excessively when you brush or floss, make an appointment with your dentist and physician. Your dental professional will monitor the condition of your gum tissue, and your physician will order a routine blood test known as a complete blood count (CBC) to evaluate the clotting mechanisms of your blood.
After the results from your blood tests are reviewed by your doctor, he or she will recommend an effective treatment option to restore your health. If your gums bleed profusely during routine oral care, avoid overzealous brushing and flossing, as this can further damage sensitive gum tissue. Bleeding gums related to low thrombocytes or platelets can also become swollen and sore, so make sure you visit your dentist on a regular basis.
If you develop a fever and notice any of the above problems, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. When oral problems are recognized and treated promptly, you are less likely to experience complications such as excessive bleeding, oral infections, and dental staining and discoloration.