People with anemia don't have as many red blood cells as they should. Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body, so without enough of them, your tissues may not get the oxygen they need to heal themselves and fight off infections. This can lead to problems throughout your body, including in your oral cavity. Here are three ways that anemia affects your oral health.
Canker sores are painful ulcers that form on the soft tissues inside your mouth, like the insides of your cheeks or your tongue. These sores usually last for between five and 14 days, but in people with anemia, they persist or recur frequently.
Your dentist can give you medications to help alleviate your discomfort. You may be given a medicated cream to apply to your sores or a medicated mouthwash to rinse your mouth with. If the pain is very severe, you may be given a prescription for oral painkillers.
Anemia has been linked to periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease. Red, painful, and bleeding gums may be signs that you have periodontitis. This infection attacks not only your gums but the tissues that support your teeth such as the ligaments and bones. Untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, so it needs to be taken seriously.
Your dentist can treat periodontitis by thoroughly cleaning your teeth and gums. You may also need a prescription for antibiotics to kill the bacteria that are attacking your tissues. Once the condition has cleared up, you'll need to vigilant about brushing and flossing your teeth to keep bacteria inside your mouth under control and prevent a recurrence.
Candidiasis, also called oral thrush, is a fungal infection that affects the mouth. This infection is seen in about 25% of people with anemia. If you have it, you'll notice lesions that look like cottage cheese on your oral tissues; these lesions will be sore and may bleed if you rub them.
If your dentist diagnoses you with candidiasis, you'll be treated with antifungal medications. Antifungal medications can be given in many forms, including pills and mouthwashes. Your dentist will choose the most appropriate delivery method for your situation.
If you have anemia, you need to pay close attention to your mouth since you are at risk of many oral health complications. If you notice any changes inside your mouth, like painful ulcers, sore gums, or white lesions, you need to see your dentist immediately for treatment.
For more information, contact Washington Township Dental Associates or a similar organization.