How Anemia Affects Oral Tissue
Anemia occurs when your body does not create a sufficient amount of red blood cells. Because these cells carry oxygen throughout your bloodstream, anemia can keep the body from getting the oxygen it needs. This can lead to various symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and cold hands and feet.
When it comes to your oral health, anemia can have an interesting impact on your mouth. Some of these symptoms include:
- Paleness. Anemia can cause your gums to be pale, which some have labeled "anemia gums." Instead of a typical, healthy pink, the gums take on a faded or whiter shade of their standard color. This paleness can also impact the tongue and mucous membranes inside your mouth.
- Glossitis. Anemia can also cause inflammation of the tongue, known as glossitis. In glossitis with anemia, the tongue is typically a beefy red color, appears smooth and swollen, and feels sore and tender.
Chronic anemia can also put you at risk for other oral health issues, such as gum disease or tooth decay. If you notice any changes in the appearance of your tongue, gums, or surrounding tissue, let your dentist know immediately. These types of changes could indicate systemic problems or serious illness.