For a tiny gland, your thyroid has a big role in your health and overall well-being. When functioning properly, it produces the hormones we need to live and thrive. But when your thyroid isn’t doing its job, either by producing too much or too little of these essential hormones, multiple systems in your body can cease to work as they should, resulting in a wide range of significant health problems. This includes an elevated risk of oral health issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.
A Long List of Thyroid-Related Health Problems
Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from thyroid conditions. The most common is hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).
The list of problems that thyroid damage and irregularities can cause reads like a list of every possible health issue you could come up with, including:
- unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- hair loss
- skin problems
- depression and anxiety
- lower circulation
- diminished digestion leading to constipation
- dry or brittle hair and nails
- heart and lung problems
- fertility issues
How Thyroid Problems Affect Your Teeth and Gums
In addition to the foregoing issues, thyroid problems can wreak havoc with the health of your teeth and gums in numerous ways:
- Elevated risk of gum disease, heart disease, and stroke
A healthy thyroid is crucial to our body’s natural healing process. Weak or damaged gums are more susceptible to infection than strong and healthy ones, so those with thyroid conditions are more at risk for gum disease. In turn, gum disease allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream where it can elevate our risks of heart disease and stroke.
- Cavities and Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands stop producing a normal amount of saliva. Saliva helps to prevent cavities by dissolving the foods we eat and prevents stickier food particles, like starches, from clinging to tooth enamel. Saliva also helps to restore the structural strength of tooth enamel by delivering a continual source of minerals to each tooth in the mouth.
But thyroid problems can significantly reduce saliva production. This makes it easier for food particles to cling to the surfaces of the teeth and leads to the growth of oral bacteria and tooth decay. An inadequate amount of saliva also means that fewer minerals are delivered to the teeth, making it easier for cavities to develop in tooth enamel.
- Tooth Development Problems in Children
Children who experience thyroid problems can develop problems with their teeth and jaw as they grow and develop. Crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, irritated or enlarged gums, gums projecting between teeth, and a greater susceptibility to cavities have all been associated with thyroid problems in children.
If you have concerns about your thyroid, you should consult a physician to discuss your condition. But there are also many natural remedies that can improve thyroid health.
Assure A Smile: Miami Holistic Dentistry
At Assure A Smile, we partner with our patients to help them develop healthy, natural, and effective oral hygiene habits as part of an overall wellness strategy and holistic healthcare approach. To learn more about the importance of holistic healthcare and how to develop healthier habits for a better you, please contact us online or call us at 305-274-0047.