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Anaemia and Oral Health

Anaemia and Oral Health

Anaemia is a blood disorder characterised by a low red blood cell count and a lack of haemoglobin in the red blood cells. An iron-rich protein that gives blood its red colour, haemoglobin helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. With anaemia, your body may fail to get an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, leading to weakness, fatigue, and even heart failure in very serious cases.

The Oral Effects of Anaemia

Anaemia can have a variety of effects on your mouth. These include:

  • Paleness in the gums and mouth due to the decreased number of red blood cells
  • Pain, redness or swelling of the tongue (also called glossitis)
  • An increased risk of gum disease (periodontitis)
  • Oral infections
  • Sores in the mouth

If you notice any of these oral symptoms, you may need to consult a doctor. Other symptoms include:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Heart-related symptoms such as arrhythmia, chest pain and shortness of breath
  • Pica – A desire to eat things like dirt, clay, ice or starch

Anaemia – The Facts

The world’s most common blood disorder, anaemia can affect women and men of any age, but some may be at greater risk than others. These people include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Infants and children (anaemia effects around 1 in 7 children by age 2)
  • Teenagers (particularly teenage girls) due to sudden growth spurts
  • People who frequently donate blood
  • People with poor diets

Anaemia can also be caused by genetic and environmental factors such as:

  • Excess blood loss  due to heavy menstruation, child birth, ulcers, injury or surgery
  • Chronic diseases such as kidney disease
  • A diet lacking in iron, folate or vitamin B12
  • An inability to absorb iron due to certain disorders (like celiac disease) or surgeries (like gastric bypass)

If you notice any of the above oral symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor and arrange for a check-up with a dentist at East Bentleigh Dental Group. We can assess any changes in the appearance of your tongue, gums and surrounding tissues to see if any action is necessary.

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