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The mouth as a window on the body

Lewis, Michael Alexander Oxenham 2009. The mouth as a window on the body. Journal of Dentistry 37 (8) , S571-S573. 10.1016/j.jdent.2009.05.017

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Historically, examination of the dorsum of the tongue has been considered a routine element of a medical assessment to provide a general indication of possible iron deficiency or pernicious anaemia. It is becoming increasing apparent, however, that the spectrum of changes within the mouth that reflect the presence of underlying illness is far greater than just an erythematous appearance of the tongue. In addition, in recent years attention has been given to the relationship between the dental health, the oral microflora and systemic disease. The mouth contains an extensive and diverse microbial community, involving more than 500 bacterial species. It is not surprising therefore, that microbial factors and inflammatory products within the periodontal tissues have an influence on systems at other body sites. The range of physical changes that may be observed in the mouth is relatively small, consisting of ulceration, blistering, white patches, erythema, swelling, pigmentation and lack of saliva. Whilst pain in the orofacial tissues is usually inflammatory and of localized dental origin, occasions do occur when pain may reflect the presence of a systemic condition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0300-5712
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:02

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