Assess Your Oral Health

Visit the Delta Dental Risk Assessment Tool to examine common risk indicators and provide custom feedback to help you maintain a healthy smile.

Connect With Us

Print this Page Send to a Friend

The Oral Effects of Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which your red blood cell count is lower than normal. Anemia also occurs when your red blood cells don’t contain enough of the iron-rich protein hemoglobin, which gives blood its red hue. Hemoglobin helps red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body.

If you have anemia, your body may not get an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood.This can result in problems as serious as heart failure. It can also affect your mouth. Here is a look at some of the oral effects anemia may have:

  • An increased risk for periodontitis, or gum disease

  • Abnormally pale tissue in your mouth due to a decreased number of red blood cells

  • Inflammation of the tongue, called glossitis. The tongue may appear swollen, smooth, and pale, and it may feel sore and tender.

Be sure to let your dentist know if you have anemia before scheduling any procedures. There are many different types of anemia that affect your body in different ways. Some, such as sickle cell anemia, can increase your risk of contracting infections. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before dental procedures to lower your risk.

“What is Anemia.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/anemia/. Accessed 2013.

“Glossitis.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001053.htm. Accessed 2013.

“Guideline on antibiotic prophylaxis for dental patients at risk for infection.” National Guideline Clearinghouse. www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?doc_id=14219. Accessed 2009.

“Mucosa.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002264.htm. Accessed 2013.

“Paleness.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003244.htm. Accessed 2013.

“What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia?” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca/. Accessed 2013.

Author: Greenfield, Paige
Back to Top