If You Notice This in Your Mouth, You May Be at Risk for a Seizure, WHO Says
This particular condition can show up in your mouth before it seriously jeopardizes your health.
Whether you've got an ache in your jaw that just won't go away or cracked a tooth, health problems rooted in your mouth are frequently too painful to ignore. And while a mouthguard or crown may solve some of those unpleasant oral health issues, there's one surprising symptom in your mouth that could tip you off to a serious condition—and it's one experts say you shouldn't ignore. If you want to safeguard your health, read on to find out what your mouth could be telling you about your seizure risk, and what to do if you notice this symptom.
If you notice excessive salivation, you could be at risk for a seizure.
According to the World Health Association (WHO), high-level exposure to fluoride—an ionized form of fluorine, a naturally-occurring element, which is commonly added to municipal tap water—can lead to immediate side effects including seizures, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
However, what's going on in your mouth may tip you off to a problem before a more dire outcome occurs. The WHO reports that exposure to high amounts of fluoride also commonly causes excessive salivation, which can clue you in about an emerging problem. If you notice this symptom, talk to a medical professional.
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Excessive fluoride exposure can also affect your teeth.
While some fluoride can help prevent against cavities, too much can have ill effects on your teeth. In addition to causing excessive salivation, excessive fluoride exposure can cause fluorosis, a condition that causes staining and pitting on teeth.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that you are only likely to develop fluorosis until the age of eight, the lingering effects of the condition can persist well into adulthood.
Over a prolonged period of time, excess fluoride can also affect your bones.
It's not your teeth alone that can be affected by fluorosis, however. According to the WHO, long-term ingestion of an excessive among of fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis, which can lead to joint pain and stiffness.
In some rare cases, skeletal fluorosis may even lead to abnormal tissue growth and calcification; a 2015 case study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology documented a case of skeletal fluorosis leading to "hard, fixed masses" on the arms and legs of a 72-year-old man due to fluoride toxicity.
Water is the most common source of overconsumption of fluoride.
While using too much fluoride toothpaste or taking excessive amounts of fluoride supplements could potentially increase your risk of fluoride toxicity, the most common source of excessive fluoride consumption is water.
Though municipal drinking water typically contains low levels of fluoride, the WHO explains that acute exposure to high levels of fluoride is typically accidental, and is frequently the result of contamination after fires or explosions. If you're worried that you may be getting too much fluoride or have experienced fluorosis in the past, contact a medical professional to see how you can limit your risk of future health issues, including seizures.