Lyme disease can cause serious problems for both your oral health and overall health. It’s contracted from bacteria passed on through a bite from a blacklegged tick (also known as a deer tick) that was infected after feeding on an infected deer, bird or mouse. Some ticks are so tiny – about the size of a poppy seed – that you may get bitten and not even realize it.
Oral symptoms of Lyme disease
Early signs of Lyme disease can potentially be detected in your mouth. As a result, your dentist may be the first person to recognize symptoms including:
- Pain in your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the joins that connect your jawbone to your skull
- Toothaches that are not caused by decay or infection
- Facial weakness or paralysis, usually on one side of the face
Additional symptoms of Lyme disease
The majority of people with Lyme disease (70-80%) develop a rash at the site of the tick bite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This rash can develop as early as three days or as late as 30 days after being bitten. The rash may get bigger over time and take on the appearance of a target or bulls-eye.
You may experience fever, chills, fatigue, achy joints, headaches and additional health issues. Other potential symptoms – including arthritis, mental fogginess and numbness in the limbs – can become more serious the longer the disease goes untreated.
How you can prevent tick bites
While ticks are active all year, they can be especially troublesome during warmer weather and in the Northeast and North Central parts of the U.S. Try to avoid grassy, bushy or wooded areas.
If you do venture into those areas, follow these simple guidelines:
- Spray yourself, your clothes and your gear with insect repellent.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when possible.
- Walk in the center of the trail.
- Check yourself, your pets and your gear for ticks when you are done with your hike.
- Change clothes and take a shower upon returning home.
If you find a tick bite or have symptoms of Lyme disease, see your physician immediately. Early treatment can help prevent more serious issues the disease can cause.Leave a reply →