Iron Deficiency Signs, Symptoms In Your Mouth

People experience iron deficiency due to very low levels of the mineral in the body. It has been linked to poor diet, heavy periods or more serious health problems, like bleeding in the stomach and intestines.

The body needs iron for proper flow of red blood cells. The mineral helps produce hemoglobin, a protein in the blood that delivers oxygen across the body. 

The effects of iron deficiency could lead to poor amounts of hemoglobin. The decrease in the protein would lower oxygen flow to tissues and muscles, causing anemia, Daily Express reported Monday.

But anemia is not the only condition caused by iron deficiency. If left untreated, it could also increase the risk of infections and complications with the heart, lungs and pregnancy.

It is important to detect the symptoms of iron deficiency early. Finding the condition in early stages could help avoid health problems and provide access to more treatment options. 

One of the ways to determine iron deficiency is by checking changes in or around the mouth. Researchers have identified four signs on the tongue and three outside of the mouth. 

People with iron deficiency may develop a swollen, sore and pale tongue. In some cases, it may feel strangely smooth.

These changes occur due to low levels of hemoglobin and myoglobin in the blood caused by poor iron intake. Aside from the tongue, looking at the area around the mouth may also help detect the deficiency early. 

The condition may also cause dry mouth, sore red cracks at the corners of the mouth and mouth ulcers. 

Iron Deficiency Treatment And Prevention

To meet the body’s required iron intake, experts recommend increasing consumption of foods rich in the mineral. The list includes meat, dark-green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, lentils and cereals and bread with extra iron. 

Some people would also need to combine diet with medications as iron deficiency treatment. 

“If your blood test shows your red blood cell count is low (deficient), you'll be prescribed iron tablets to replace the iron that's missing from your body,” NHS said. “The prescribed tablets are stronger than the supplements you can buy in pharmacies and supermarkets.”

The agency said drinking orange juice after taking medications would help the body absorb iron.

Child A swollen, sore or pale tongue can be a sign of iron deficiency. Pixabay