While it might seem like a stretch to think that your oral health and digestive system can affect one another on such a large scale, it’s anything but. The mouth is where the physical and chemical process of digestion begins, so it’s only natural for one to affect the other in some capacity. Having healthy teeth and gums allows for the proper chewing of food, which in turn leads to good digestion. Not chewing your food properly or eating too quickly are the easiest ways to upset your digestive system.
Issues including infected teeth, misalignment and missing teeth can negatively affect your ability to chew and therefore, cause problems for your stomach and intestinal tract later on. Any bad bacteria in your mouth from a lack of brushing your teeth can not only lead to a gum disease, but the bacteria can travel to your digestive system by way of your saliva. By swallowing that bacteria, you’re distributing that bacteria throughout your body. If you experience any of the following digestion problems, here’s how they can affect your oral health, and how you can keep your teeth in good condition.
Heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux, causes a burning sensation that spreads throughout a person’s chest and leaves a bad taste in their mouth. Stomach acids rise up and enter the oral cavity. As the acids in your stomach break down food, you can imagine how much damage it can do to your teeth. Stomach acids in your mouth will wear away tooth enamel that can’t be rebuilt. Tell your dentist if you experience regular, or even occasional, heartburn. They’ll be able to prescribe you fluoride products that will help to strengthen your teeth against erosion.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Defined as having chronic inflammation in your intestinal tract, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common digestion problem that can manifest in the mouth. Some oral health signs of IBD include mouth sores, swelling or bleeding gums and infection. But it’s not just the disease itself that can cause problems in your mouth. Many medications to treat IBD have been known to affect dental health as well. Common prescriptions can cause dry mouth, tongue inflammation or gingivitis. This is something that needs to be discussed with your dentist so they can alter your dental treatments to help prevent potential issues.
These are sores that can appear in the lining of your stomach, in your lower esophagus or small intestine. It’s a common disease that affects millions of people each year. The condition itself doesn’t cause oral health issues, but as with IBD, it’s the medication to treat it that you have to watch out for. The side effects may include dry mouth, changes in taste during the treatment and black tongue.
Are you looking for a dental clinic that employs professionals who care about their clients? If you live in Kitchener, Ontario and surrounding areas then check out Forest Hill Family Dental! We’re filled with dental specialists who are dedicated to providing our patients with the best dental care. We perform general dental care as well as cosmetic dentistry. Call or go online at www.foresthillfamilydental.com to book an appointment.