Most of us know how important it is to have healthy teeth and gums, at least in a general sense. But did you know that your oral health has a direct connection to your digestive health? It’s true! Problems such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and chronic constipation can all be a result unhealthy teeth and gums. In this article, we’ll explore that connection and provide some good news about how your dentist can help.
How Your Teeth and Gums Impact Your Digestive System
Enjoying all the benefits of good digestive health depends, to a large extent, on how well you can chew your food. If that ability is compromised in some way – due to missing teeth or a bite that is out of alignment, for example – it can prevent you from properly chewing your food. That can easily result in digestive problems. And while healthy teeth are certainly necessary for adequate chewing of food, that’s not the only way in which your oral health may affect your digestion. If you suffer from gum disease, it means that you’re swallowing bad bacteria along with food and saliva and that bacteria is making its way into your digestive system.
How Your Digestive Problems Impact Your Oral Health
While it’s true that poor oral health can affect your digestive system, the reverse is also true: Problems in your digestive tract can negatively impact your teeth and gums. This is especially true for people with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and chronic heartburn, when the acids your stomach end up in your mouth. This can lead to badly eroded tooth enamel mouth sores, and other gum issues.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Whether you suffer from digestive problems as a result of poor oral health or vice-versa, your dentist can help to resolve the teeth and gum issues that are connected to your digestive system. The first step is to make your dentist aware that you are experiencing problems with digesting your food. He or she can quickly assess the current condition of your teeth and gums and recommend procedures that can make it easier to chew. Your dentist may recommend that you see a gastroenterologist to resolve digestive conditions that may be negatively affecting your oral health. And, as is always the case, it’s important to maintain a daily oral hygiene routine at home. Be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Some people may need to add to that routine to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Your dentist can provide you with more information.