The Interaction Between Gastrointestinal and Oral Health

November 10, 2021

Your oral health connects to other parts of your body. For example, your oral health connects to your gastrointestinal health, and problems in either part of the body can affect the other part. Below is an overview of different forms of interactions between oral and gastrointestinal health.

Oral Problems Due to Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal problems can affect your oral health or project their symptoms in your mouth. Below are examples of oral problems that might have their origins in your stomach.

Oral Sores

Stomach problems can show up in your mouth as oral sores. For example, the H. pylori bacteria that cause stomach ulcers can migrate to your mouth and affects gum tissues. The oral sores might trigger pain and discomfort. You can even develop bad breath due to the condition.

Bad Breath

Stomach issues can trigger bad breath in several other ways. For example, you might suffer indigestion if food remains in your stomach and goes bad before complete digestion. The smell from the foul food can back up and show up in your mouth as bad breath. In such a case, regular oral hygiene measures such as brushing and flossing won’t usually cure your bad breath.

Enamel Erosion

The teeth comprise different mineral compounds that acid can dissolve. At the same time, your stomach’s contents are usually acidic. Thus, your stomach contents can dissolve your teeth if the contents get to your mouth. That might happen if you suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), whereby your stomach’s contents come back to your mouth.

Enamel erosion weakens your teeth and leaves them susceptible to further damage. For example, bacteria might damage your teeth if acid erosion has already weakened them.

Oral Problems Due to Gastrointestinal Medication

Some gastrointestinal medications can also affect your oral health. Below are a few examples.

Peptic Ulcer Medication

Peptic ulcers affect the soft tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. Some medication for peptic ulcers can dry your mouth. A dry mouth increases your risk of bad breath and periodontal disease since saliva usually helps to keep the mouth clean.

Prescriptions for IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) involves the inflammation of the tissues that line the gastrointestinal tract. Some IBD medication can inflame your oral tissues, dry your mouth, and increase your risk of gingivitis.

Gastrointestinal Problems Due to Oral Issues

On the other hand, problems in your oral cavity can also affect your gastrointestinal health. Below are a few examples of such cases.

Indigestion Due to Poor Chewing

Food digestion begins in the mouth. Your teeth break down food into tiny bits, and enzymes in the saliva commence the digestion process. However, the oral digestion process can suffer if:

  • Your teeth are weak, and you cannot eat certain foods
  • Your teeth or mouth hurt (such as if you have inflamed gums), and you cannot eat properly
  • You have lost some teeth, and you cannot chew food properly

In such cases, you are likely to swallow improperly chewed food, which might trigger indigestion and the associated problems.

Indigestion Due to Bacteria Imbalance

The right balance of bacteria in your stomach helps to keep you safe. An imbalance of the bacteria can cause gastrointestinal problems, including digestive problems. Such an imbalance can arise if you have numerous bad bacteria in your mouth, and some of them reach your stomach via saliva.

The interactions above show that you should never ignore any oral problem. After all, symptoms of oral problems might mean you have health problems in other parts of your body.

Vanyo Dentistry invites you for quality oral health care that can help your entire well-being. We have practiced dental care for over 35 years. Contact us for regular or emergency dental care.