The American Nutrition Association estimates that 70 million people in the United States have digestive problems, including acid reflux (heartburn), constipation and irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Every time you take a bite of food, you are reminded that there is a close connection between your mouth and your stomach. But did you know that the health of your mouth could instigate gastrointestinal disorders in Southlake? In turn, those can impact your oral health. It’s a troublesome cycle. Read on to learn more and how a dentist may be able to help.
Oral Health Affects Digestive Issues
Good digestion depends on your ability to chew, and chewing is contingent on having healthy teeth and gums. But if your teeth are misaligned or missing—or if gum disease makes chewing painful—then you may not be able to chew your food properly. Consequently, digestive problems may develop.
In addition, the presence of gum disease means that bacteria are likely traveling through your digestive tract along with the food and saliva that you swallow. This could also lead to an imbalance in your digestive system.
Digestive Disorders Affect Your Teeth and Gums
What goes down is not supposed to come up—at least not when it comes to digestion. However, for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn, acids in your stomach can reach your mouth. When this happens, the acids can erode tooth enamel.
If you frequently have heartburn, then be sure to mention the condition to your dentist in Southlake. In-office fluoride treatments may be recommended to strengthen your teeth.
Other Signs of Gastrointestinal Problems in the Mouth
People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, often see the affects in their mouths. This is particularly prevalent among children. Signs include:
- Mouth sores
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
Also, some of the medications that people take for IBD may cause gingivitis, dry mouth or an inflamed tongue. If you have IBD, talk to your dentist. Mention the medicines you take, because some may call for precautions when you have dental work.
Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than six million Americans are affected by peptic ulcers. Some of the medicines used to treat ulcers have unpleasant side effects such as a black tongue, dry mouth and changes to your sense of taste. Once again, you should talk to your dentist, who may have ideas on how to combat the side effects.
Gastrointestinal disorders can affect the condition of your oral health. So, call you dentist to schedule a checkup in order to prevent or treat any problems with your teeth and gums. And if you have a GI disorder, be sure to mention it.
Meet the Author
Dr. Ravi Doctor is a family dentist in Southlake and Arlington. He and his team of dental hygienists and dental assistants offer a comprehensive menu of services to help ensure the health of your teeth and gums and enhance the appearance of your smile. If you’re experiencing a GI disorder, learn what you can do to keep your smile safe by contacting us. Call the office today to schedule an appointment.