Teeth related pain results in loss of sleep, and concentration while at work. It is common knowledge that infected tooth or tooth loss can affect a person’s ability to eat. However, there is lesser awareness regarding how the digestive system can impact oral health.
The chemical and physical digestion procedure begins in the mouth. Thus, the mouth plays a crucial role when it comes to the functioning of the digestive process and can impact the individual’s digestive health positively or negatively. Similarly, it also works the other way around even gastrointestinal disorders can result in poor oral hygiene.
What is a gastrointestinal disease?
Gastrointestinal disease refers to problems or disorders linked to the gastrointestinal tract (GI) or the digestive system. The tract consists of several organs like small and large intestine, stomach, esophagus, anus, and of course, mouth.
The list of gastrointestinal disorders includes colon polyps, colitis, diverticular diseases, perianal infections, anal fistulas, fissures, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and certain types of cancer as well. These medical conditions can be prevented by following proper bowel habits and an overall healthy lifestyle.
Gastrointestinal problems symptoms
Symptoms depend entirely on the type of disorder. Some of the commonly reported ones are unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, problems in swallowing food, nausea, bad breath, vomiting, etc.
Allergy to medicines, stress, and unhealthy diet, a sudden change in eating and drinking habits are some of the gastrointestinal disease causes.
Mouth ulcer due to stomach problems
In some cases, ulcers caused due to stomach problems can be related to bad breath as well. Helicobacter pylori bacteria (referred to as H. pylori) present in the sores, is known to carry periodontal bacteria that result in an unpleasant odor in the mouth. Doctors offer antibiotics to treat these ulcers.
Does indigestion cause bad breath?
Bad breath can be triggered due to problems other than bad oral health, unhealthy eating/drinking habits, and smoking. They can also be a result of medical conditions linked to digestion, liver, and kidney disorders.
At times, some patients fail to get rid of bad breath in spite of following good oral hygiene routine, including flossing, brushing, and using a mouthwash. These conventional solutions fail to work in curing the embarrassing odor problem because the issue lies in the digestion system.
According to the Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Chin Hur, in some patients with a slow digestive system, food remains accumulated in the stomach resulting in a foul smell. People suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) may even notice a small amount of acid or swallowed food coming back in the mouth from the stomach. Both can cause severe damage to the teeth surface and trigger harmful bacteria growth.
Consuming big meals right before going to bed, too much of alcohol, eating too spicy and fatty foodstuff can result in GERD. Healthcare experts or dentists may prescribe over-the-counter medications to ease the symptoms.
Your dentist would perform a check-up to evaluate if the source of the smell is within your mouth or it’s one of GERD symptoms. Other medical conditions that indicate Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease are hoarseness, coughing, chest pain, red throat, and a bad taste in the mouth. The dentist can also recommend the patient to visit their physician’s clinic for further evaluation.
The link between oral health and inflammatory bowel disease
According to the stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around three million patients in the US reportedly suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) each year.
The infection (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease) can manifest in the patient’s oral cavity resulting in swollen and bleeding gums, mouth sores, and other oral health issues.
Medications prescribed to treat IBD can also cause tongue inflammation, gingivitis, and dry mouth as an allergic reaction. Thus, while opting for dental treatment, patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease are advised to inform the same to the dental care expert so that he or she can offer treatment accordingly.
The link between peptic ulcer disease and oral health
Peptic ulcer develops in stomach’s inner lining, or somewhere in the lower esophagus, small intestine. Peptic ulcers do not cause oral health issues, but the medicines prescribed to treat the conditions do result in side-effects on the patient’s oral health. Dentists ask patients who have peptic ulcer to go for specific blood tests before performing any dental treatment.
Patients suffering from the gastrointestinal disease should opt for a quarterly dental check-up
The patient must provide an up-to-date list of medicines, nutritional supplements, herbs, and vitamins that he or she has been consuming. After a proper check-up and studying the person’s medical history, the dental office would suggest treatment options, including toothpaste and rinses, for protecting oral health from side-effects of treatment for gastrointestinal disease.
Can avoiding brushing teeth cause stomach problems?
Depending on the oral health condition, the mouth can prove to be a perfect home for hundreds of good and bad bacteria as per several studies. If allowed to grow beyond a specific limit, the bad ones can trigger some severe health problems.
Bacteria can enter bloodstream resulting in coronary artery disease. They can also spread via cranial nerve and result in dementia. Surprisingly, studies suggest the bacteria in the mouth can reach the lungs and trigger pneumonia as well.
Proper digestion is possible when healthy teeth help in chewing food appropriately. Missing or infected teeth result in incomplete or improperly chewed food entering the digestive system. Most importantly, studies have already proved the link between harmful bacteria in the mouth and person’s ability to digest food properly. Besides causing gum disease, the harmful bacteria can reach the digestive system with saliva resulting in an imbalance within the gastrointestinal tract.
Do you think your poor oral health is a result of digestion related problems? If so, you should fix an appointment at Roswell (GA) based TruCare Dentistry and discuss your issues without hesitation. The dental office is headed by Dr. Toral Ardeshna, who has a patient-friendly reputation in the region.