6 Ways Your Gut and Mouth Are Interconnected
Your oral health can affect your overall health.
Ongoing research done by doctors in many specialties is showing that the different processes of the body all interconnect in the gut. The gut is far more responsible for overall health than anyone previously thought. And there is a special connection between the mouth and the gut because all of the nutrients that feed the microbiome in your gut come through your mouth. The bacteria in your mouth can affect your gut in positive and negative ways. Here are 6 ways that the gut and the mouth affect each other.
1. A Shared Path
When you eat and take food into your mouth, the bacteria in your mouth hitch a ride through your digestive system on that food. As that food is broken down in your stomach, the bacteria is released into your gut. Depending on the bacteria, it can positively impact the flora in your microbiome by feeding healthy bacteria that keep the microbiome healthy. Or, it can negatively impact the microbiome by killing off the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. If you aren’t practicing good oral hygiene like brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing, your mouth will have an overabundance of the bacteria that can negatively impact your gut health.
You are what you eat is a cliché for a reason. If you eat a lot of processed or unhealthy foods that your digestive system can’t break down into the nutrients that your body and your gut needs, you won’t be healthy. When you are choosing what to eat, you should be thinking about how that food will get broken down by your body. It’s always best to choose whole grains, fresh vegetables, and unprocessed foods that are easy for the body to break down. You also need the right nutrition to keep your teeth strong and your gums free from disease.
Every system in your body depends on your digestive system being able to break down the food that you eat into the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that all the cells in your body need to function the way they should. If your body isn’t getting those nutrients, the healthy bacteria in your gut will die, which will negatively impact your immune system, your circulatory system, and your brain health.
The saliva that your mouth produces is essential for the digestive system. In fact, your mouth is part of what is referred to as the upper digestive tract that includes your mouth and esophagus. Without saliva, the food that you eat wouldn’t make it past the esophagus and into the stomach where the acids in your stomach mix with more saliva to break down the food that you’ve eaten so that it can be used by the body for fuel.
5. Mouth/Gut Health
Health problems that affect your gut and your digestive tract can also affect your mouth and gums. People who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or H Pylori bacterial infection often get extremely bad breath as a result of the transfer of bacteria from the gut to the mouth. The unhealthy microbes in the gut expel bacteria that travels up to the mouth and can create foul-smelling breath.
That same bacteria can also cause periodontal disease and gum disease. If you have noticed that you have chronic bad breath even though you practice good oral hygiene, you may have an undiagnosed digestive illness that is causing your bad breath. A dental exam should be able to tell you if the problem is in your mouth or not. Call us today for an appointment if you’re experiencing chronic bad breath.
6. Immune System Connection
If your gut isn’t healthy, that can cause your immune system to be weaker than it should be. And there is some research showing that bad bacteria in the gut may be a contributing factor in autoimmune disease, when the body’s immune system goes haywire and attacks the body’s healthy cells. If you have symptoms of autoimmune disease, the problem may be in your gut.
One symptom of an immune system imbalance that’s caused by an unhealthy gut and a lack of Vitamin B can be a red tongue or red lesions on your cheek and gums. If you have noticed that your tongue seems redder than it should be or if you have lesions on your cheeks or gums call us today to make an appointment for a dental exam. One of our experienced dentists will be able to help you address the problem before it gets worse.
Maintaining Your Oral Health With Berrien Dental
Some issues, such as GERD, aren’t easy for us to control. Having a healthy mouth, however, is absolutely within your control! Brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing daily, as well as keeping up with your six monthly checkups will ensure your dentist in Berrien Springs can monitor your oral health and prevent any issues before they have a serious effect on the rest of your body. We’re here to help you have your healthiest smile yet!