By: Danielle Duncan
Your body is its own environment, our personal microbiomes are a collection of good and bad microorganisms and viruses that contribute to the overall health of our bodies. Over the years, health experts and the population at large have turned their focus to probiotic-enriched foods, yogurt drinks, or other methods to help restore and maintain the appropriate level of positive microorganisms in the body. But, we still overlook an important part of this tiny ecosystem in our bodies; the gut.
When we think of the gut, it is usually about how far it protrudes or if our stomach is queasy after eating last night’s leftovers that sat out a little too long on the counter. Simply put, we ignore a vital part of our body’s ecosystem until we start to see the ill effects of how much punishment we put our gut and gut health through.
It’s no secret, if we eat something foul or take medications that cause upset stomachs, we pay a little more attention, but that attention is usually hyper-focused on one part of the body, it shouldn’t.
The gut, gut health, and oral health are all linked in very intricate ways that we have only just started to truly understand.
How does your gut affect oral health?
Chances are if you’ve ever seen a dentist, you’ve been told about just how close the link is between gut health and oral health. Your internal microbiome consists of trillions of positive bacteria living throughout the entirety of your digestive system. These microorganisms influence the body’s immune system, digestion, hormones, and metabolism. It can even go as far as to play a role in your mood throughout the day. But, when your microbiome is out of sorts, it can also have consequences for oral health.
If there are too few good bacteria and too many harmful bacteria, this can cause an inflammatory response throughout the body, causing gingivitis, tooth decay, and infection if not treated appropriately.
- Tooth Decay
- Oral Infection
- Acid Reflux that causes enamel erosion
How does poor oral health impact the gut?
Since your gut and mouth are connected, poor oral health can also have a negative effect on your gut health as well.
It is important to follow your dentist’s recommended dental hygiene routine to prevent stomach issues caused by infected gums, teeth, or dry mouth.
Having a strong oral health routine is the first step in creating a symbiotic relationship between your gut and oral health. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with recommended mouthwash daily is a great place to start!
Some signs that your gut may be affecting your oral health are:
- Bad breath
- A large number of cavities
- Gum disease
- Unexplained infection.
- Worsening or recurring dental issues.
What can you do to help the good microorganisms in your gut?
First and foremost it is essential to communicate with your primary care doctor and dentist about any signs and symptoms you may have if you feel that your gut health is affecting your oral health (or vice-versa)
Once your care team is on board, they can guide you in a few simple at-home routines that you can follow to promote good bacteria growth while keeping bad bacteria at bay.
- Eat prebiotic foods
- Eat fermented foods
- Eat foods with little to no added sugar (bad bacteria have a sweet tooth!)
- Eat high-fiber foods
- Floss and brush your teeth daily
- Keep up on your bi-annual dental appointments to get your teeth cleaned.
Gut health is important for the overall health of your mouth, take the time to show your gut’s microbiome a little extra love every day.
Want to bill your patient’s gut-health tooth decay to medical insurance? Find out how by contacting our team of experts today!