While the link between digestive health and our overall health has been established over the years, the role of oral health is worth exploring. Your oral health can help determine your overall health. All kinds of good and bad bacteria can enter through the mouth. What we eat impacts our teeth and gums as much as it helps digestion.
What is the digestive system?
The digestive system comprises of the gastrointestinal tract which connects a few organs in your body. These include the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines and the anus. The gall bladder, pancreas and liver area also part of the system. However, digestion begins in the mouth because that’s the first place food starts to break down.
What role does the mouth play in keeping the mouth healthy?
The kind of diet we have also determines how healthy our teeth, gums and stomach are. Foods high in sugar and acid strip away the protective layering of the teeth and are also difficult to break down in the body. Following a diet which contains healthy fats, whole grains and protein is important to maintaining overall health.
When we chew food, the saliva in the mouth secretes enzymes to help break down food. It also helps to make food softer and more malleable enough to be digested. Being unable to chew food properly due to crooked teeth, or prolonged tooth decay can significantly impact how well you digest your food. Similarly, some digestive diseases begin to show symptoms in the mouth primarily. These include the following:
Inflamed gums, and sores on the inside of the mouth are indicative of digestive problems. They can also happen due to unbalanced immune system in the stomach. Red patches on the inside of cheeks are a sign of a lack of vitamin b12 which is fairly common in people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Your body could also be unable to absorb this essential nutrient.
Oral Candida is an infection in the mouth which often indicates an imbalance in the immunity system. It is usually caused by a lack of zinc in the body and an inability of the body to digest it. Other imbalances in the stomach due to excessive use of antibiotics, too much intake of sugar, diabetes, and swollen tongue can also cause this infection.
If you want to keep your stomach healthy and want to take preventative measures, start with the mouth. Visit a dentist for regular checkups to make sure a professional is inspecting your gums and teeth. At Dr. King’s Family Dentistry, we provide all kinds of affordable and reliable services.