Can Bad Oral Hygiene Cause Stomach Problems

February 15, 2024

When you don’t brush and floss regularly, these bacteria feast on the leftover food. They produce acids that can erode your tooth enamel, causing cavities, inflammation, and potential gum disease. Anything from your mouth can easily access and enter your gut.

What Are the Signs of Poor Oral Hygiene?

Symptoms of bad oral hygiene are quite apparent. Genetics, thin enamel, and dental trauma can cause your teeth to become loose. Individuals who carelessly follow oral hygiene routines can possess symptoms. Such as:

  • Discolored Teeth
  • Highly sensitive teeth
  • Tender and bleeding gums
  • Black stains
  • Missing teeth
  • Foul smell

Effects of Bad Oral Hygiene on Stomach Health

The oral cavity is the starting point of the digestive system, and the condition of your mouth can influence the entire digestive process. Here are a few ways bad oral hygiene can impact stomach health:

  1. Swallowing Bacteria
    When there’s a buildup of harmful bacteria in your mouth due to poor oral hygiene, you swallow these bacteria. Once they reach the stomach, they can affect the balance of the gut microbiota and cause digestive issues.
  2. Gum Disease and Systemic Inflammation
    Severe gum disease (periodontitis) can trigger chronic inflammation. This systemic inflammation can result in conditions that affect the digestive system and entire health.
  3. Aspiration of Oral Bacteria
    In cases of severe gum disease or oral infections, oral bacteria can be transferred into the respiratory tract and invade the stomach. This can have implications for respiratory and digestive health.
  4. Nutrient Absorption
    Oral health is crucial for proper chewing and breaking down of food. If dental issues hinder efficient chewing, it can affect the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the stomach and the rest of the digestive tract.

What Are the 4 Main Functions of the Mouth in the Digestive System?

Different parts in your mouth play various roles to make the food digest efficiently. These mouth functions include:

  1. Ingestion
    This is the first stage of the digestive process. It begins right when a person shoves food in their mouth with a spoon, hand, or utensil.
  2. Mechanical Digestion
    During this stage, the big chunks of food are broken down into smaller pieces. Our lips and inner cheeks keep the food in place while we move our jaw muscles to chew it. Our tongue also has tiny bumps on it called papillae. Mechanical papillae let an individual feel the food’s form and texture. In contrast, taste papillae possess taste buds that let you taste the foods.
  3. Chemical Digestion
    This stage is called chemical digestion because saliva mixes with food here to make it soft and easy to swallow. Parotid glands, submandibular glands, and sublingual glands produce saliva in your mouth and prepare the food for digestion.
  4. Swallowing Stage
    The mouth contains two palates. Hard palate, which is the roof of the mouth, and soft palate right behind it. It extends to the throat and helps prevent food from entering the nasal cavity. When a person is finished chewing their food, the tongue shoves the food inside the throat, toward the esophagus, and finally, the stomach.

Concluding Thoughts

Your mouth is directly connected to your gut. Whatever you put inside your mouth can benefit or harm you. Therefore, keeping it clean should be your priority. Consult our airway mouth doctor, Dr. Felix, at Whole Health Dental Center.

Our doctor is board-certified by the American Board of General Dentistry and a Diplomate in America Sleep & Breathing Academy. Call us at (703) 385-6425 to book an appointment.

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