Can Your Dental Health Affect Your Digestive Health?

Can Your Dental Health Affect Your Digestive Health?

Can Your Dental Health Affect Your Digestive Health?

Did you know that oral health is strongly connected to digestive health? Makes sense because the following stop for food, after the mouth and esophagus, is the stomach.

According to a study in the US National Library of Medicine, oral bacteria can transfer to the gut pretty easily. The report says, “Oral bacteria spreading through the body have been associated with a number of systemic diseases. The gut is no exception. Studies in animals and man have indicated that oral bacteria can translocate to the gut and change its microbiota and possibly immune defense.” The study goes on to say that it is justified to claim that good oral health is important not only to prevent oral disease but also to maintain good general health.

So, how do you keep your mouth and stomach healthy? Taking into consideration how you break down food is a great way to start…

The Role of Teeth in Digestion

Digestion begins the second you put a piece of food (or drink) into your mouth. In fact, your salivary glands may jump into action at the sheer sight of certain foods. Your saliva glands are very critical because they break down foods in your mouth. The glands secrete enzymes that help breakdown starches and fats, as well as lubricate the passage of food down the esophagus to the stomach.

Your teeth also play a big role in digestion. It’s safe to say that without teeth it’s hard to tear, grind, and cut food. This makes digestion more difficult. Experts argue that, when we swallow slightly chewed food, some of the nutrients and energy remains locked in—making it more difficult to enter our bodies.

Misalignment and tooth infection can also affect chewing and digestion. Misaligned teeth often put bite pressure on one area of the mouth over another. The strain on certain muscles can lead to pain when chewing. An example of this is temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint disorders or TMJ.

So, what can you do to keep your teeth healthy and aid in digestion? Besides visiting your dentist regularly, here are a few other tips:

Healthy Foods Leads to a Better Digestive System

Certain foods can promote better oral and stomach health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), healthy eating habits and food choices can help prevent tooth decay. But, what are the good foods to reach for? The following grocery store items are at the top of a mouth-healthy diet:

Probiotic Yogurt

Some experts call yogurt a “must-have” for mouth and gut health. Probiotic yogurt contains calcium to build-up tooth enamel and healthy enzymes to aid in digestion, as well as eliminate harmful gut bacteria.

Leafy Greens (Kale)

According to Medical News Today, “Kale contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins C and K, iron, and a wide range of other nutrients that can help prevent various health problems. Antioxidants help the body remove unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental pressures.”


Mangos also help with regular digestion, plus promote healthy gums. This power fruit contains fiber which helps treat constipation and gut inflammation.


Almonds are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Plus, they are a great substitute for sugary candies.

Oral Signs of Digestive Issues

Experts warn that the very first signs of digestive troubles can be seen in the mouth. And, oftentimes, your dentist is the first person to make the diagnosis. Digestive diseases and dental imbalances go hand-in-hand. Below is a list of indications of digestive problems that your dentist looks out for during routine visits:

It’s safe to say that if you suffer from digestive problems, it may cause oral problems – and vice versa. This is yet another good reason to visit your dentist regularly and have him/her keep an eye on signs of digestion issues in your mouth.