October 28, 2018
It goes without saying that your digestive system is extremely important. Your body’s ability to absorb nutrients is essential to your long-term health, and most people do not think about this, but it actually starts with your mouth. Problems with the teeth and gums can expose the body to infections and make it more difficult for someone to properly chew their food, leading to difficult digestion and problems throughout the entire system. But, did you know that a gastrointestinal disorder in Williamsville can affect your teeth as well? Today, we are going to cover some of the most common GI disorders, how they influence dental health, and what you can do to keep your smile safe.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD/Heartburn)
For people with heartburn, the acid in their stomach is able to enter into their esophagus and/or oral cavity, which exposes very sensitive tissue to this highly corrosive substance. Because of this, people often feel a burning sensation in their chest as well as have a bad taste in their mouth. This acid can even travel far enough to reach the back teeth, and it is strong enough to cause serious damage to the enamel, weakening these teeth and causing them to gradually decay or fracture.
If someone is suffering from heartburn, they should talk with their doctor about getting treatment, but they should also mention it to their dentist. A dentist may recommend that they use a prescription mouthwash or undergo a fluoride treatment to strengthen the teeth and keep them protected over time.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 3 million Americans suffer from IBD, which includes conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
In addition to chronic inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract, IBD can also lead to symptoms in the mouth, and this is particularly true with children. Patients can develop oral sores, infections, and bleeding or swollen gums because of the systemic inflammation.
Thankfully, IBD can be easily managed with medication, but these can often cause dry mouth, which makes a person much more susceptible to developing cavities and gum disease. A patient using IBD medications should always let their dentist know that they are taking them so their dentist can keep them in mind when providing care. A dentist can recommend that a patient modify their at-home oral health practices to counteract the effects of the medication or may even prescribe something to help keep the mouth adequately hydrated.
Peptic ulcers are sores that develop within the lining of the stomach, lower esophagus, or small intestine, and more than 6 million Americans have to deal with them every year. In the past, they used to be attributed to stress. However, recent research has found that these sores are actually the result of a certain type of bacteria.
Just like with IBD, medication can be used to successfully treat peptic ulcers, but it can often lead to adverse dental health effects, such as dry mouth, black tongue, or a persistently odd taste in the mouth.
If you take any medication for peptic ulcers, you should tell your dentist about it so they can adjust their care accordingly. They may be able to suggest an OTC medication that can help reduce the side-effects of the ulcer medication.
What to Remember
Adding dental issues on top of an already existing GI disorder can quickly make someone’s health go from bad to worse, but by seeing your doctor, getting the appropriate treatment, and keeping your dentist in Williamsville informed, you can make sure that your body and your smile stay happy and healthy for many years to come.
About Amherst Dental Group
Amherst Dental Group is led by a team of dentists who each bring a unique expertise to the practice, enabling us to provide a truly comprehensive array of general and specialized services under one roof. To learn more about how to take care of your teeth if you have a GI problem, we invite you to contact the office through our website.
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