Can Your Dental Health Affect Your Digestive Health?

Eating, talking, smiling—consciously or unconsciously, so much of daily life is influenced by our oral health. And here’s one more thought to chew on: oral health affects digestive health as well.

After all, digestion doesn’t begin the moment food reaches the stomach—it begins before we swallow that very first bite. The digestive process gets its start in two ways:

  • Mastication

“Chew your food properly.” Probably every child has heard this piece of helpful advice, because it’s hazardous to swallow large pieces of food. But there’s more to it! There’s a positive benefit for your digestive system when you keep chewing until that mouthful has been pulverized into a uniform, almost paste-like consistency.

But even though chewing food properly leads to easier digestion, dental problems can make the simple act of eating difficult and uncomfortable. Missing teeth or tooth pain can lead to swallowing food before it’s been properly broken down and softened, making it harder for your meal to make its way down the esophagus and more work to digest.

  • Saliva Production

As it happens, there’s science behind the expression “mouth watering.” Saliva contains digestive enzymes. These enzymes help break carbohydrate molecules into smaller sugar molecules, which are easier for our bodies to digest and use for energy. Saliva also contains enzymes that begin the digestion of fat and helps neutralize acids as we eat.

When your oral health is compromised, the normally smooth operation of your digestive system can suffer as well. Fortunately, you have options.

  • Relief for Tooth Pain

When eating is painful, or when you avoid putting pressure on a loose or sensitive tooth, you’re probably chewing more cautiously and less thoroughly. You might be dining on soft foods or liquids, avoiding chewier proteins, vitamins, and fibers on the menu.

Recurring tooth pain means it’s time to give Drs. Manzoli, Russo, Pauk, Desrosiers, Sahakyants a call. Whether you have a cavity that needs treatment, an infection or inflammation, pain from grinding your teeth, or any problem which makes eating uncomfortable, we can provide the answers you need to make eating enjoyable once again.

If the source of your pain, swelling, or sensitivity could be a problem inside the tooth or its surrounding tissue, it could be time to see your endodontist, Drs. Manzoli, Russo, Pauk, Desrosiers, Sahakyants. Endodontists have years of additional advanced training after dental school, specializing in diagnosing and treating tooth pain and injuries to the tooth pulp and roots.

Endodontists are experienced in root canal procedures, treating traumatic tooth injuries, and performing endodontic surgeries, saving teeth that might otherwise be extracted. If you are experiencing symptoms of pulp or root damage, it’s best to see Drs. Manzoli, Russo, Pauk, Desrosiers, Sahakyants as soon as possible.

If you haven’t visited our Worcester office for a while, there’s no time like the present. Restoring your oral health will lead to easier digestion, more enjoyable dining—and a very good reason to smile. Food for thought!