Dental Care Serves your Gut

by Dr. Anson Hooper, DDS, Hooper Family Dental

While watching my 6-year-old trying to complete a version of “connect-the-dots” the other day, it reminded me of when I as a kid playing “connect-the-dots.”

I remember times not being able to find the next number and having to ask my mom or dad for help. When they pointed out where the next number was it seemed so obvious, but finding it alone seemed impossible. Maybe with enough patience and determination as a 6 year old, I would’ve found the next dot, but it was much easier to just ask for guidance.

The same can be said for the health and well-being of our bodies.

While a toothache or cold sore is generally a matter of oral health, can it be a sign of a more serious issue? Surprisingly, it may depend on what’s happening in your digestive system or gut.

Research suggests that the digestive system functions both as a conduit from your mouth and as a biological interface with the outside world. This means your gut plays a role in managing how your body reacts to the things you eat and drink.

A strong, stable gut will protect your overall health, while a weakened/unhealthy one will not.

Have you ever been to your doctor and left with a prescription for antibiotics? Did those antibiotics seem to control your entire life via your upset stomach? If you’ve taken many courses of antibiotics in your life, you know exactly what I’m referring to.

While there are many factors at play, disrupting your gut flora equilibrium is likely the culprit.

We always discuss with our patients the need for a regimen of oral probiotics for this very reason. They help to balance the good bacteria in our gut that the antibiotics may have disrupted.

Bacteria can travel back and forth between our stomach and the mouth. If cavities seem elusive and new ones seem to pop up at every cleaning appointment, it might be an indication of unhealthy gut flora.

A strong immune system helps maintain a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth strengthens your immunity. Since it works both ways, it’s important to attempt to achieve overall health on an individual level.