How your Teeth Control the Digestive (Gut's) Balance

Health of your teeth are a reflection of your gut system

When your stomach is upset, it is only natural that you think about what you ate. While there is a connection, it is much more complex than that and there are other things that could be the problem. Part of the problem may be what you are or are not eating. Not only will it affect your digestive health, but it also affects your teeth.


Gut Health

Researchers know that the microbes in your gut influence you in many ways – some you probably never even realized. They not only affect your physical body, but also your mental state. They can influence your levels of anxiety, depression, blood pressure levels, regulating your immune system, and more. They may also influence some of the foods you eat in order to favor the growth of certain bacteria.


Inflammation

Recent studies have revealed that the condition of your gums and teeth will actually affect your overall health. This is because the bacteria in your mouth that erodes the enamel on your teeth can also cause gum disease.


Once your gums become infected (inflamed), the bacteria that caused it can enter your blood stream. Inflammation can initiate problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, premature birth, and many more. A poor diet can also lead to poor gut health and some autoimmune disease that may end up being life-threatening.


The Nutritional Needs of Your Teeth

If you have gum disease, which is revealed by bleeding and inflamed gums, it is important that you get rid of it while you can. Not doing anything about it will likely lead to very costly dental procedures and lost teeth.


Your gums also depend on your immune system. In order to enable your gums to fight against gum disease, they need the right kind of nutrition.


Avoid Excessive Sugars

The bad bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and carbohydrates. When they do, they produce acid. It is the acid that causes problems with your gums and teeth. The more sugar and carbs you consume, the more acid there is to erode your teeth. If you sip on coffee or tea with lots of sugar in it all day, you are damaging your teeth and probably strengthening your gum disease.


Although most people love sugary foods and snacks, the truth is that it is one of the worst substances for the natural balance in your gut. The healthy bacteria in your gut eat natural foods – called prebiotics. These are high fiber foods. The bad bacteria in your gut, however, feed on sugar. The beneficial bacteria in your gut, called probiotics, feed on prebiotics.



Many foods contain various types of sugars that are hidden – unless you understand their alternative names. In many cases, packaged foods probably contain more sugars than you realize.


When you eat or drink foods with sugar in them, you want to remove the sugar from your teeth quickly to prevent damage. You can do this by drinking water afterwards and swishing it around your mouth. Another way is to brush your teeth soon afterwards. For better overall health, though, cut down on sugary foods altogether.


Eating more fiber-rich foods (pre-biotics) will provide you with a number of health benefits. They include:


  • Better cholesterol levels

  • Better digestion

  • Greater balance of hormones

  • Less inflammation

  • Your immune system functions better

  • Improved gut health

  • Less risk of obesity



Acidic Foods

Some foods directly attack the enamel on your teeth because they are acidic. The most notorious are sodas and fruit juices. Sodas and diet sodas contain different kinds of acid. When combined with the acid from sugars, the results are harmful to your teeth, leading to faster cavities. Fruit juices contain both acid and a lot of sugar. Feeding the bacteria in your mouth with fruit juice and water will not help, either. Healthy foods will help reduce the sugar on your teeth.


Nutrients Needed for Healthy Teeth

Your teeth need a constant supply of vitamins and other nutrients to stay strong. The saliva in your mouth carries the nutrients to your teeth's enamel, but the nutrients need to be in your diet. The nutrients needed include:


  • Protein – Dairy, eggs, beans, and meat are needed to strengthen the enamel and structure of your teeth. (Note that your enamel does not regrow but needs minerals to replace what the acid leeches out of it.)


  • Vitamins A,C, and DFoods such as almonds, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and eggs enable your teeth to absorb calcium for stronger teeth. Too little vitamin C can lead to bleeding gums and loose teeth.



  • Calcium – Found in almonds, cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, and broccoli; they strengthen your jaw bone and teeth, which are mostly calcium.


  • Omega-3 – This important fatty acid is found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flax/linseeds. It helps to reduce inflammation and strengthens your immune system.


If you have digestive problems and need to improve gut health and you live in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas, you can get help from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. He performs a wide range of dental services and cosmetic dentistry, and can help to restore your teeth and smile. For more information about his dental services, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (817) 756-8578.


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