Did you know that your dental health is strongly associated with your digestive health? It makes sense because your stomach is the next stop for food after your mouth and esophagus. Eating, smiling, talking – consciously or unconsciously, your oral health influences your daily lives. So you should keep chewing. Your oral health can affect your digestive health in many ways. Therefore a healthy digestive system is vital for good oral health.
According to a US National Library of Medicine study, oral microbes or bacteria can readily transfer to your gut and digestive system. According to research, oral bacteria spread through the digestive system to other body parts. And your gut is no exception.
Studies have indicated that oral bacteria can readily translocate to your gut and change its microbiota and immune defense. Maintaining good oral health is vital to preventing oral disease and maintaining good overall health.
So, the question arises, how do you keep both your stomach and mouth healthy? It could be a crucial step. Remember that how you break down food is an excellent way to initiate the digestive process.
What Is the Digestive System?
The digestive system consists of a group of organs that convert your food into smaller molecules, like glucose. Do you know that this glucose is the simple form of food that your body can absorb so that you can grow and move? The human digestive system has two subgroups: primarily the alimentary canal and the accessory organs.
The esophagus, as you know, is the food pipe. It is a muscular tube located in your throat connecting your stomach to your mouth. The esophagus forms part of the alimentary canal, including the small and large intestines. The food you eat passes through the alimentary canal.
The accessory organs of your digestive system include the salivary glands, the liver, the pancreas, and the gallbladder. These accessory organs generally help digest your food but do not directly interact with your food.
Why Is Digestion Important for Your Body?
The food you eat is rich in nutrients that fuel your body to live, run, and stay alive. You have probably heard that brightly colored carrots are good for your eyes because they contain vitamin A. Milk strengthens your bones. After all, milk is rich in calcium. Similarly, chicken is rich in protein – good for the body.
But have you ever thought, without the digestive system, that none of these food items is of any use to your body? It means without the digestive system, none of the nutrients would matter. Probably because the human body would not be able to absorb any of the nutrients.
During the digestion process, your body uses the teeth, gums, enzymes, stomach acids, and bacteria in your intestines to break your food into small pieces. These tiny food particles then get absorbed in the bloodstream. They are sent to your cells in the body, which provide energy.
The Role of Teeth in the Digestive System
Digestion of the food you eat all begins the moment the piece of food reaches your mouth. Salivary glands in the mouth immediately jump into action at the sheer sight of the food.
Do you know that your saliva glands play a critical role in breaking down the food you eat? These glands are situated at the sides near the throat of your mouth that secrete enzymes. These enzymes help break down fats and starches. The saliva also lubricates the food that passes down the esophagus to your stomach.
The teeth play a significant role in digestion. Therefore, it is safe to say that it is impossible for you to grind, tear, and cut the food without your teeth. Note that digesting your food would become very difficult without your teeth.
Experts argue that swallowing less chewed food – some nutrients and energy remain locked in. Therefore, it makes it more challenging to enter the body. Hence proper chewing is essential to absorb all the useful nutrients you eat.
Tooth misalignment and gum infection could adversely affect chewing and your digestion too. Misaligned teeth often put bite pressure on one area compared to the others. The strain on specific muscles in your mouth could lead to pain when chewing.
In the long run, several dental issues may arise. A typical example of this is temporomandibular joint disorders, often known as TMJ.
You should try keeping your teeth healthy as they can aid in digestion? Besides visiting your dentist Dubai regularly, following these tips:
- Eat a healthy diet rich in calcium, protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limit sugary foods and beverages.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once a day.
- Talk to your dentist if you are suffering from a dry mouth.
Oral Signs of Digestive System Issues
Experts warn that the very first signs of any trouble with your digestive system can be noticed in your mouth. Your dentist will be the first person to diagnose it. Note that dental imbalances and digestive diseases go hand-in-hand.
These are the list of digestive problems that your dentist might look out for during your routine visits:
- Enamel defects.
- Oral candida or oral thrush.
- Bleeding gums.
- Red patches visible on the gums.
If you suffer from digestive problems, it is safe to say that it might also cause oral problems and vice versa. It is another good reason to visit your dentist and have your dentist keep an eye on any signs of digestion issues in your oral cavity.
How Does the Digestive System Work?
So you may ask – how does the human complex digestive system work? The digestive system starts at the mouth. When you eat, your mouth starts chewing the food, and your teeth break the food into smaller pieces.
At the same time, the salivary glands under your tongue and on the sides and roof of your mouth start releasing saliva. This saliva then mixes with your food making it easier to swallow. The food mixes with enzymes that begin breaking carbohydrates into simple sugars.
The processed food created from saliva and chewing is called a bolus when you swallow the food. This bolus slides down your esophagus. In the end, this bolus reaches your stomach.
Gastric juices containing powerful enzymes and acids mix with the bolus in your stomach to make chyme. Chyme is a semi-fluid paste in the stomach. The muscles working in your gut often keep the food and juices moving through your gut continuously during the digestive process.
How Does Your Digestive System Absorb Food?
Once the digestion is completed, muscles in the stomach push the chyme to the initial part of your small intestine. It is known as the duodenum. The bile from the liver and gallbladder and digestive enzymes from the pancreas all mix. Together, these enzymes help break down the proteins, carbs, and fats in your food.
The lower parts of the small intestine are called the jejunum and the ileum. Here, your food is broken down into molecules. The villi in the small intestine walls absorb these nutrients.
The next stop is the colon, known as the large intestine. The large intestine generally removes excess water from the food that your body did not digest. What is left behind is called the stool or feces.
The stool reaches the lower section of your large intestine, stored in the chamber known as the rectum. It is stored till it is released through the anus. When this lengthy digestive process occurs, your body absorbs all the healthy nutrients from your food.
Healthy Foods Leads to a Better Digestive System
According to the American Dental Association or ADA, good food choices and healthy eating habits could prevent decay and dental problems.
But, what is the mouth-healthy diet you should reach out for?
Yogurt is a “must-have” food for the mouth and gut health. Probiotic yogurt, rich in calcium, helps build up tooth enamel and the healthy enzymes needed for digestion. It can eliminate harmful gut bacteria too.
Leafy Greens, especially Kale Leaves
Kale leaves contain fiber, calcium, antioxidants, vitamins K and C, iron, and other nutrients – that prevent dental problems. Antioxidants can effectively remove unwanted toxins resulting from natural processes.
Take almonds as they are a good source of protein and calcium. Moreover, they are a great substitute for sugary candies.
Mangos help with regular digestion and also promote healthy gums. This fiber rich fruit helps solve gut inflammation and constipation issues.
Addressing Oral Health Problems to Avoid Problems in the Digestive System
When oral health is compromised, the smooth, regular operation of the digestive system often suffers. Then you might have the following options.
1 Relief for Tooth Pain
Tooth pain may indicate a cavity that needs treatment, an infection or inflammation. Your dentist can provide the solutions you need to make eating enjoyable again.
2 Replacing Missing Teeth
If you lose one or more of your precious teeth, it might significantly impact your ability to chew and bite. If you have a missing tooth, your other teeth and jaw are also affected.
Note that tooth misalignment can not only affect your bite but may cause strain on the TMJ joint. Whenever you lose a tooth, it becomes crucial to see your dentist right away.
3 Treatment for Dry Mouth
When salivary glands do not produce enough saliva, it might lead to dry mouth or xerostomia. Less saliva means fewer enzymes at work in the mouth.
Saliva can also help wash your teeth with enamel-strengthening minerals. Once cleaned, it naturally reduces the risk of mouth ulcers and oral thrush.
The Bottom line
You should be aware that the first step in the healthy digestion process always begins with your oral health. Indigestion, bloating, acid reflux, and gas is a few of the familiar, unappetizing side effects often observed in the case of poor digestion.
But there is always something you can consider. You might encounter a few of these health issues when you have oral problems. They may include limiting your diet to soft foods, taking liquids, having difficulty swallowing, and suffering through painful meals.
All these are an indication that it is time to visit your dentist. Remember that restoring your oral health will facilitate digestion. Thus making your meals more enjoyable. Finally, a perfect reason to smile.