Can an Oral Infection Cause Digestive Problems?

November 30, 2020

Can an Oral Infection Cause Digestive Problems?
Can an Oral Infection Cause Digestive Problems?

The consequences of oral health problems are usually associated with gum or tooth pain. However, for those who have never given too much thought to what's really happening in their mouths, we recommend starting to pay more attention. There are numerous reasons why you should consider a regular consultation with a dentist to be beneficial for your overall health.


For example, health experts from remind us that a healthy gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) begins with taking care of good oral hygiene and health. Beneficial gut bacteria, digestion, stomach... Oral health won't be your first guess as to the reason for problems with one of these things. But it may be very much so.

Keep on reading to find out why.


The digestion process partly relies on your ability to chew. When you struggle with tooth decay, mouth ulcers, or gum disease, you can't chew your food correctly. It will eventually result in GI tract problems and digestion issues, as the whole system won't be able to deal with bigger pieces, or it will at least take longer, affecting your metabolism.


Moreover, chewing issues may force people to give up harder food, including many nutritious ingredients (e.g., numerous fruits and vegetables). It will result in a worse overall condition, as you will soon be deprived of many essential nutrients.


While suffering from a gum disease or many different teeth infections, you may be literally swallowing these bacteria with your saliva, even when you don't eat. While not all conditions will be equally dangerous to your digestive tract, you'd rather not risk checking if it's one of the systemic diseases this time. Acids in your stomach will destroy some bacteria, but others are acid-resistant. So, consult with a dentist as soon as the problem arises.


A study has proven that certain oral bacteria can translocate the gut and make changes to the gut microbiota and microbiome. Gut microbes are essential to keeping you healthy, as they play a role in the immune defense.

Increased Risk of Stomach Cancer

This is yet to be widely confirmed, but an initial study has shown that gum infections and digestive tract sores related to them may constitute a significant risk factor for developing stomach cancer.


The study focused on periodontal disease, caused by bacteria in dental plaque and can be provoked even by poor oral hygiene. However, there's no indication that other infections won't have the same effect.

Immune System

When you struggle with an infection or another problem in your mouth, your immune system is forced to fight it. Therefore, it may not be as effective in the rest of your body, leading to a plethora of other health issues, even those usually unrelated to oral health.

Your Mouth Can Be Affected by Digestive System Problems

As you can see, the state of your teeth, gums, and mouth can affect your GI tract in many ways, but they can also become symptoms of different diseases. For example, bleeding gums or Gingivitis sometimes are the signs of inflammation, suggesting that your immune system is trying to fight a particular problem. Digestive tract issues very often manifest themselves in your mouth. What's more, these are ones of the early symptoms, so they give you an opportunity to respond in time.


Frequently, swollen and bleeding gums and mouth sores may indicate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis.


Additionally, when you struggle with gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn, your stomach acid may reach your mouth, causing tooth enamel erosion. In this case, a dentist can recommend fluoride treatments to strengthen your teeth, but you should also stay in touch with a gastroenterologist.


Your teeth and gums may also be in worse condition because of the medications you take for other, unrelated diseases. For example, many meds' side effects include limiting saliva production, which is essential for healthy digestion and neutralizing acids in your mouth.

Other Parts of Your Body Affected by Oral Health

It may come as a surprise, but if you don't take proper care of your oral cavity health, you put many parts of your body at risk - including your heart.


When bacteria enter your bloodstream, it can easily get to other places within your organism. Most of them are cleared out by your immune system, but if it's weakened, or there are too many bacteria, they can lodge themselves in other organs, primarily heart valves.


Apart from that, a particular mouth disease may lead to problems related to pregnancy and giving birth, osteoporosis (bone and tooth loss), or even Alzheimer's disease.

How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy

● Brush your teeth - do it regularly in the evenings and mornings, plus after each meal when possible.

● Find the right toothpaste - the one free of preservatives or SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). Make sure to consult your choice with your dentist so that it suits your individual needs and characteristics.

● Visit your dentist regularly - at least once a year, unless recommended otherwise, plus every time you feel something is off.

● Floss as often as possible.

● Use a mouth rinse.

● Avoid tobacco, too much sugar, and carbonated drinks.

● Avoid dry mouth.

● Follow a nutritious diet.


Holistic Health Care Is Key

While human bodies are more fragile and not as reliable, you should treat your organism like a machine that needs to be well-oiled and well-maintained as a complete mechanism. Your health is the same - whenever something is wrong, even if it's only a toothache, it affects your entire body and overall well-being. Some issues are more closely related than others, but there aren't any ailments that could be ignored without the risk of further complications.


A healthy digestive system is essential for your metabolism, immunity, and even the functioning of your brain. So, listen to your body. Respond to the signs it gives you - each repetitive pain, a rash, or inflammation should be consulted with a doctor. It's better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to something that may significantly affect your quality of life or even shorten it.


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