3 Ways Your Stomach Problems Can Affect Your Mouth

If you suffer from digestive disorders, your symptoms may include heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or pain. However, you might have other problems because certain gastrointestinal conditions and their treatments can also affect your oral health. If you have stomach problems and develop abnormalities of your gums, teeth, or tongue, see your family dentist. Here are three digestive disorders that may affect your mouth:

Acid Reflux

If you have acid reflux, you may experience heartburn, a dry cough, constant throat clearing, and difficulty swallowing. While these are the most common symptoms, you may also experience tooth enamel damage from acid erosion. Stomach acid can be refluxed into you upper digestive tract and when it makes contact with your teeth, it can destroy your tooth enamel.

This can heighten the risk for cavities or a tooth infection because when your enamel is not strong, bacteria and other pathogens can reach your pulp, causing caries and dental abscesses. If you have acid erosion, your dentist will discover it during a routine office visit; however, to help ensure that stomach acid stays where it's supposed to be, you'll need to see your physician who will recommend an effective treatment plan to manage your acid reflux. 


If you have a chronic condition that causes frequent diarrhea such as IBS-D, or irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, you may experience bouts of dehydration. This is especially true if you don't replace the fluids you've lost through frequent bowel movements. When you become dehydrated, the mucus membranes inside your mouth can become dry and sticky because dehydration can lead to diminished salivary flow.

While an occasional episode of dry mouth is little to worry about, dry mouth on a daily basis can put you at a greater risk to develop cavities and gum disease. Adequate salivary flow is very important to optimal oral health because it helps wash away the bacteria that can cause cavities and gingivitis.

If you have a persistent dry mouth because of frequent diarrhea, your dentist may prescribe an enzymatic mouthwash to help restore moisture to your oral cavity. Diarrhea medications can also cause a dry mouth, so if you take them to manage your symptoms, be sure to drink plenty of water. 

Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder that can lead to severe diarrhea and bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract. Not only does this condition cause problems with your lower digestive tract, but it can also lead to a systemic inflammatory response.

When you experience body-wide inflammation, you may develop swollen, bleeding gums. It is for this reason that people with Crohn's disease must maintain a proper oral hygiene routine and visit their dentists on a regular basis. To further improve your gum health if you have this disease, make sure you follow your primary physician's treatment plan that will help resolve systemic inflammation including that of your gum tissue. 

If you have any of the above digestive disorders, see a dental professional like Dr. Robert Petrtyl, as well as a physician on a regular basis. When you work with both your dentist and your family doctor, you are more likely to enjoy better gastrointestinal health as well as a healthy mouth.