The link between good oral health and good overall health has been discussed and found to be very strong. But what about other illnesses and their impact on your teeth? Did you realize that your teeth can suffer because of another illness?
The Impact of Stomach Acid
When someone has stomach flu or bulimia and they vomit, the juices from the stomach bathe the teeth and gums in acid. These acids do a wonderful job of helping the foods we eat break down but when it is on our teeth and gums, there can be problems. The main stomach acid is hydrochloric acid. When hydrochloric acid is splashed on teeth and gums it can break down or soften enamel and it can break down or burn our gums.
It is extremely important that after vomiting you rinse your mouth with water. In a perfect world, you’d rinse your mouth with 1 teaspoon of baking soda, to help neutralize any acid that is left in your mouth. But wait at least an hour to brush your teeth, because brushing your teeth immediately can actually increase damage done to the enamel.
The Impact of Sore Throat or Cough Drops
There is a multitude of sore throat or cough drops on the market, but many of us are choosing to try to find more “natural” approaches. The problem with natural cough/throat drops is that most of them have sugar or honey as the main ingredient. These sugars do a good job of masking the taste of the medicines, but while you’re sucking on the cough drop all day long, your teeth are being bathed in sugar. We have even seen some people who tuck the drop between their teeth and their cheek develop cavities where the lozenge is lodged.
Choose a sugar-free option in order to minimize the impact on your oral health.
The Impact of Diabetes on Oral Health
Poorly controlled diabetes can reduce blood supply to the gums. Almost 22% of those diagnosed with diabetes also have periodontal disease. This gum disease can result in increased decay, tooth loss, and further infection. And as with any infection, blood sugar can rise, leading to a cycle of infection, decay, and further infection. Many people with diabetes also have dry mouths, which can lead to an increase in dental issues.
If you are diabetic, be sure to let Dr. Chiappetta, Dr. Haugstad, or your dental hygienist know, so that we can discuss with you how you can best take care of your oral health.