Did you know that there exists a relationship between oral health and nutrition? Studies have found oral health (the state of your mouth), to be associated with weight loss as well as the acquisition and utilization of nutrients we get from our food.  Diet and nutrition are major contributors to oral health if you look after one it will likely impact the other.  

When we consume food (nutrients), it affects the health of the tissues in the mouth, however, the health of the mouth also directly affects the nutrients consumed! The American Dental Association, calls this a bidirectional relationship.”

Digestion of food begins in the mouth. Once you put a piece of food or drink into your mouth, your salivary glands jump into action! So, the breakdown of food, starts in the mouth; have you started connecting the lines already? Once your mouth is involved in digesting food, it is safe to say that your teeth also play a big role, in the breakdown of food. It aids in the tearing, grinding, and cutting of food, that enters your mouth. From the mouth, food moves down to the esophagus and then to the stomach. This means that whatever mode or state your mouth is in at the time of ingesting food automatically lands in your stomach. If you have good oral health, your stomach (guts) are safe, however, if you’ve poor oral health, this could stop you from being able to chew properly, hence, being at risk for nutrition-related medical conditions. 

CONSEQUENCE OF POOR ORAL HEALTH ON NUTRITIONAL STATUS 

Poor oral health has a negative impact on food intake and nutritional status when the capacity to chew and eat is reduced. People with oral disorders such as dental caries, periodontal diseases, gum disease, and the like, are at high risk of malnutrition. 

If you do not take care of your dentition and your mouth as a whole, you probably aren’t getting enough nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. This is primarily because, if you have a lot of tooth decay, bleeding gum, or any form of discomfort in the mouth, eating may be painful and not enjoyable at all. As a result, you may avoid eating as much as possible or you may stick to eating only certain foods, which may not provide your body with the necessary nutrients it needs. 

Also, some studies suggest that the bacteria in gum diseases, which occurs as a result of not keeping good oral health, can easily be transferred to the gut, thereby affecting immunity and nutrient absorption. 

WHAT TO DO

So, to keep your teeth healthy and achieve proper absorption of nutrients, as well as a healthy weight, you are advised to have regular visits to your dentists’ to check your teeth. Also, eat a healthy diet rich in protein, fruits and vegetables, calcium, and whole grains. Limit sugary foods and beverages, and brush your teeth and tongue twice daily. 

REMEMBER, THE STATE OF YOUR MOUTH CAN DIRECTLY AFFECT YOUR WEIGHT AND NUTRITION!

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