The Relationship Between Healthy Teeth and Digestion

Healthy teeth and dietThe process of digesting your food begins the moment food hits your mouth. As a whole, the digestive system transports and processes food to facilitate the absorption of key vitamins and minerals by your body. Your teeth play an important role in this process. Keeping your teeth healthy benefits your entire body and its ability to digest food, explain the dentists at Grinnell Street Dentistry. If your teeth cannot perform their most basic duties, it may be time to ask your dentist about fillings or dental crowns in Sheridan, WY.

The Digestive Process

When food enters your mouth, salivary amylase, an enzyme, sets to work breaking down the carbohydrates contained within each bite. Your saliva also moistens each mouthful so that it can be easily transported down the pharynx, then into the stomach. Of course, the process continues on until the food is eliminated from your body, but we’ll focus on the most dental-friendly aspects of digestion.
Your teeth are specialized to allow for efficient digestion, achieving this with four distinctive type of teeth. The shovel-shaped, sharpest teeth are your incisors. These teeth bite and cut food, then push it backward. The canines, which you find in the corners of the mouth, feature extended roots to allow for tearing and grasping. Next, premolars crush food with their flat chewing surface. Finally, the molars in the back of your mouth chew and grind each bite using their flat, large chewing surface. These teeth in particular are likely to develop cavities if not cared for.

Oral Health Problems That Interfere With Digestion

Anything that interferes with your teeth and their ability to process food will inevitably interfere with proper digestion. For example, a missing tooth can cause adjacent teeth to drift out of alignment, which then affects their strength and stability. A painful toothache might compel you to avoid healthy, crisp foods like vegetables, turning instead toward soft, unhealthy foods that lack fiber and slow your digestion. Without sufficient nutrient intake, your teeth and gums are more likely to develop infections and decay, further compounding the problem.
Fortunately, preventing these problems is often as simple as practicing good hygiene and seeing your Grinnell Street dentist twice a year for cleaning and exams. Floss daily, and brush your teeth a minimum of twice daily. Reduce plaque buildup with anti-microbial mouthwash, such as Listerine, and adopt a healthy diet that minimizes excess starches and sugars. Not only will these steps protect your teeth and gums; in doing so, they also aid digestion.
About Your Sheridan Dentists
Questions about our Sheridan, WY dentist office? To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, contact us at (307) 672-7567. We welcome residents of Sheridan, Gillette, Billings, Miles City, and the neighboring communities.