Oral Health and Leaky Gut: The Surprising Connections

Helping dental professionals recognize the interconnectedness between oral health, the gastrointestinal (GI) system, and overall wellness is my passion. As dental clinicians, it’s imperative to understand these connections because what happens in the mouth doesn’t stay in the mouth. Numerous health issues can be detected by educated and observant dental professionals—thus alerting patients to avoidable negative health consequences down the road.

Does bad oral health affect the rest of the body?

Yes, in a variety of ways. The mouth is constantly revealing the state of oral health, but also what is happening in other parts of your body. Bacteria and fungus (such as Candida albicans) which are commonly found in the mouth also travel to the GI system and throughout the body. When overgrowth occurs, it interferes with the balance of the microbiome in the gut, causing “leaky gut.”

What is leaky gut and why should we care?

Leaky gut affects the integrity of our GI tract, where our food contents, nutrients, microbiota, and much more are processed. Leaky gut is also known as intestinal permeability. This condition breaks down the intestinal lining, allowing undigested food particles to enter the body, causing the immune system to attack the foreign invaders. Additionally, Candida albicans overgrowth can morph, grow a tail, and pierce the intestinal lining, among other organs, thereby entering the blood stream. Autoimmune diseases and food sensitivities are common results.

How do you know you have leaky gut?

The most common complaints signaling intestinal permeability are gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and acid reflux. But even symptoms like brain fog, headaches, skin issues, and food sensitivities can be clues. Autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, diabetes, asthma, and various connective tissue disorders have also been associated with leaky gut.

Does the food I eat cause leaky gut?

Dietary factors influence what happens in the GI system. Medications, stress, refined sugars, food additives, gluten, and dairy can be problematic. Most processed foods should be avoided for this reason. Even alcohol can affect your gut health.

Can we test for leaky gut or Candida?

OralDNA® Labs offers a non-invasive salivary test to help detect Candida, including C.albicans. It’s easy to use, administered chairside or at home, and the results come back with suggested courses of action. This is a great resource for our patients.

 How I can help you.

As a functional medicine nutritionist, I begin by removing foods known for their potential inflammatory response—replacing them with more calming foods. Then I run stool testing to show us what kind of bacterial terrain and balance you have, check for digestive organ functionality, and for dysbiosis. These clues guide us in helping you reestablish your biome and begin taking back your health. I understand the importance of digging deep, gathering the clues, and planning for the best, long-term health outcomes.

If you’re tired of chasing symptoms and want to discover and repair root causes, my expertise can enhance your patient care. Find me at www.holisticdigestivesolutions.com and let me help you resolve your health issues.

For more information on how to become an OralDNA Provider – scan HERE:

Karen Thomas MSc, CNS®, LN, ND, RDH BS, FDN-P, CHHC
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