A piece of Orbit gum isn’t enough to clean up your dirty mouth — and if you don’t clean your teeth well enough, the billions of bacteria you’re allowing to grow can end up in your gut. Food, water, and saliva travel through your mouth and pick up germs, depositing them in your stomach. And trust us, your gut does not want that bacteria.
According to a recent study, the unwelcome bacteria could cause inflammation and, as a result, painful and unwelcome consequences for your digestion.
So not wanting to spend two minutes in the bathroom brushing your teeth before bed could cost you way more time on the toilet later — or, the most dreaded indigestion symptom of them all: bloating.
Researchers recently noticed that oral bacteria were more prevalent in the poop of patients with bowel diseases such as Crohn’s or colitis. Theorizing that there was a connection between poor oral hygiene and digestive issues, they tested their hypothesis on a group of mice.
They found that saliva from patients with Crohn’s disease caused worse gut inflammation than saliva from a healthy person’s mouth. The same was true for saliva from patients with colitis.
Patients with digestive disorders already deal with stomach inflammation — which the researchers theorize provides an inviting home for oral bacteria to thrive in the gut. With approximately 10 to 15 percent of people currently suffering from a digestive disorder in the United States alone, this revelation could prove promising for those wondering how to mitigate their painful symptoms.
Researchers admit that further investigation is needed before the findings can be generalized to patients who don’t already experience inflammation of the gut — but many Americans experience minute episodes of inflammation from food intolerances, food additives, and other causes.
So the best way to use this information to help your body is to keep your mouth clean, just in case some inflammatory food makes its way onto your plate.