On topic with Dr. Dill: 

It’s time for a gut check (literally) about your oral health

It may be called gut health, but the state of your gut actually concerns your whole body. Your gut is linked to oral health issues like gum disease and other conditions such as anxiety and depression. It’s even been associated with autoimmune diseases, when the body attacks its own healthy tissues.

Maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria is the key to good gut health. The bacteria in your gut help your body digest food, absorb nutrients, keep your pH balanced and defend against diseases. Your gut also plays a critical role in your body’s immune response. Your gut and mouth can become unhealthy when you’re under a lot of stress, not getting enough sleep or eating too much sugar. Signs of an unhealthy gut may include an upset stomach, weight changes, insomnia, heartburn or diarrhea.

About one in five Americans has a digestive disease such as acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome.

An unhealthy gut can’t do its job of protecting and defending the rest of your body, including your mouth. That’s because bad bacteria in your gut or mouth can spread to other areas of your body and increase your risk of health problems including heart, respiratory and autoimmune diseases.

Improve your gut and oral health


Stay hydrated with water.

This will help balance the good bacteria in your gut and keep your mouth clean.


Eat fruits and vegetables.

Packed with fiber, produce can lower inflammation, benefitting your gut and mouth.


Try probiotics.

Taken as a supplement or eaten in foods such as yogurt, these can help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria.


Exercise daily.

Moving your body can help you avoid stress-related problems such as stomach pain and teeth grinding.


Get enough sleep.

Allowing your body to recharge is good for all aspects of your health.


If you’re experiencing acid reflux or other discomfort in your gut, check with your physician or dentist for a solution that's right for you.


1National Institutes of Health

Meet Joseph Dill, DDS, Delta Dental’s Vice President of Dental Science and Network Strategy. With more than 30 years of experience in the dental field, including eight in private practice and 16 in dental insurance, Dr. Dill provides expert insights and helpful advice to keep you smiling bright.