5 medical conditions that can affect your oral health

acid reflux and oral health

Your body isn’t a bunch of separate systems, all doing their own thing. It’s more like a giant jigsaw, with everything coming together to make a whole. If any pieces are missing, it affects the overall picture, and no one wants an incomplete jigsaw puzzle! With all these different parts leading to, depending on, or affecting one another, it’s no surprise that your oral health can be a victim of some other malady in the body.

We’ve listed 5 medical conditions which can have an adverse effect on your dental hygiene.


Diabetes is when glucose levels in the blood are too high, resulting in a myriad of medical complications, one of which is gum disease.

Nearly a quarter of people with diabetes also have gum disease, a result of bacteria building up in your mouth, infecting your gums, and damaging the tissue which holds your teeth in place.

Your mouth also contains a fungus called Candida, which is normally kept in check by your saliva, but diabetes also results in your saliva becoming packed with sugars, which enable the fungus to feed and grow.

When it gets out of hand, it becomes a condition known as Oral Thrush, showing up as creamy/white lesions on the tongue and cheeks, sometimes spreading to the roof of the mouth or back of the throat.

If you have diabetes, your dentist has the training and experience necessary to assess your oral health and to determine a course of treatment that is best for you.

Blood pressure and oral health

High blood pressure

If you’re one of the 34% of Australians with this dangerous condition, you might have something new to worry about. Blood pressure medication can come with the side-effects which include gingival enlargement, a condition in which your gums swell and start to grow over your teeth.

Experts agree there is some correlation between heart disease and oral health, but they are unsure about the details. While people with poor oral health have a higher chance of a heart attack, they’re not yet tied this together with conclusive evidence, but inflammation is common in both diseases.

Acid reflux

If you suffer from acid reflux, your dentist might well know before your doctor.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, to give it its full name, is when your stomach acid works its way up your oesophagus and into your throat and mouth. The powerful hydrochloric acid dissolves the enamel of your back teeth, eroding them until serious problems arise.

The problem with acid reflux is that brushing your teeth might actually do more harm. A toothbrush’s hard bristles might damage the enamel which has been softened by the acid, so it’s best to wait an hour before brushing. To prevent night-time reflux, don’t eat anything a few hours before bed, and avoid triggers like alcohol, caffeine, or anything acidic.

Chronic kidney disease

Kidney disease also influences your oral health. Your kidneys filter your blood, removing waste and toxins. If they start to break down, you will begin to breathe out those toxins instead, resulting in a breath that smells fishy, or like ammonia.

Kidney disease can also result in a dry mouth, loss of bone in the jaw, problems with chewing, an increase in plaque and gum disease, inflammation of the mouth and salivary glands, and tooth loss.

Bulimia and oral health

Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa

Bulimia and anorexia are incredibly serious eating disorders, leading to extreme weight loss and eventually death.

Obviously, if you stop eating, your body doesn’t receive the vital nutrients it needs, leading to health breakdowns which includes your oral health.

Without proper sustenance, your body starts to shut down, your gums will become infected, and your teeth will eventually fall out. On top of that, someone suffering from bulimia may binge eat and then vomit. Just like the acid reflux, your tooth enamel will erode and weaken, causing everything from loose teeth to bad breath.

Have an oral health check-up with us

Whether you suffer from any of the above conditions or not, it’s always a good idea to have a check-up with your dentist.

Here at SDAI, from the moment you walk in through the door, our aim is to make you feel relaxed and calm, focusing on your comfort more than anything else.

Remember, prevention is better than cure, so if we spot something early, then we can treat it before it becomes a serious problem.

And if you do suffer from any of the conditions mentioned or you are on medication, then stay on top of your oral health with regular dental check-ups.

Contact us today if you would like to make an appointment with us. Our friendly receptionist will be happy to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.