Why Bariatric Surgery May Damage Your Dental Health

The complications and dietary instructions that come with bariatric surgery can have detrimental effects on your teeth. If you are planning for the surgery, here are two sources of the dental complications you should be wary of:

The Need to Eat Several Meals Each Day

After your bariatric surgery, your doctor will advise you to go on a special diet to help you heal and aid your weight loss efforts. Although the diet is staged and customized for each person, it involves eating many small meals and sipping fluids throughout the day.

Unfortunately, eating throughout the day can wreck your dental health if you aren't careful. It means that bits of food will remain on your teeth longer, giving bacteria the chance to feed on them. What is more, during one phase of the diet, you won't be allowed to drink fluids immediately after eating (you have to wait at least 30 minutes). This means you can't drink water to wash away the bits of food.

Therefore, it's essential to maintain a high degree of oral hygiene at this time by brushing and flossing without fail. You can also rinse your mouth after every meal as long as you spit out the water. Chewing sugarless gum will also help clean your mouth; sugar is bad for your teeth, and sugary foods aren't advisable for this diet.

The Increased Risk of Vomiting

There is also the issue of nausea and vomiting, which is common after the surgery. It's possible to reduce vomiting incidences by adhering strictly to your postoperative dietary instructions such as:

  • Chewing food meticulously
  • Avoiding drinks during meals
  • Eating undisturbed

Apart from noncompliance with the dietary instructions, anastomotic ulcers (ulcers due to the connection of the gastrointestinal vessels) may also induce vomiting.

Whatever is causing your vomiting episodes, the acid in the vomit isn't good for your teeth. The acids erode your teeth's enamel and increase their susceptibility to bacterial attack and cavity formation. Such eroded teeth also tend to be hypersensitive. Therefore, in addition to working with your doctor to reduce your nausea, use these measures to avoid the effect of the acids on your teeth:

  • Don't brush immediately after vomiting because the bristles will erode your teeth further.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after vomiting.
  • Don't forget to brush and floss daily.

Therefore, follow your doctor's advice to the letter and maintain a high level of oral hygiene to keep your teeth healthy. Tell your dentist about the surgery so that they can help you avoid the complications.