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World Oral Health Unified Week: How Does Frequent Vomiting Affect Oral Health? Ways To Prevent Teeth Damage

Every year from 25 March to 31 March, World Oral Health Unified Week is celebrated. The objective of the month is to educate community members, especially children and parents the importance of dental health and how they can take effective measures to prevent the risk of oral diseases.

Oral health is an important factor, especially if you have conditions such as eating disorders that lead to frequent vomiting.

In this article, we will discuss how vomiting affects your teeth and how you can prevent damage to your teeth due to the condition.

How Does Vomiting Affect The Dental Health?

Frequent episodes of vomiting or gastric regurgitation can affect the teeth in many ways. Some of the causes of vomiting may include motion sickness, indigestion, GERD, food poisoning, pregnancy, stomach infection, stomach or gallbladder disease, and many more.

When a person vomits, the gastric juice or stomach acids mixed with vomit reaches the oral cavity through the oesophagus and wear away the tooth enamel. [1] The stomach acid is good for digestion as it helps break down the food for easy digestion, but when it reaches the mouth, due to its corrosive nature, it wears away the enamel or outer protective layer of the tooth.

With frequent episodes of vomiting, the damage done to the teeth is severe, leading to serious damage to the teeth and dental complications like dental erosion, cavity, yellow tooth, tooth decay, brittle tooth, bad smell, dry mouth, mouth sores and bleeding gums. [2]

How To Prevent Teeth Damage Due To Vomiting?

1. Use baking soda

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate shows promising results in effectively removing vomit debris from the mouth and reducing the risk of plaque. It is known to be an alkaline substance and may help neutralise acids in the mouth, thus preventing tooth decay and bacteria in the mouth. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in some water, swish the mouth and spit out. [3]

2. Rinse with clean water

The safest way to wash out vomit content from the mouth is water. Soon after vomiting, a person must rinse the mouth with water and spit out the saliva. This helps wash away the stomach acids left in the mouth and may help keep oral health good. [4]

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3. Use mouth rinses

Most mouth rinses contain the main ingredient fluoride which has beneficial effects on the oral health of humans. A study has shown that fluoride-containing mouth rinses may help clean the least accessible areas of the mouth and pits of the teeth. You can also apply toothpaste as it also contains fluoride, however, toothpaste has high viscosity compared to mouth rises and may not be able to reach various areas of the mouth. [5]

4. Avoid eating acidic foods

Acidic foods such as sugar, grains, processed foods, dairy, soda, sweet beverages and meat products may add to the damage caused due to vomit and increase the risk of dental erosion. Therefore, one must avoid the consumption of the aforementioned foods items for a few days after vomiting.

What Not To Do

1. Brushing

Brushing is a good habit to maintain oral hygiene, however, brushing soon after vomiting may cause vomit particles to spread all over the teeth and also, cause the enamel to erode more.

2. Oil pulling

Oil pulling or swishing oil in the mouth can help kill harmful oral bacteria and prevent the risk of cavities, however, doing it soon after vomiting can make you nauseous and increase the frequency of vomiting.

To Conclude

Dental health is an indication of good overall health. If you have a frequent vomiting problem, must try the aforementioned ways to reduce its effect on the teeth. Also, don't forget to consult a medical expert to know about the causes of vomiting if it's too frequent.

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