The Mouth

If you’re anything like me, the first thing you think of when people mention the digestive system is the stomach. After all, that’s where the bulk of the actual digesting goes on, right? Well, yes – there’s a lot happening in there, but it’s actually only the third stage of the digestive system. The second is the esophagus/throat, but the starting point is all the way up in your mouth.

From the first moment a piece of food enters your body, you get to work digesting it. In the mouth, this involves two separate elements. There are your teeth, physically breaking the food down into smaller, swallowable pieces. Then there’s your saliva, which is full of enzymes that are particularly good at breaking down starch, and to a lesser extent, fat. It also has a lubricating role in making food easier to swallow.

Saliva can even help your oral hygiene, reducing the risk of disease or damage to your teeth and gums. As we’ve just established, looking after your teeth is an important part of digestive health. Keeping them clean and going to the dentist is all part of keeping your digestive system working.

The most obvious way to take care of your teeth is to brush them twice a day, preferably with an electric toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride. Then there’s interdental cleaning, with floss or special brushes that can fit in the narrow gaps between your teeth when a standard brush would be too large. Dentists can help you make sure you’re practicing the best oral hygiene, spot possible problems early and intervene when something needs to be fixed. They may even be able to warn you if you’re developing something as serious as mouth cancer.

Tooth loss can happen because of decay (often caused by bacteria), gum disease, drug use, accidents or trauma, and even pregnancy. When it’s a genetic disorder, there’s not much you can do, but most of these things can be avoided if you take proper care of your teeth. Losing your teeth isn’t the end of the world. Dentures, or false teeth, can be fitted on a fixed or removable basis and will allow you to chew and smile in a similar way to normal.

So, if you’re looking to improve your digestive health, start with your mouth. That’s where it all begins!

Related Posts

Gut Health Test

There’s increasing awareness that our gut health isn’t just important when digesting food, but can also be a significant indicator of what’s happening in the rest of our body. If issues in the gut can act as early warning signs of wider health problems, then a gut health test is obviously a valuable investment. That

Read More »


If you’re a sufferer of IBS or other digestive problems, you may have encountered the concept of the low-FODMAP diet. What exactly are FODMAPs and why are they important? They’ve been linked to all kinds of digestion-related symptoms, so it may help to know exactly what we mean. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for

Read More »

Herbs And Spices

Sometimes you just need to add a bit of extra spice to your food. It’s not about the health benefits – at least, they’re not usually the first things on your mind. You just want better flavors. If certain spices can actually improve your gut health, boosting some of those good bacteria down there, that’s

Read More »
Scroll to Top