AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

For those who are obese or struggle to maintain a healthy weight weight loss procedure and surgeries are very tangible options to increase your health. Unfortunately if you aren’t cautious you dental health could suffer at the hands of your procedure. Below you will find some of the most common dental effects of rapid (surgical) weight loss and wome ways you can protect your dental health.

Periodontal disease

The immune systems of overweight and obese people secrete more of the chemicals that raise the risk of periodontal disease. Many nutritional deficiencies are experienced post-surgery which put bone health at risk and can leave you vulnerable to periodontal disease. These conditions are specifically for those who have had a major weight loss in a short amount of time as occurs in weight loss surgeries and procedures.

Dental Erosion

Perhaps the most common side effects of post-surgical weight loss is an increased acidity level in the mouth—largely due in part to vomiting and gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Specifically with weight loss surgeries, 79% of patients reported vomiting as the most frequent symptom, caused by food’s inability to pass through the stomach properly.  The teeth are then over-exposed to caustic gastric juices with dangerous pH levels. They can then begin to dissolve in structure which dentists call erosion, “dissolution of dental tissues by chemical process without bacterial involvement.” The vomiting can also cause ulcers, damage to the esophagus and an increased risk of dental erosive lesions and hypersensitivity. This is easily prevented by making wise food choices, consuming small meals, and seeking out therapies or treatment specifically catered toward re-mineralization.

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Vitamin D deficiency

Your bones (and your teeth) are at risk because Vitamin D deficiency can develop in as little as 8 weeks after the surgery or rapid weight loss. As you continue to lose weight certain hormone levels rise while others decrease leading to a negative impact on your bones. Extremely low levels of Vitamin D can strip calcium from the bones which could result in weakening your teeth’s attachments (roots) and possibly cause tooth loss. To combat this, eat foods that are high in vitamin D such as eggs, fish, and fortified cereals.

Dental Carries

After certain weight loss procedures, specifically bariatric surgery, patients are placed on a very strict diet that requires frequent ingestion of a variety of foods throughout the day. Because they have to eat so frequently they have an increased risk of plaque buildup. Many tend to ignore the prescribed diet and consume foods that are soft and subsequently calorie dense which increases their risk of dental carries. Eating more nuts, spinach, seafood and soy will stave off decay-producing bacteria and reduce the acid levels in the mouth.

Medication Side Effects

Following a weight loss procedure, patients are generally prescribed several medications to compliment the procedure and make them comfortable, but side effects occur that can be trouble for your oral health. A major condition is Mucositis which is chronic irritation and inflammation and really dry mouth. Saliva is essential in neutralizing oral acids and a dry mouth can lead to halitosis, trouble swallowing, altered taste and a decrease of proteins and minerals in your mouth. To lessen the effects of dry mouth look into re-mineralizing dental pastes, and apply antibacterial solutions to reduce plaque. Also saliva stimulants are a great help in reducing the influence of prescription medicines on the mouth.

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About the author: Dr. Mina Tadros is a Houston dentist and the head of Tadros Dental in Katy, Texas. Tadros Dental offers a full range of dental services ranging from general and cosmetic to restorative dentistry as well as orthodontic services.


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