Dental Issues after Weight Loss Surgery

Did you know your dental health can change after bariatric surgery? It’s true! Some people experience changes in their teeth after weight loss surgery for a number of reasons. This is still being studied and there is not much research out there on the subject, but it is definitely something you might hear about in the bariatric community. I have noticed a few changes with my dental health over the years after bariatric surgery and I think it is interesting to explore this topic.

There are a few reasons why dental changes can occur after bariatric surgery. The main reason is that we struggle with deficiencies and therefore it affects the health of our teeth. If you are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D, there is a chance your teeth might start to suffer. I don’t think I realized the severity of this until later on in my journey. We hear it all the time how important vitamins are after surgery, but sometimes I think we forget just how much it really can affect our overall health. Our teeth really do rely on nutrition to stay healthy and strong, so when we experience deficiencies, this can greatly affect them. I started to see more decay years after my procedure and it was really frustrating for a while. I have always struggled with cavities, but I feel like after weight loss surgery it just got worse. 

Another factor that can cause dental issues is acid reflux. This is one of the most common side effects for bariatric patients, especially for those that had gastric sleeve. When you have acid that comes up into your mouth and often causes vomiting, it can cause erosion. It is important that you get on the proper treatment for acid reflux so this does not cause you further issues after surgery. I was surprised to find out all the additional issues that acid reflux can cause, so make sure you do not ignore it if you are struggling with it. 

Although our bodies have many changes after bariatric surgery, it is important to remember that you are in control of your health. Knowing that you might struggle with deficiencies and acid reflux that could affect your teeth, I would encourage you to get more regular on your dental cleanings. I am the first to admit that I am awful with this and definitely go way too long sometimes in between appointments. You want to make sure that you are truly putting a focus on your health after bariatric surgery, and this includes keeping your teeth healthy and strong. 

I think it is important to note that for many other people, this is not an issue. Instead, sometimes patients see an increase in dental health because they are more aware of their hygiene and overall health. I do think that I started paying more attention to brushing and flossing after surgery, because I was making so many other healthy changes in my life. So, use this time to truly embrace your new healthy lifestyle and do not forget the little details such as your teeth!

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