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The effects of nausea on your oral health

Feeling nauseous is never a pleasant experience, unfortunately, it isn’t unavoidable in some cases.

A stomach bug, eating something that doesn’t agree with you, food poisoning, or another type of virus can all cause nausea. During and after the unpleasant experience, it is important to know how nausea can impact your oral health, as well as how to take care of your mouth when you’re ill.

Causes of nausea

There are a variety of causes of nausea. Pregnant women, for instance, are very likely to experience frequent bouts of morning sickness during early pregnancy. In some cases, women may have a more severe form of illness called hyperemesis gravidarum, which is characterised by extreme nausea and vomiting, sometimes throughout the entire pregnancy. Another possibility if you’re constantly feeling sick is an ongoing medical issue, such as gallbladder disease or ulcers.

If you are in a lot of pain, you may also be feeling nauseated. Stress or certain medications may cause this side effect. Motion sickness and seasickness may also cause you to feel sick to your stomach; however, these effects usually go away when you get off the boat or ride, or you remove yourself from the situation causing the sickness.

Some people actually experience nausea when they visit the dentist. This can be caused by the gag reflex being triggered during a procedure or stress from a past traumatic experience. If you have abscesses in your mouth or other forms of gum disease, the drainage of bacteria into your stomach may possibly be the culprit causing your nausea.

Vomiting and oral health

Whatever the reason for your sickness, you should take care of your oral health during bouts of sickness. The bile and acids from your stomach being expelled from your mouth can cause damage to your teeth, gums, and throat. It’s vital to take good care of your mouth, even when you are not feeling very well. After you vomit you should rinse your mouth with water followed by a mouthwash with fluoride. Brushing your teeth after you vomit may cause additional problems. Stomach acid weakens the enamel on your teeth, so brushing them right away can cause the enamel to erode. After you have stopped throwing up, wait a while before brushing your teeth with toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Frequent vomiting can have a negative effect on your oral health. Issues caused by this include:

  • Dryness
  • Sores
  • Redness of the mouth and tongue
  • Chronic sore throats
  • Erosion of the enamel

Erosion increases the risk of decay which causes cavities and sensitivity of the teeth.

When to see a doctor

If your nausea is a frequent occurrence, we suggest visiting a doctor who may be able to get to the bottom of the issue and perhaps prescribe some anti-nausea medication. If you have just recovered from an extended bout of nausea, you should make an appointment to visit your dentist to check the condition of your teeth. You may also wish to schedule a professional cleaning so that your teeth are in a clean and healthy state moving forward. Be sure to maintain good oral hygiene and practices even when you are feeling sick and you will minimise the risk or enamel erosion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I brush my teeth after I have been sick?

Brushing your teeth immediately after a bout of nausea may cause damage to your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and swish with some mouthwash containing fluoride. Wait a while and then brush your teeth.

Should I see the dentist if I am pregnant?

Yes. If you notify your dentist once you are pregnant, your dentist may be able to adjust certain treatments to suit your current state. Your dentist will also be aware of the risk of morning sickness and thus be able to give you sound advice on taking care of your oral health during this time.

What should I do if I am experiencing tooth decay due to nausea?

First things first: you will need to be able to determine the cause of your nausea in order to treat it. Visit your doctor if you are experiencing frequent bouts of nausea. Once you have determined the reason and found a suitable treatment for your nausea, make an appointment to visit your dentist to treat any erosion or decay that might have occurred as a result.

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