Choosing to undergo gastric bypass surgery is a life-changing decision that can put you on the road toward a healthier happier life. However, there are a lot of things you will need to research before you schedule your surgery, including a few other health factors you may not have thought of. For example; your ability to maintain optimal dental health will be a significant piece of the puzzle that you should know about before having surgery.
Did you know that patients who undergo bypass surgery are often at an increased risk of developing systemic and oral complications? Patients are required to change their diet significantly, which can sometimes cause side effects that would require changes in their regular oral care.
As the result of a gastric bypass surgery, ingested food bypasses the duodenum and the first portion of the jejunum, which are main absorption sites for the body.
Since these areas are bypassed, many patients run into mineral malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies. Some patients will also experience a protein deficiency which may mean brittle hair, skin rash, lethargy, and slow healing. These types of deficiencies are difficult on the body in many ways, including a subsequent increased risk for periodontal diseases.
Step 1: Before undergoing gastric bypass surgery, talk to your dentist about getting dental sealants on your teeth. This can help protect your teeth from increases in acidity and decay as a result of changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Step 2: In order to combat negative changes in your oral and overall health, gastric bypass patients are advised to eat three portions of dairy, two portions of meat, and five portions of vegetables, legumes, and fruits each day.
Step 3: Eating smaller portions of food several times a day rather than eating large portions only a few times a day may make your teeth more susceptible to increased plaque build-up. To eliminate steady plaque accumulation, you should brush and floss your teeth several times a day and use topical fluorides on a daily basis. Talk to your dentist about which one you should use.
Step 4: Avoiding significant carbohydrate intake is important for patients who recently underwent gastric bypass surgery. Soft foods that are higher in calories may be easier to digest, but they are harder on your mouth and teeth and can cause your salivary pH to decrease. This can lead to periodontal issues.
Step 5: Limited stomach capacity and changes in digestion and absorption means patients often require vitamin and mineral supplementation to maintain certain health levels. There is a wide variety of supplementation options, including multi-vitamins, calcium citrate, iron, and B12, Vitamin D, probiotics, and B vitamins. Your surgeon or nutrition specialist should provide you with specific recommendations and guidelines for taking supplements.
Step 6: Be sure you stay on top of your dental visits. Consult with the hygienist and the dentist to get a well-rounded nutritional support plan. This will help you improve your oral hygiene and reduce your risk for periodontal disease and other common problems.
As with any surgery, there are always risks and potential complications. But if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure, gastric bypass surgery is worth it.
Speak with your surgeon and dentist if you have additional questions about how the surgery will affect your oral care.
Sara Thompson has been blogging on health and lifestyle topics since 2007. This article was written with help from the WeightWise Bariatric Program in Oklahoma.