Oral hygiene could possibly be the missing link in optimizing your health. If you are suffering from unexplained problems like joint pain, concentration problems, depression, irritable bowels, recurring infections and brain fog, it might be your teeth.
Teeth are not just rocks in your mouth. They are living organs!
They have nerves and a blood supply, and touch everything you put into your mouth. Everything that touches your teeth, gums, and cheeks gets absorbed into the body. In a society that is obsessed with simply white teeth, we often forget there is much more to a healthy mouth.
Chronic low-grade infection can contribute to many issues. We have talked about systemic inflammation before. There is local inflammation like when you hit your thumb with a hammer. Then there is overall body inflammation at the cellular level. Long-term chronic infection or exposure to toxins (like mercury, fluoride, food colorings, Xenoestrogens) can contribute to this. Pinpointing the cause is hard since it can take a long time to express symptoms.
Your depression or IBS could be caused by an unhealthy gut, caused by gut dysbiosis, caused by lack of healthy gut flora, caused by fluoride consumption – all from using conventional toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water.
Why do we need to be so careful about which chemicals touch our insides? Nearly every chemical that controls the brain is also located in the stomach region, including hormones and neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Glutamate, GABA and Norepinephrine. The gut contains 100 million neurons – more than the spinal cord. But there are also two-dozen small brain proteins; major cells of the immune system; one class of the body’s natural opiates; and native benzodiazepines. The gut, known as the enteric nervous system, is located in sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon, and plays a key role in human emotions. But few know the enteric nervous system exists, and therefore gut health is often overlooked. Symptoms from the two brains can get confused, and just as the brain can upset the gut, the gut can also upset the brain.
I have to admit, I have been blessed with almost perfect teeth. They are white, straight, and I’ve never had a cavity in my life. I am sure much of it is genetics. I do however have a rigorous oral hygiene routine of flossing, brushing, water pick, and more flossing. I grew up in Calgary where the water was fluoridated and I also got extra fluoride via drops when I was a kid. That was just what people did. It did create very strong white teeth, but unbeknownst to me, this can create severe problems later in life. Fluoride can create such a tight barrier, that cavities fester within the tooth without the dentist seeing them. These long-term low-level infections can wreak havoc on the immune system. I’ve been lucky, but many people have severe health problems now because of fluoride toxicity or mercury poisoning from fillings.
The trend in the last few years is to remove mercury fillings. Unless done in an almost Hazmat-like environment, where the mercury is treated as a hazardous material, this can sometimes make things worse. The patient, dentist, and hygienists are exposed to mercury off-gassing during the procedure. If you have mercury fillings and want to get them removed, be sure to seek a dentist that specializes in this. Biological Dentistry and Holistic Dentistry is what you would search for. Make sure all fillings are “amalgam free”. Sometimes it may be worse to have them removed. There is a special meter which can measure how much off-gassing is happening. I compare it to asbestos. Asbestos buried within a wall is not an issue, but once it becomes airborne, then it wreaks havoc on the lungs.
A Holistic Dentist will tell you what you should already know:
- Brush twice a day and after meals if you can.
- Floss daily – it’s best to floss after brushing so you don’t push plaque/dirt into the gums.
- Change your toothbrush regularly. Keep it away from the toilet in a cabinet.
- Rinse your mouth after drinking tea, coffee, colas etc.
- Consider using a non-fluoride base toothpaste. If you can’t make a complete switch, then use the fluoride toothpaste in the morning and natural toothpaste at night.
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods, as close to nature as much as possible.
- Limit sugar to a minimum.
- Meditate or use relaxation methods to reduce stress-induced TMJ (jaw pain) and teeth grinding.
A healthy diet plays a major role in teeth health. Weston A. Price, a dentist in the early 1900’s, was called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition”. He postulated that modern children, teenagers, and adults suffer tooth decay, tooth loss, tooth abscess, along with malformations of the maxillary and mandibular bones that result in crooked teeth because of the ingestion of excess sugar and grains.
Lastly, it’s important that you protect your teeth from injury. Think of how much time and effort you have invested in your teeth over a lifetime. If you play contact sports like hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer and even non-contact sports like ultimate or downhill skiing, a mouth guard is a solid investment.
Oral hygiene is not something we give a lot of thought to, besides our own personal routine. You will not see articles on fitness websites on this topic, but complete health means you care for your entire body, not just what people see on the outside. So, take your 3 minutes both morning and night to brush your teeth thoroughly and you’ll have healthy chompers well into your 90’s.
Unabashedly educating you on how you can win in life with your fitness, sleep, diet, and stress management.