Nutrition and oral health are closely linked throughout your lifetime. The mouth is the mirror of your body, say holistic dentists, and they are right – you can’t be healthy until your mouth is healthy! The mouth is the gateway to the respiratory and digestive systems, so if you think breathing, sleeping and eating is important then a healthy mouth is of great importance.

While teeth and gum disease are often considered a local (mouth) problem, holistic medicine and dentistry, with the help of modern research, are showing that is not the case. There is growing clinical evidence that even small infections in your mouth may be a contributing/ causing factor to everything from arterial plaque, diabetes, stroke, to preterm births.

How? When you have infection in the mouth, the harmful bacteria takes over and travel through the bloodstream (entering via bleeding gums for example) from teeth to toes causing chronic inflammation in and damage to organs and tissues.

By examining the mouth (via tongue analysis) and asking questions about oral health (any amalgam fillings, bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, headaches, poor sleep) naturopaths gain insights into the state of health of their patients. When you are healthy, the ‘bad’ bacteria in the mouth (and they’re always there) are prevented from spreading by the saliva, which has germ-killing properties.

But if your immune system is weakened, the bacteria proliferate rapidly overwhelming the defences and the disease can take hold.

Bottom line – a strong immune system means healthy teeth and gums.

Nutritional deficiencies are very detrimental to oral health

Eating and sleeping poorly, living in constant stress and not exercising regularly all contribute to an impaired immune system and, ultimately, dental infection. Indeed, most dental problems are results of nutritional deficiencies (mostly of specific minerals, vitamins and antioxidants). For example, quite often an improper diet causes an imbalance in the calcium-phosphorus ratio and thus allows harmful bacteria to grow and thrive.

Having too much food containing phosphorus (such as soft drinks) creates an acidic environment in the mouth, which is paradise for harmful bacteria. Only a nutrient rich, alkaline diet can change the chemistry of the body (and the mouth) so that bacterial populations go back to normal and the balance is restored naturally and permanently (as long as you eat well, of course!).

Also, the mouth is the beginning of the digestive system. Consequently, if you have infection in the mouth it’s impossible for the digestive system to be healthy. In naturopathic medicine, gum and teeth diseases are considered to be warning symptoms, and by dealing with them methodically, holistic dentistry combined with naturopathic nutrition will help you to reduce and/ or eliminate major health problems before they occur, or reverse the existing ones.

Cavities – the result of poor nutrition and lifestyle

Cavities are infections in the mouth. You don’t get tooth decay if you are healthy, your immune system is worki