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 working well and your nutrition is good. It’s when you are poorly nourished, by eating too much processed and devitalised food and not enough foods high in vital nutrients, many body functions are disrupted and imbalances occur, leading to disease development.
Most people know that eating too many sweets and sticky foods will contribute to tooth decay. But what these foods and drinks are doing to you from the inside is much worse. They rob the minerals and vitamins from the body causing nutrient deficiencies and other serious imbalances that affect all body systems, including the immune system as sugar suppresses white blood cells of the immune system that fight all type of infections.
Gum disease is strongly linked to poor nutrition
Gum disease impacts not only the mouth but the low grade inflammation present causes chronic inflammation and infections that can exist anywhere in the body. According to scientific studies, if you have gum disease you triple the rate of getting a stroke and double the risk of heart disease.
From the naturopathic perspective gum disease is seen as the first and reliable sign of nutritional deficiencies, most often associated with digestive and detoxification problems, and high acidity manifesting in many conditions.
What, when and how much you eat become important considerations. Supplementation is also very helpful in correcting any imbalances faster and in dealing with a lack of specific nutrients.
The more advanced state of gum disease—periodontitis—occurs when inflammation of the gums is accompanied by bone and ligament destruction. Periodontal/ gum disease is a primary source of local and/ or systemic inflammation for most people.
Stress is another factor that can lead to periodontal disease. Excessive stress drain your immune system of vital minerals and vitamins, depleting its fighting capabilities. Stress also interferes with the production of saliva, which not only is vital for maintaining lubrication in the mouth, but has bacteria-fighting properties.
There is more to oral health than just brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Eating and sleeping well, making lifestyle improvements and taking supplements (as needed) on a consistent basis can make a huge difference to both your oral health and general health.
- Nutritional and general health check-up – our clients undertake a nutritional assessment and testing for any nutritional deficiencies via naturopathic medicine methods, including blood tests.
- Tongue analysis – is an important diagnostic tool. The tongue provides many clues to the state of your health right now. The top layer of the tongue is replaced every two to three days, this rapid rate allows malnutrition and other deficiencies to show up quickly as changes to the tongue’s colour, shape and texture. This method is effective to assess the state of many organs, and is especially useful to gauge the health of the digestive system. Tongue analysis has been is use for thousands of years in the Traditional Chinese Medicine and is now embraced by many Western natural medicine practitioners.
- Tailored nutrition – a personalised nutrition program will be then developed for each individual including recommended lifestyle changes and exercise advice.
- Ongoing support – detailed handouts and coaching will be provided along the way to support and help you implement and sustain the new/ modified ways of eating and behaving.
The naturopathic nutrition approach combined with an appropriate oral care, comprehensively address the underlying problem(s) that cause the gum disease and teeth decay in the first place. This holistic method includes maintaining good oral hygiene and frequent check-ups, a nutrient diet rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre; supplementation with specific vitamins, minerals and herbs ; dealing with stress; sleeping and breathing well; and avoidance of harmful substances including cigarettes, excess coffee or soft drinks.
These practices don’t merely deal with the symptoms, they also initiate a positive change in the body’s chemistry and enhance the immune system, leading to better oral and overall health and a happier life.
This whole-body approach has proven to be not only effective but also safer and less expensive than most conventional treatments!
Good health and blessings
Adrenal Fatigue and Digestive Health Expert
Naturopath || Herbalist || Nutritionist || Reiki Practitioner