What Are Your Teeth Telling You About Your Health?
Many would be surprised to learn that tooth decay and gum disease are results of inflammation or imbalances throughout the body rather than poor dental hygiene practices. Oral disease is a manifestation of deeper problems caused mainly by unhealthy food choices, chronic stress, and other lifestyle factors.
Nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, or depleted probiotics are examples of common issues that interrupt your body’s ability to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Fat soluble vitamins are essential for healthy bones and teeth. Specifically, vitamins A, D3, and K2 work together to distribute calcium into areas where it is needed. Fat soluble vitamins also keep calcium from attaching to the soft lining of arteries, which protects you from calcific atherosclerosis.
Low fat diets, especially those lacking animal fats, are low in fat-soluble vitamins. A study published in the journal Caries Research found that those who follow raw vegan diets increase their risk of dental erosion compared to other diets.
A number of prescription drugs also interfere with the absorption of fats and reduce the availability of fat soluble vitamins. If you are on prescription drugs, check the drug’s information sheet for details.
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association states that oral infectious disease, tooth decay, and gum disease are all linked to a lack of proper nutrition. A regular diet of refined foods that are devoid of nutrients contributes to malnutrition and disease. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes, disorders that are associated with unhealthy diets, also carry high risks of dental health problems.
Oral health is affected by hormone imbalance. Processed foods, prescription drugs, and chronic stress are all damaging to gland health. Changes in hormone levels bring about a negative impact on many areas of the body, including the teeth and gums.
Diabetes is especially dangerous as it triples your risk of developing gum disease. Insulin is a hormone that stores blood glucose (sugar) into fat cells. Diets that consistently boost blood glucose levels restrict this hormone’s ability to bring glucose levels down to normal, which leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
The pituitary gland is also affected by insulin resistance. If the pituitary gland cannot regulate blood glucose, phosphorus is absorbed from the bones and teeth leading to demineralization. Foods that boost blood glucose levels are high-carbohydrate foods like refined grains and sugar, starches, and dehydrated fruits.
Lack of Beneficial Bacteria
Many of the oral hygiene products offered today have antibacterial effects. Using these products each day can deplete populations of beneficial bacteria in the mouth and digestive tract.
Beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, kill off strains of harmful pathogens that enter the body. When probiotic populations are reduced, pathogens have the opportunity to increase in number. This results in tooth decay and gum disease.
Eating fermented foods or taking probiotic dietary supplements helps to improve oral and digestive health. More research needs to be conducted in this area, but studies are demonstrating the importance of beneficial bacteria in all areas of health and disease prevention.
Poor dental health is a clear indication that your body is struggling with deficiency, imbalance, and inflammation. Tooth decay and gum disease are inevitable results of a diet that is lacking nutrients and probiotics. Dental health problems that may be the result of hormone issues should be addressed by a health care practitioner.
- Nagel, Ramiel. Cure Tooth Decay: Remineralize Cavities & Repair Your Teeth Naturally with Good Food. Los Gatos, CA: Golden Child Pub., 2011. Print.
- Touger-Decker, R. “Position of the American Dietetic Association Oral Health and Nutrition.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 96.2 (1996): 184-89. Print.
- Ganss, C., M. Schlechtriemen, and J. Klimek. “Dental Erosions in Subjects Living on a Raw Food Diet.” Caries Research 33.1 (1999): 74-80. Print.
- Emrich, Lawrence J., Marc Shlossman, and Robert J. Genco. “Periodontal Disease in Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus.” Journal of Periodontology 62.2 (1991): 123-31. Print.
- Meurman, Jukka H. “Probiotics: Do They Have a Role in Oral Medicine and Dentistry?”European Journal of Oral Sciences 113.3 (2005): 188-96. Print.