Your teeth have a lot to tell you about the overall health of your body.
Your mouth/body connection is a lot stronger than you think. Your oral health can tell you a lot about what’s happening in your body. It seems like a stretch to think the health of your mouth affects the health of your heart and blood vessels, but it’s true – it’s been 30 years now since the link between oral health and heart disease was published in mainstream medical journals. And it doesn’t stop there – your mouth affects your brain, liver, gut health, immune system, and the rest of your body.
Every nutrient and probiotic you take in to your body comes in through your mouth, and it’s also the gateway for heavy metals, infections, and more. Choosing the right diet, supplements for oral health, and dentistry options are paramount to the health of your mouth, your immune system, and your body.
The Mouth Microbiome
Over 600 species of bacteria are living in your mouth right now, making up what’s called your oral microbiome. This mouth microbiome is one of the most ecologically diverse populations in your entire body, housing a variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. All of these microorganisms are fed by the carbohydrates you eat. Salivary amylase is the digestive enzyme in the mouth that breaks down carbohydrates into the sugars your microbiome uses for fuel. Unlike other digestive enzymes, the amount of salivary amylase you make does not decrease with age – as long as you are salivating, you will have this important enzyme.
Scientists have come to understand that dental caries (cavities) in your teeth are caused by a biofilm, which is a collection of potentially harmful bacteria that coat the surface of the tooth and cause decay. Cavities are a bacterial infection. The building up and tearing down of enamel on the surface of the tooth is a normal physiological process that is ongoing, but when the biofilm is out of balance, there is more tearing down than building up and tooth decay is the result. Your gums also have a biofilm on them, and periodontal disease is the bacterial infection that results from a disruption in gum bacterial balance.
The answer to these infections is not to kill off all your bacteria with antibiotics and antibacterial mouthwashes, but to cut out processed foods, sugars, and fruit juices, and re-balance the microbiome with oral probiotics and traditional fermented foods like unpasteurized sauerkraut. In a sense, better oral health can indicate better overall health. My probiotic of choice is UNI KEY Health’s Flora-Key, which contains lactobacillus reuteri, a healthy bacteria shown in studies to fight the harmful strains that cause tooth decay and bad breath. When it comes to choosing probiotics, the magic number is 10 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units); any more than this can interfere with immune function, so more is not necessarily better in this case. I enjoy the light sweetness of Flora-Key and sprinkle it on my food, which is a great way to bathe the mouth in these healthy bacteria.
Hidden Dental Infections
Teeth are a living tissue; although they seem solid, they are porous, with fluid constantly flowing through them to cleanse all the layers of the tooth. This creates the environment for the microbiome to live in. When the infection from tooth decay reaches the root of the tooth, the choices are to do a root canal or have the tooth extracted (pulled out). Both of these choices can lead to hidden infections near the bone, which leads to systemic disease in your body.
Weston A. Price was a 20th century dentist who did extensive research on the impact of dental infections on the body. As one of his experiments, he took a tooth with a root canal from a patient who had recently died of a heart attack. He embedded the tip of this tooth under the skin of a rabbit. That rabbit died of a heart attack. He then repeated this with a total of 100 rabbits and all of them died of heart attacks shortly after the tooth was implanted under their skin. His findings were published in 1910, but the American Dental Association continues to state the root canal procedure is safe even today.
The tooth Dr. Price used looked healthy, but hidden infection was present. A tooth with a root canal no longer has fluid flowing through it, which allows unhealthy bacteria to grow deep inside, near the bone. The tooth is essentially dead with no oxygen flowing through it, and this provides the perfect environment for a long term, low-grade infection to persist. This can contribute to autoimmune disease. These infections also travel to other parts of the body, like the heart, which is a known cause of heart disease and heart attack.
Cavitations are infections of unhealed bone where a tooth has been extracted. If the tooth cavity is not cleaned thoroughly and the periodontal ligament isn’t removed when the tooth is removed, the infection that caused the tooth decay moves into unhealed bone, and can even form a cyst that is a potent source of infection. These hidden infections are hard to find; they occasionally show up on an x-ray, but more commonly they’re found by a biologic dentist who knows what to look for.
The best treatment I’ve found for these hidden infections is ozone therapy. Once the root canal is removed or the cavitation is cleared, ozone injections are administered by a trained dentist to kill the remaining bacteria. My experience with this has been a positive one. I had a cavitation I was completely unaware of, and my excellent dentist was able to find it and treat it effectively with ozone.
Heavy Metals in the Mouth
When you have a cavity, the dentist uses“silver” fillings as the material of choice. This filling material became popular because the 50% mercury content in it immediately killed the nerve pain, making it much more comfortable to eat afterward. However, as we know, mercury is a potent neurotoxin, which is mobilized throughout the body when you chew or drink hot liquids. There’s another problem with these fillings though, which started in 1975. The American Dental Association claimed adding a high copper content to the mercury amalgam created a “state of the art” filling material, which released no mercury. However, European studies showed this new compound caused mercury to be released 50 times more than the previous amalgam material, and the prevalence of autoimmune diseases skyrocketed.
If you have mercury amalgams in your mouth, I highly encourage you to have them removed and replaced with a composite material. Taking a scoop of UNI KEY Health’s Daily Greens Formula can help to gently escort these mobilized toxic metals from your body after the process. If you have suffered with fatigue, depression, anxiety, hair loss and loss of appetite, you may also have excess copper from these amalgams. I highly recommend doing some research in my book Why Am I Always So Tired? to learn more about what excess copper does and how to eliminate it from your body.
Your Mouth is the Gateway to a Healthy Immune System
Much of our ability to recover from any health problem depends on the burdens we place on our already overworked immune system. We talk about how important diet, supplements and exercise are to boost our immune system, but we don’t hear enough about what we can do the lessen the burden on our tired immune system. As a result, we suffer with a high degree of inflammation and feel fat, sick, and tired most of the time. Reduce the burden on your immune system by taking good care of your teeth; support your mouth microbiome, identify and treat hidden infections, and have toxic dental amalgams removed. Pay attention to your oral health, it really could change your life!