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!
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Hi Ann Louise,
Just as I am reading your very good article, I’m in the unhappy situation of having to have two molars pulled. Tooth 31 (bottom right) has developed an access. I’ve had 3 root canals done on it–the last one by Dr. Cohenca at Univ. of Wash. 4 years ago. To lose Tooth 6 (I think) back upper left which is a shock. It had a gold crown and I thought it was in good shape. However, it unexpectantly came off (granddaughter gave me a piece of gum–I chewed–it came off) . The bigger shock was to discover it ha decayed underneath the crown! Big disappointment! Already a couple years ago I lost the upper left back molar. So it is going to be hard to chew–already it is. Your comment about root canals (I have more) causing problems in my immune system is worrisome. I do feel tired & cold a lot. (I take Levothyroid). I’m stuck I guess.
I’m wondering if taking doxycycline isn’t causing just as much trouble with gut issues. I take it for rocesea (face and eyes). So I’m not clear if it’s teeth or medicine that is causing stomach issues. I don’t know how to discern how to be healthier. I’ll just keep reading your emails and hope to learn more.
I don’t know of a biologic dentist in the Portland, OR area, and would like to know if you can recommend anyone here.
It is a challenge to know what to do to get healthy.
Midge, doxycycline will destroy your beneficial gut bacteria, letting the pathogenic bacteria and yeast gain control of your gut. This can cause stomach issues. Taking Y-C Cleanse will help with the yeast overgrowth and taking a probiotic like Flora-Key will keep your gut in balance and help your immune system. Also rosacea can be caused by a lack of stomach acid. Many times taking a supplement of HCL will help. Here are links:https://unikeyhealth.com/products/y-c-cleanse, https://unikeyhealth.com/products/flora-key,https://unikeyhealth.com/products/hcl-2
All I think about when I am reading this article is that if you have a desire to be healthy you need a lot of money to achieve it. It is very very discouraging. I do all I can for my health (organic, grass fed, exercise, supplements) but I don’t have thousands of dollars to address my root canals and fillings. Again, it is very discouraging. But hey there’s another plus to having money.
Team ALG here: It is encouraging to know that there is a way to address the toxic issues with our teeth. Remedial work can be done over time making it accessible to those of us on a budget.
But, a big Thanks to the ALG team, at least we can educate ourselves for free, Joann!
Wow…..what an interesting article. Do you know of such a dentist here in Idaho. I’ve had bad teeth my entire life, even as a young girl. Every time I go to the dentist he wants to do a root canal. A few yrs ago I had all my amalgams removed. I too had three gold caps and underneath each to my surprise was not only amalgam fillings but cavities.
The dentist did a root canal on an abscessed molar that also had a cap. I had bone loss and he did a roof canal!! You expect your dentist to know what he’s doing and what’s best for you…….but there is no money in a healthy patient. I eventually had to have that tooth pulled due to the abscess.The dentist did not remove the periodontal ligament.
I have several root canals, What are my options now?
Team ALG here: Dr. Cory Harker is an option for healthy dentistry and he can assess your options.https://www.facebook.com/Cory.HarkerDDS/
will oil pulling help as ALG recommends it every morning?
Thank you for your input, I’m trying the oil pulling as I’m writing this.
Team ALG here: Underthesunshine, many people have reported healthier gums as a result of oil pulling.
Thank you. I read many comments below praising oil pulling.
Another great article full of invaluable insights! Thank you! Oral cavity health is so underrated in mainstream medicine, which is almost criminal as people could be spared a fair amount of suffering! A couple of years ago I purchased an amazing book called: ROOT CANAL COVER-UP by George E. Meinig and it blew my mind! If you want to learn more about root canals and cavitation infections than this book is for you. Sadly, even biological/environmental dentists don’t always know much about cavitation infections (at least in London – UK), so it’s still a fairly new territory over here! I find oil pulling, tongue scraping (an ancient Ayurvedic practice) and essential oils mouth washes helpful to keep my oral cavity as healthy as possible.
I have been doing oil pulling faithfully now for 3 years and have the best check-up ever! I am a natural “plaque producer” and now I have virtually no plaque!! My 6 month check ups are a breeze, my gums are pink and healthy and I have had no cavities or other issues. My dentist and hygienist are even amazed by the results of oil pulling. I am 73 years young and will continue oil pulling as long as I can. I’m also a big fan and user of UniKey products. Thank you! When I started doing oil pulling I had more negative feedback from Friends than positive ones. Just don’t listen to everyone and do what’s best for yourself.
After reading your article about root canals, I have an appointment with a holistic dentist. He’s going to do the 3D x-ray. I guess this is the only way to find out if my root canals have an infection. My concern is how dangerous is this X-ray? Is there anything I can do to minimize the radiation.
Elaine, Sometimes it is necessary to take an x-ray. Just try to minimize the number that you get. You can help neutralize the radiation afterwards by taking a salt and soda bath. You use 1 lb of kosher salt and 1 lb of baking soda in a tub of warm water and stay in for 20 min.
Team ALG, thank you for the information.
I truly believe this article saved my life.
Update……back in April I read your article “ tooth or consequences, what your oral health can tell you about your body”. I had spent well over $50,000 for a full mouth reconstruction with veneers and getting rid of silver fillings in the last five years. I had old and new root canals. I found a biological dentist and had the 3D X-ray done. I thought i had good oral health since I spent so much money to get my teeth fixed……to my surprise I had 8 teeth that were abcessed and one cavitation. He removed one tooth with the old root canal and not only was it abcessed, but I had much bone loss in my cheek bone. My regular dentist not very long ago put a new cap over that old root canal.
My doctor thought I had fibromyalgia because I was in so much pain and some days hardly able to walk. I refused to give in to that diagnosis because I felt there has to be a reason for the pain. Then I read this article. Im already feeling better. I got up this morning and my knees weren’t killing me. The dentist also took care of the cavitation. I still have a ways to go and it’s going to be expensive, but I’m grateful for this article. My biological dentist loaned me a book “Hidden Epidemic by Thomas E. Levy MD”. He mentioned MS and my daughter was diagonsed with MS and she has two root canals, coincidence………maybe?