Did you know that there is one area in your body that you can see multiple systems, their functioning and all 7 of the disease precursors?
This is in your mouth!
In your mouth we get a glimpse at your bone, tissue, circulatory, and nutritional health, we also can see if you suffer from chronic inflammation, connective tissue breakdown, mineral, vitamin, and protein imbalances, as well as other disease markers. No where else can we do this.
Many people hate to go to the dentist ( I personally love leaving with a fresh, clean smile ) and often we brush it off as a cosmetic appointment, or afterthought service that we will maybe go to if our insurance covers it.
But going to an educated, holistic-minded doctor could really BE a part your health insurance.
The most common cause of death in the US and many other industrialized countries is heart disease. Many who suffer often do not know it is a concern until it is too late, until a heart attack, surgery, or even death occurs.
However, it has been known for almost 30 years that dental disease is as strong a predictor for heart disease as cigarette smoking. (1)
The NHANES heath survey showed that men under the age of 50 who had periodontal disease where at an even greater risk of dying from a heart attack than those that have been admitted to a hospital with known coronary heart disease... meaning young adults who had gum disease were the group with the highest risk. Not what you would expect!
So how is this the case?
It is widely known now that chronic inflammation is the underlying cause in many diseases, including heart disease. Chronic inflammation is a systematic problem, meaning it is not just contained to one part of your body, the issue affects everything to some degree. Being able to see chronic inflammation and other far-reaching issues by just looking into the mouth gives us a clear predictor to disease. And one that can be halted and reversed before devastating effects take place.
Research has also shown that gum disease in pregnancy can result in a lower birth weight or premature birth. (2)
Free Calcium Excess, which is a disease precursor that can lead you to arthritis, cancer, high blood pressure, can be seen in the mouth as hardened plaque on your teeth. Once again demonstrating how large consequences from something so "seemingly" small can be.
This is importance of a SYSTEMIC health care approach, one that takes the entire body into account.
We can not compartmentalize health, a problem in your gut will affect numerous other areas in your body, an infection on your foot brings inflammation and heightened immune response to your entire body. The same goes with periodontal disease and heart disease. Getting bypass surgery without changes in your diet and lifestyle will have minimally lasting effects, and seeing how far reaching the effects of periodontal disease can be, shows us that although important, simply brushing and flossing your teeth is not the entire answer to a healthy mouth and body.
So what can you do?
- Brush your teeth, floss, and even scrape your tongue. Do those daily habits that keep your mouth clean and bad bacteria at bay. Look for a flouride-free toothpaste like this one
- Keep up with regular visits to your dentist. Get routinely evaluated so that if you find there is a problem beginning you have time to nip it in the bud before it can cascade into more serious health problems.
- If you get a report back from your dentist that you have an issue beginning or going on in your mouth, take it seriously. Take this report to your nutrition or holistic health practitioner and ask them what you can do to prevent further damage to your body. They can tell you if there is a nutritional deficiency that you should be aware of, if you need to adjust your eating habits, or how you can make healthier habits to support your mouth and overall health.
The good news in this is that really you are knocking not just two- but multiple birds with one stone. When we work with health care with this systematic approach in mind you can be confident that those efforts you put in are not just making a small difference in one area of your body but really upgrading your health overall!