Smiles are truly amazing. The entire oral anatomy—from teeth to gums and tongue—is an instrumental part of the human experience. From forging positive first impressions to chewing delicious and nutritious foods, our teeth and gums play an integral role in the enjoyment of everyday life. Yet, there is much that goes unknown, or unappreciated, about our oral anatomy.
Take a moment to review the following facts about teeth, gums, and holistic health. Then, consider how your oral health might benefit from simple changes to daily routine. Share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below!
Facts About Teeth, Gums, and Holistic Health
1. Smiles are a natural anti-depressant.
Did you know that people who smile more tend to live longer and happier lives? In a study titled Happy People Live Longer, researchers found that men and women who report smiling frequently on a daily basis are also more likely to be happy, healthy, and satisfied with their lives (i). In a separate study, researchers also found that even forcing a smile can cause a rush of “feel good” chemicals in the brain, suggesting that smiles naturally mimic the affects of anti-depressants.
2. Teeth are living, growing organs.
Too often, dental patients thick of teeth as bones that are fixed and permanent. In reality, teeth are growing organs and share more in common with skin and nails than bones. Teeth thrive via a process called re-mineralization, which occurs when nutrients are absorbed from the foods we eat and carried to the oral cavity by way of the bloodstream. Once there, saliva carries nutrients into the mouth, coating the teeth and nourishing the enamel.
3. Digestive problems can worsen tooth decay.
So, what happens when nutrients are not properly absorbed? Digestive issues like gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease are known to cause inflammation, which constricts the small intestine and makes it difficult for nutrients to pass into the bloodstream. This cuts the supply of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and other enamel-building essentials, which accelerates tooth decay and the formation of cavities over time.
4. If your gums are infected, you’re at greater risk for heart disease too.
Gum infections are a sign that bacteria has settled into the gums, often causing them to become bloody and swollen. Gum infection gradually develops into Periodontal disease (gum disease), which increases the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease later in life (ii).
5. Coconut oil is one of the best ways to nourish your gums.
It began in ancient India. Today, it’s been revived by health enthusiasts who understand the powerful healing potential of the coconut. It’s called oil pulling, and it has been shown to significantly improve the health of the teeth and gums by extracting harmful bacteria from the soft tissues of the mouth.
Try it at home: Read this guide to oil pulling!
6. Fluoride can be lethal.
According to the Journal of Dental Research, the average 9-year-old child can be killed by the amount of fluoride in a single tube of fluoridated toothpaste. Next time you help your son or daughter brush their teeth, take note of the following warning label on the tube:
“WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”
7. If you are missing teeth, your oral anatomy can shift.
A missing tooth is more than just a cosmetic concern. Over time, teeth can shift to fill a neighboring vacancy. Fundamental alignment changes as teeth shift, which can cause pain, discomfort, and uneven or accelerated wear-and-tear when chewing.
8. If you have silver fillings, you are at risk for mercury poisoning.
It seems crazy to think that the most dangerous non-radioactive neurotoxin known to man is used to prepare dental amalgam (the material used as a dental restorative for “silver filings”). Nevertheless, it is an undisputed fact that silver dental amalgam is prepared with a mixture that contains 40-60% liquid mercury. It’s estimated that this toxic dental amalgam exists in about 1.4 billion teeth worldwide, exposing roughly 180 million people to the dangers of mercury poisoning. Speaking on the Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Gerard Curatola explains:
“In 1982, the ADA was saying that the mercury was ‘locked in’ [to the filling]. But we know now that there is mercury vapor. It is acknowledged.” (iii)
Assure A Smile
At Assure A Smile, we take a holistic approach to dentistry that views the teeth and gums as representative of total body health. Long term patient health and comfort are placed at the forefront of every exam, treatment, and procedure we perform. Toxic chemicals like fluoride and mercury-rich dental amalgam (silver fillings) are never used. Instead, patient exams and procedures are conducted using only biocompatible materials known to be less toxic and minimally invasive.
To learn more, schedule an appointment online or call our front desk directly at 305-274-0047.
(i) Ed Diener, Micaela Y. Chan. “Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity.” Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Published online. 27 January 2011.
(ii) Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health. Perio.org. URL: http://www.perio.org/consumer/other-diseases
(iii) “Toxic Teeth: Are mercury fillings making you sick?” URL: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/toxic-teeth-are-mercury-fillings-making-you-sick-pt-2