I find this topic so fascinating yet it’s not talked about much even amongst functional medicine practitioners, overlooked in fact. It is so profound and complex- how each cell in our body communicates health and wellbeing, especially between our mouth and our gut. Jonathan Landsman of 365 Natural Health elaborately describes that it’s more than what we eat and how we eat that profoundly affects our overall wellbeing; the ramifications of the state of mouth health determines our entire cellular system. For example, consider something so small as chewing– not inhaling our food – that while in a state of hydration, will allow saliva to break down the nutrients properly. Poor food and dehydration – equals poor digestion and therefore damage to our intestinal tract. Here is where empowerment comes in- understanding the natural, simple steps you can take at home to dramatically alter your mouth’s health.
Jonathan Landsman, a long time expert on the subject, espouses the four main health dangers in great detail: mercury fillings, root canal, cavitation and gum disease. We know this is bad when hear those words, but may not know how to find the help that is needed. He notes that conventional dentists perform the necessary mechanics (notwithstanding mercury filling extraction), but are unable to communicate how food can help and prevent poor mouth health.
The mouth is the mirror of health and disease in the body- U.S. Surgeon General in 2000
I became interested in this mouth-body/gut connection when I went for a routine cleaning by my biological dentist, one of the top docs in the U.S. This was where I learned that the biological dentist practices dentistry based on what is as good for the body, is as good for the teeth and gums.
Truly holistic dentists are dentists who perform dentistry that is good for the body as well as the teeth and gums.
As I have always been super diligent about my oral care- my conventional dentists always gave me a thumbs up after a clean and check I was then whisked away quickly. The appointment with my biological dentist was different. Same protocol from regular checkups, but she detected something I had never heard before regarding the whole body connection: that I had weakened enamel as a result of conventional practices when I was a kid- the alteration of how my teeth were seated in my jaw due to the age-old practice of teeth extractions prior to braces as a youth. I would have never known- they’re straight after all. This early procedure can affect breathing while sleeping which can alter the gut biome (in some cases cause GERT) and affect the enamel. The solution was for me to start using an enamel-building toothpaste and practice good gut care (probiotics, low sugar, eliminate sticky carbs, incorporate foods known to promote teeth oral health- black tea!).
An unforeseen plus from the appointment was that she connected me to my functional medicine doctor– and with him I’ve explored more interesting facets of the whole body system.
Here are some natural practices that I’ve used:
- make your own tooth powder: whiter teeth, longer and fresher breath
- oil-pulling with coconut oil (kavala or gundusha, is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique): whiter teeth and detoxification of your mouth
- whiten with charcoal (really!): whiter teeth as the charcoal pulls out the stains. I was going to throw in a picture but it can look frightening.
There are a plethora of biological dentists across the U.S. and many take insurance. As with natural practitioners, though, you will often have to pay at the time of the procedure and then may be reimbursed by your insurance company.