The mouth is both a window and a gateway. Oral health and whole body health go hand in hand. To heal your body you must first heal your mouth. With each forkbite you can choose to move your mouth and body towards health or towards disease.
Tooth decay and gum disease are diseases of opportunistic organisms (disease causing bacteria) & immune response. Diet is a key mediator. Your mouth is home to over 700 different species of bacteria known as the oral microbiome. The microbiome is influenced by numerous factors including: age, hosts immune system, oral hygiene, lifestyle factors and diet. When the microbiome is healthy the mouth is healthy. When there is dysbiosis, dental disease develops.
One of the biggest drivers of tooth decay is refined and processed foods. Refined flour and added sugars are the food of choice for the “bad” bacteria that live in your mouth. They use this food as fuel and excrete acids. When the mouth becomes too acidic you can get cavities.
Bleeding gums is your body warning you something wrong is going on. Gum disease is an inflammatory process. The standard american diet is proinflammatory. Processed and refined foods as well as preservative, stabilizers, processed vegetable oils increase inflammation and shift the microbiome towards disease.
How to start fueling your smile?
- Prioritize eating whole plant foods. Aim for at least 50% of your plate to be filled with whole plant foods. Diversity of whole plant foods is the single greatest predictor of microbiome health. Make water your drink of choice. Whole foods provide the greatest variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other polyphenols to boost your oral health.
- Make sure your diet and lifestyle provide enough vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids. If you are concerned, discuss supplementation with your primary care doctor or registered dietitian. Vitamin D is crucial for dental health. Omega-3s help combat inflammation.
- Don’t smoke or Vape. It can lead to bad breath, dry mouth and increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
- The Fuel MY Smile 4 ingredient rule: If the first 4 ingredients include white flour or sugar, make a different choice. Get comfortable reading the ingredients- this well let you know if what you are eating is real food or “food like” food.
- Establish a good home care routine! RiseWell is my personal product of choice. The hydroxyapatite toothpaste provides you with the remineralization you need, and it is free of toxic ingredients. The HA floss also helps make sure you not only clean away the acid producing bacteria between your teeth, but boosts the HA available in your mouth. Finally, the alkaline mouthwash helps balance your oral pH and reduces your risk for tooth decay.
- Visit your dental health care provider twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.
Dr. Yanover gives her tips on body connection on her blog and Instagram. She is a full time practicing dentist at Pure Smiles CT. While she has always had a personal passion for fitness and nutrition, she applied this knowledge to research more as it pertains to dental. She has seen first hand how important our nutrition is for our oral health. Dr. Yanover shared some tips with us on how to maintain a healthy body connection starting with your mouth!