Did you know your teeth and mouth play a big role in your overall health and wellbeing? From mercury to fluoride, infections to chronic disease, dental health matters.
You can’t be healthy without a healthy mouth!
Anatomy of The Mouth
Your mouth houses various organs – teeth, tongue, gums, salivary glands, and more. Your jaw and teeth provide movement so you can eat, drink, and talk. The size and position of your facial bones helps determine your teeth placement and how well they will fit together.
But that’s not all. The anatomy of your mouth and jaw affects your breathing. Whether or not you breathe through your mouth can be partly determined by your facial structure and jaw. So, we know that facial structure and jaw positioning can impact your health.
Dental Health Concerns That Impact Your Overall Health
Mercury amalgams are the fillings used for cavities. While it’s made from a mixture of metals, over half of it is elemental mercury. The other metals include silver, tin, and copper in a powdered alloy mix. Because of mercury’s chemical properties, it binds together the other alloy particles to form the amalgam that we know as cavity fillings. Generally, a silver color, amalgams serve their job well as cavity treatment but they have some unwanted side effects.
Since mercury is considered a heavy metal, it can cause health concerns.
Early signs of mercury exposure can include:
- Having a metallic taste in your mouth
- More saliva production
- Decreased touch, hearing, vision, and taste senses
Later signs of mercury exposure can be more significant and occur with chronic exposure. These symptoms include:
- Neurovascular issues like headaches, brain fog, irritability, numbness, and excitability
- Trouble sleeping
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid problems
- Insulin resistance
While there’s a variety of different treatments for metal toxicity, as a functional medicine clinic we encourage diet and hydration, infrared saunas, and a metal detox protocol designed by your doctor as great places to start. Learn how functional medicine can help with heavy metal toxicity here.
Dental infections can also impact your overall health. When a tooth becomes infected, you have pain in the tooth or jaw, swelling, tooth sensitivity, and a foul taste in your mouth.
If the infection is not treated, it can become more serious and even make you sick, with symptoms such as fever, severe pain, fatigue, severe gum and face swelling, and other flu-like symptoms. These infections, if not treated, can spread to various parts of your body. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed, which help clear up the infection, but wipe out your gut microbiome.
But preventing tooth infection doesn’t have to be hard. Brush your teeth morning and night, floss daily, and eat a healthy diet to limit excess sugar and refined foods. So, while the teeth can seem distant when we think about our overall wellness, it’s essential to keep them healthy!
Chronic Conditions Like Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis, a common mild form of periodontal disease or gum disease, causes inflammation and irritation of the gums. Usually caused by a bacterial infection, gingivitis symptoms can include swelling, tenderness, and bleeding with light probing of the gum area. Gingivitis can occur from a variety of things but is commonly due to plaque buildup.
Since gingivitis is gum inflammation, it is important to get it under control before inflammation occurs in other areas of the body. If not treated, the inflammation can progress towards the tissue and bone, which results in periodontitis and possible tooth loss.
But periodontitis isn’t just limited to the mouth; it correlates with systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. All the more reason to take care of your teeth!
The Case Against Fluoride
For decades, fluoride toothpaste has been recommended by dentists. While it prevents tooth decay, there are also safety concerns around its use. It’s safe to use topically, but at a cost – it works by slowly breaking down enamel. It also does more harm than good when swallowed, since it can get into the bloodstream.
Over time, fluoride builds up in the body and can cause fluorosis (small spots on the teeth), nervous system effects, kidney and thyroid disease, and a higher risk of chronic diseases. Functional medicine dentists even go on to state that you don’t need fluoride for a healthy mouth. So, what’s the alternative?
Hydroxyapatite is a safe and effective non-toxic alternative to fluoride containing toothpastes. In fact, it remineralizes your teeth without side effects, something that fluoride doesn’t. As a safer, non-toxic alternative to fluoride, hydroxyapatite also fortifies enamel, whitens, is oral microbiome friendly, and kid safe.
Another great ingredient to have in your toothpaste is Xylitol. This ingredient helps to reduce bacteria that cause cavities in the mouth. Since it’s also a sweetener, make sure not much is added or your taste buds will begin to crave sweet foods.
Here are some fluoride free toothpastes to try:
- RiseWell Mineral Toothpaste
- Boka Ela Mint Toothpaste
- Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste
Non-Toxic Ways to Take Care of Your Teeth
As you learned above, many functional medicine dental studies have shown that fluoride-free hydroxyapatite dental products are effective for preventative care, reducing cavities, and preventing dental decay. But what else can you do to take care of your teeth in a non-toxic way?
- Filter your water using reverse osmosis – fluoride is also in most of our water supply!
- Eat healthy, whole, real foods. Avoid excess sugar and refined foods.
- Brush and floss on a regular basis.
- Change your toothpaste to a healthier version.
- See a biological or functional dentist for your oral care.
Achieve Lasting Health – Start with Your Mouth!
Having a healthy mouth is important for a healthy body. While these are some great strategies to improve your health, sometimes you need more specialized support. Here at Arizona Wellness Medicine, we have a team of highly trained functional medicine providers to create a personalized plan for you. So, if you feel like you need support from a doctor, you can schedule an appointment here.