Oral Health : Oral Health is Health for the Whole Body

There is an undeniable link between oral health and the health of the whole body. Poor oral hygiene is implicated in a variety of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and many more. Research surrounding this connection between oral health and the health of all the systems of the body has offered many theories as to why this is true. It is this research, if utilized correctly, that can provide a clearer understanding of exactly how to achieve optimal health by simply maintaining better oral hygiene. In addition to the obvious necessity of changing the long-established oral hygiene practices, there is much to be said for what should be avoided. It is especially clear that, although the overwhelming preponderance of commercial toothpaste, mouthwash, and fluoride used today is widely accepted and recommended by dental health professionals, persistent widespread problems with oral health still occur.

Gum disease was once thought to contribute to poor health as a result of bacterial infection, but what has become evident is that the true cause is linked to the body's inflammatory response to the bacteria. This is a clear indication that proper nutrition, along with maintaining an ideal balance of flora in the mouth, is critical. Commercial toothpastes which contain glycerin, fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate, and other harsh chemicals do not provide this essential nutrition. In fact, in addition to lacking adequate nutritive properties, these products contribute to the imbalance of flora in the mouth. Therefore, it is imperative to be cognizant of the critical role proper nutrition plays to ensure oral health but also how equally critical it is to avoid harsh chemicals in oral health products.

Fluoride, a byproduct of the industrial production of aluminum, is the central ingredient in nearly all commercial toothpaste or mouthwash, although it is already present in over 70% of the US drinking water supply, according to a CDC report issued in 2010. Why then do these products contain fluoride? A contributing factor for the acceptance of fluoride as an essential ingredient in oral hygiene products may be due to how inexpensive fluoride is in comparison to other ingredients, such as the phenols contained in spice oils. With an increasing amount of evidence showing the shortcomings and possible toxic effects of prolonged exposure to fluoride, it is imperative that alternatives to products containing fluoride be found. It is commonly known that fluoride may be toxic at levels that are easily exceeded when all the sources of fluoride intake are considered. However, because of this growing body of education, many oral health products are available without fluoride, although they still contain other dangerous ingredients.

Glycerin, which is often touted as nontoxic or natural, is derived from animal fat, GMO corn, or industrial waste. Often it is derived from plant material, but through an extraction process involving toxic chemicals. This end product is hardly natural and only added for product perception purposes, rather than function. Because it lacks any real benefit to oral health and has an increased potential for containing toxins, it must be avoided.

Sodium lauryl sulfate, otherwise known as SLS, is another commonly added ingredient in commercial oral health products, as well as most natural toothpastes. This is quite shocking, not only because of the mountain of evidence about its toxicity, but also because of the strong resistance to its presence in topical products, such as soaps and shampoo. SLS is used in toothpaste to create the foaming effect, along with its surfactant properties. What is clear is that it is does not provide a benefit for oral health when the ingredient is included in toothpaste. In fact, SLS is commonly found in insecticides such as those used for fruit flies. It has been known to be an irritant in humans, and ongoing research is investigating whether it may be carcinogenic. These are important concerns and, without a real benefit, would beg the question of why it would be used in toothpaste.

Oral health is clearly not dependent on the myriad of chemicals found in the products we so commonly see on the shelf. It is proper nutrition and simple maintenance that will keep teeth and gums shiny and healthy. Proper nutrition means plenty of whole food vitamins, along with organically bound minerals from humic acid, fulvic acid, crude oregano, and other natural sources. Also, get plenty of vitamin D, whether from a whole food source such as sockeye salmon or by merely enjoying some sunlight. In addition, a whole food vitamin C with natural bioflavonoids may be of great benefit. Utilize the power of spice oils such as clove, bay leaf, cinnamon, mint, and oregano. The powerful phenolic compounds in these oils are highly effective for cleansing the teeth and gums, and the oils can often be ingested, which provides benefits for the entire system. In addition, avoid refined grains, refined sugars, and foods containing phytic acid. Do eat foods with healthy fats that are also a good source of minerals and vitamins. Take this holistic approach and you will not only see the difference but feel it as well.