Okay, so your teeth aren’t exactly falling out. But maybe they aren’t as strong as they could be, either. If you brush and floss regularly but still notice pain, sensitivity, and cavities when you go the dentist, this article is for you.
Fact: Your teeth and gums are intricately connected to the rest of your body. As early as Ancient China, scholars extensively studied the connections between individual teeth and the body’s larger organ systems (see this Meridian Tooth Chart). Oral hygiene is vital, but it’s not enough to keep you teeth and gums healthy for life.
As a holistic dental office, Assure A Smile helps patients understand how nutrition, stress, habits, and other lifestyle choices have an impact on the appearance, strength, and longevity of their teeth. In this article, we explore 3 of the biggest reasons adults and children experience tooth decay, despite having good oral hygiene habits.
#1: Your diet lacks minerals
There are a variety of minerals that are needed for healthy teeth. Teeth grow weak over time when these minerals are lacking from daily diet. A few of the most important minerals include:
#2: You aren’t getting enough vitamins
Minerals are not the only building blocks for a healthy smile. Teeth also need a variety of fat-soluble vitamins to grow strong, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
#3: You eat well, but your body is not absorbing your nutrients
Vitamins and minerals mean nothing if they cannot be absorbed and put to work by your body. There are at least 3 major conditions that prevent the body from absorbing nutrients from the food you eat, including:
Gluten Sensitivity. Gluten is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For many individuals, digestion of this protein irritates the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and leads to swelling. Once swollen, the small intestine cannot absorb the minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients needed for healthy teeth.
Celiac Disease. This autoimmune disease affects an estimated 1 in 133 Americans, and it is characterized by an autoimmune response to the digestion of gluten. The end result is similar to that described above; almost immediately following the digestion of gluten, the small intestine becomes so swollen it cannot fully absorb nutrients as they pass through the GI tract.
Leaky Gut Syndrome. Over time, both gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease (as well as a host of other factors) may lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome. This condition is characterized by an increased permeability of the small intestine, which can allow bacteria, microbes, toxins, and other undigested particles to leak into the abdominal cavity. As a result, healthy nutrient absorption rapidly declines.
Eat Well for Healthier Teeth
One of the best ways to ensure life-long healthy teeth and gums is to not only brush and floss twice daily, but to also follow a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients known to improve oral health. Below are a few of the most common— and delicious— foods that contain nutrients for healthier teeth:
- Milk: Rich in vitamin D and calcium, milk has also been shown to reduce the acidity of the mouth after sugary snacks and foods while also helping to reinforce tooth enamel.
- Organic Cheese: Like milk, organic cheese has been shown to reduce the acidity of the mouth, which in turn helps to reduce the incidence of tooth decay and cavities.
- Coconut Oil: Loaded with healthy fat, coconut oil is known to improve the health of the hair, skin, and nails—all while promoting a healthy sheen on your teeth.
- Fibrous fruits & veggies: Perhaps most important are fibrous fruits and veggies. Eat a colorful assortment each day to ensure a diverse dose of all-natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Most important are citrus fruits (high in vitamin C), berries (high in vitamins and antioxidants), and kiwis.
- Bone broth: Rich in nutrients and collagen, bone broth has been shown to also improve the health of the GI tract. Add this simple staple to your daily diet to improve GI health and enhance nutrient delivery to your teeth and gums. To learn more, visit this article on how to heal a leaky gut.
A Holistic Perspective on Dentistry and Wellness
At Assure A Smile, we take a holistic approach to dentistry that empowers patients to make lifestyle choices that have a profoundly positive impact on not just oral health, but on mental, emotional, and physical health as well.
To experience holistic dentistry firsthand, readers are invited to contact our friendly front desk at 305.274.004.