Diet and oral health are connected in a number of interesting ways, and focusing on the former has an increasingly positive effect on the latter. Eating well sets the foundation for creating healthy teeth and gums for life, and oral health is promoted exponentially when daily food consumption is limited to the foods that are most healthy. Today, health professionals are compiling evidence that suggests food items like wheat, barley, and bread are causing serious health issues for a growing number of Americans. The evidence suggests that about 1% of the population has an adverse reaction to gluten, a protein found in most whole grains. This has prompted dental professionals to spread awareness for gluten by encouraging patients to consider how the wheat, barley, and other whole grains in their daily diet may be hurting overall health.
Today, the average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar each year—nearly 20 times the amount consumed by the average person in the 18th century (i). Only about 60% of those calories are metabolized and converted into immediate energy; the remaining 40% are converted into fat molecules, stored, and reserved for energy production later. With this in mind, it is easy to see how sugar consumption is a key contributor to obesity. New research shows that excessive sugar consumption also leads to a number of other life threatening diseases, including type II Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Miami dentists have begun to spread awareness for this issue, warning patients to be weary of daily sugar intake not only to prevent cavities but to preserve total body health as well.
Though there is much debate whether fluoride is helpful or harmful, studies have shown that people have hypersensitive reactions to fluoride. As recognized by the Physicians’ Desk Reference (1994, 48th Edition, p. 2335-6), these symptoms include gastric distress, headache, joint pain, lethargy, mouth lesions, skin rashes, visual disturbances and weakness. The book also says, “These hypersensitivity reactions usually disappear promptly after discontinuation of the fluoride.” Assure a Smile has prepared this research article to spread awareness for fluoride allergy and to provide patients with alternative methods of preventing tooth decay.
According to the Journal of Dental Research (Whitford 1987, 1990), there is enough fluoride in a tube of children’s fluoride toothpaste to kill an average-weighing child under the age of 9. Why else would the FDA require the following warning label on fluoride toothpaste?
“WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”
The 1984 Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products rates lead’s toxicity at 3-4, while fluoride is rated at 4 (3 = moderately toxic; 4 = very toxic).
Fluoride’s damaging effects on the brain has been documented by both human and animal studies. Eighteen human studies from China, India, Iran and Mexico and more than 40 animal studies show evidence that fluoride toxicity negatively affects the brain. A Chinese study [Wang SX, ZH Wang, XT Cheng, J Li, ZP Sang, XD Zhang, LL Han, SY Qiao, ZM Wu and ZQ Wang. 2007. “Arsenic and fluoride exposure in drinking water: children’s IQ and growth in Shanyin County, Shanxi province, China.” Environmental Health Perspectives 115(4):643-7.] examined 524 children, ages 8 to 12, for “fluoride exposures in relation to intellectual functioning and growth.” The children who were exposed to high concentrations of fluoride through well water — as high as 8.3 (mg/L)—were compared to a control group of children from neighboring villages whose well water contained 0.5 mg/L of fluoride. The high fluoride group had a four-point IQ score reduction compared with the control group, and the high fluoride group’s urine fluoride level was five times higher than the control group.
Vitamin K refers to two fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is made by plants and is the primary source of Vitamin K that humans obtain through food. Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is typically produced in the large intestine by bacteria; this function is improved with the presence of cultured milk, like yogurt, in the diet. Vitamin K is an essential nutrient necessary for blood clotting and regulating the body’s normal blood clotting process. When there is a skin wound, even a simple cut, the body needs sufficient blood clotting ability to the close the wound and prevent excessive bleeding. On the other hand, blood needs to flow throughout the body freely without forming clots that would block an otherwise functioning blood vessel. Vitamin K is also needed for bone health, as it may reduce bone loss and decrease the risk of bone fractures. It also helps build strong bones, as well as protecting bones from weakening or fracturing. For this reason, Miami dentists encourage patients to maintain a diet that is rich in vitamin K to help strengthen tooth enamel. Holistic dental professionals also believe that diets that are rich in vitamin K help to improve overall oral health.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, as it is stored in the liver and fatty tissues. It is stored for long periods and is eliminated slowly from the body. Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because the body makes it after being exposed to sunshine. It is the only vitamin that the body can produce on its own, but it needs sunlight to do so. The body must get all other vitamins from diet and/or supplementation. There are several forms of Vitamin D, including D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants, and Vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans when their skin is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from sunlight.
Potassium is a dietary mineral that is essential for normal body function. It is a nutrient that the body uses to maintain electrolyte and fluid balance, and it is found both inside and outside of cellular fluid. An essential mineral, potassium also plays many vital roles in the human body, and it often works with sodium to keep it operating properly. Potassium, a positively charged ion, is actively pumped into the cell while sodium is pumped out, creating an electrical charge in the cell membrane. Miami dental professionals recommend patients get plenty of potassium to improve many aspects of overall health.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin—meaning that our bodies do not store it so we need to obtain it from food or supplements. It is an antioxidant, which blocks damage caused by free radicals. Too many free radicals may contribute to the aging process as well as the development of cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
We need Vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissue, and it helps the body produce collagen—an important protein that is used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, vertebral discs, joint linings and capillary walls. It is also needed for healing wounds and repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.