This week (beginning 6thAugust 2018) is Dental Health Week in Australia. Although for many people it may seem an odd thing for a holistic wellbeing practitioner to bring to your attention, in fact it is right down my alley!
Here at Evenstar my work is focused on 5 Star Wellbeing, which is what I believe are the 5 key areas that we all need to get right if we want to live a life of real health and wellness. These areas are Food, Sleep, Movement, Surroundings and Being.
I do often talk about Food because, well, food! But seriously, I truly believe that our diet and digestive system are the primary source of either good or poor health. Sometimes we forget that our mouth is actually the beginning of our digestive tract, with our teeth and saliva beginning the process of breaking down food.
Good Food = Good Dental Health
The best possible way to look after your dental health is to eat whole foods from the earth, and funnily enough this is one of the best ways to look after your overall wellbeing too!
Let’s start off our celebration of Dental health week with the startling fact that 85% of people who have heart attacks, also have gum disease. Although the causative relationship behind this statistic has not yet been determined this is a clear indication that our dental health paints a pretty clear picture of our overall health and wellbeing.
Gum disease is an autoimmune condition and it has also been linked to gut health. Yes, one of my favourite topics! If your gut micro-biome is imbalanced or there is a problem with the action of the lining of your digestive tract, this may show up as gum disease.
Back to food
A famous dental researcher, Weston A Price, discovered decades ago that the modern western diet played havoc with not only the health of the teeth but also the actual structure of the jaw. He studied traditional ‘primitive’ cultures all over the world and found that when they ate their traditional diet their teeth were amazingly strong, their jaws were big and all their teeth fitted in perfectly, and straight, and they didn’t know anything about modern dental care but they didn’t need too because their teeth were cavity free and clean. And yes, I said this was decades ago! Before there was a McDonalds on every corner and sugar added to everything from bread to savoury snacks.
Have you noticed now how every second kid seems to ‘need’ braces. When I was growing up braces were pretty rare. I’m sure this is partly to do with our constant need to strive for some ridiculous instagrammable ideal of good looks but it is also based on the fact that the modern diet has changed the shape of the jaw. Jaws are smaller and the number of teeth that we have evolved with no longer fit in. Functional dental practitoners are now finding that teeth alignment and even jaw correction can be brought about by returning to a natural diet high in fat soluble vitamins and fibre, and low in sugar.
Food for healthy teeth, and a healthy you
All the usual things that I would say about a plant-based diet apply here. The biggest proportion of your meals should be from plants – vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes, nuts. Also it’s very important to eat a wide variety of these. Make sure that you can tick off the full spectrum of the rainbow each day in what you eat (and no, I’m not referring to all the M&M colours!) On that note eat very little sugar. We are only designed to eat sugar infrequently and in small quantities. It is addictive and the bad bacteria in your gut love it because it helps them to multiply, they will send messages to your brain to keep eating more, which becomes a negative cycle.
Make sure your diet is rich in fats too because many of the most important vitamins are not available and absorbable by your body unless consumed with fats. Go for virgin olive oil or coconut oil, grass fed organic butter or ghee. Some foods will provide you with both the nutrients and the fat, such as egg yolks and organ meats, such as liver. Fish is also a wonderful source of fat and nutrients. To avoid toxins found in large fish choose things such as salmon and sardines.
Vitamin D is vital for healthy teeth and bones and the easiest way to activate the Vitamin D that you consume is via sunlight – get out in it.
Toxicity to the body and the planet
Fluoride is added to our water and is a neurotoxin. In small quantities our bodies can probably process it without too much harm but we all get the same quantity of fluoride regardless of our age, weight and overall health because it is in our water. This is a very good reason to filter your water. Fluoride is not necessary to prevent tooth decay – nutrition is.
Many toothpastes also have lots of other chemicals and additives that are potentially harmful. I would recommend that you choose a natural organic toothpaste. It is the act of brushing your teeth that is most important in dental care and you could do this even without any toothpaste.
Household dental products cause a lot of waste. Did you know that every toothbrush that has ever been produced is still in existence! You may want to consider doing your bit for the War on Waste and when you next buy a toothbrush or dental floss get products that are made from biodegradables such as bamboo or coconut.
For more information, some of my recommended further reading can be found at: