If you are reading this newsletter, it probably means you are interested in maintaining good health. You probably try to eat well most of the time, try to get some exercise and take a few herbs or nutrients to support your health. That is great and extremely beneficial, but do you pay much attention to your mouth?

The health of your teeth and gums has an enormous bearing on your overall state of health, and it is also a reflection of your general health. Far too often, we see patients who are extremely careful over choosing only the healthiest foods to eat, yet they are incredibly blasé about dental health.

Our mouths are just teeming with bacteria, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Problems occur when too much of the wrong bacteria are allowed to flourish. This can be a consequence of poor diet choices, or poor oral hygiene practices. Did you know that Dr. Steven L. Miller, a research cardiologist at the University of Utah discovered that bacteria from your mouth are the same bacteria found within unstable plaques in the arteries of the heart? Therefore, bacteria in your mouth may trigger the development of atherosclerosis and an eventual heart attack.

This discovery opened the door to much more research, which has since determined that bacteria from your mouth can infect almost any organ of your body.

Aside from thorough brushing, flossing and regular check-ups with your dentist, the following can all help to keep your mouth healthy:

  • Minimize or avoid grains in your diet. Research has shown that when humans were hunters and gatherers and based their diets on meat and vegetables, their mouths housed different types of bacteria that were less likely to cause tooth decay and gum disease. You can read more about this here. You will find an eating plan based on this type of diet in my book "I Can't Lose Weight!...And I Don't Know Why. (It also happens to be a very effective way to lose weight).
  • Make sure you are consuming adequate vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. Many people find it difficult to consume enough fresh produce, and much of the produce sold in stores today isn’t that fresh anyway. Vitamin C is a fragile vitamin and easily breaks down. We need vitamin C to keep our gums healthy because it is required for collagen production. Bleeding gums is a very common symptom of vitamin C deficiency. If your gums bleed while you brush your teeth, you are allowing gum bacteria to enter your bloodstream. From there it can travel to any organ of your body and create disease. A very unpleasant thought! Taking a vitamin C supplement is an excellent way to top up your intake of this vital nutrient.
  • Vitamin D is essential for healthy immune system function, and deficiency promotes overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the body. Gum disease is more prevalent in people without sufficient vitamin D in their body. I encourage all my readers to get a blood test for vitamin D, because you are probably deficient unless you work outdoors or have outdoor hobbies.
  • Co Enzyme Q10 also helps to protect your gums and may reduce the risk of tooth loss in older individuals. Some studies have shown co enzyme Q10 works best when applied topically to the gums and then swallowed. So you may want to burst a capsule, rub it across your gums and then swallow.
  • Xylitol and coconut oil both inhibit bad bacteria from growing in your mouth. They are both easily incorporated into your diet. Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that you can cook with, and it is available in sugar-free chewing gum and toothpaste. Xylitol can inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria on your teeth such as Streptococcus mutans. The fatty acids in coconut oil also help to prevent bacterial growth in your mouth. It is easy to incorporate coconut oil into your cooking, or add it to your protein smoothies.
  • Minimize or avoid consuming acidic beverages. Fruit juice, soda and sports drinks can all wear away your tooth enamel, leaving your teeth more exposed and vulnerable. Even diet soda is harmful due to the acids it contains. This is a growing problem that is often seen in very young people. You can learn more, and see some frightening photos here.

If you are seeking to improve your health, please don’t forget to look after your mouth. It has an enormous bearing on how you look and feel.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.