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Condition - Your healthy mouth

By Cathy Robinson BSc(Hons) DipNutMed MWNMS

Although the eyes are said to be the window to the soul, your mouth is a window to your body's health. A healthy mouth ‘speaks volumes’, so how can we keep it in tip-top condition? 

Your mouth is teeming with bacteria. These bacteria can grow out of control and cause dental problems such as gum disease and dental caries. The bacteria help form dental plaque, a sticky material that then allows bacteria to remain on the teeth. When plaque combines with starches and sugars in food, an acid is produced that attacks the tooth enamel, eventually causing tooth decay. If dental plaque is not removed frequently by brushing and flossing, plaque becomes tightly attached to the teeth.

Bacteria need carbohydrates, preferably sugar, for food, so it makes sense to cut back on your sugar consumption. Even better, use the natural sugar substitute xylitol which, apart from being lower in calories, has been linked in studies to lower incidences of tooth decay, as it cannot be metabolised by oral bacteria.

Interestingly, colloidal silver is a natural antiseptic, which also helps promote good oral health.

Oral bacteria can ferment complex carbohydrates (starches), but the process takes longer than with sugar. Unfortunately, many complex carbohydrates are sticky and become lodged between teeth and gums, giving bacteria time to ferment. Foods high in fibre, such as fresh vegetables, help to clean the teeth of carbohydrates and sugars, during the chewing process.

Special toothbrushes are now available which release negative ions, pulling positive ions from dental plaque and, in the process, causing the plaque to disintegrate.

Chewing food well helps to promote saliva flow which, in turn, rinses the teeth of food particles and also has antibacterial properties. Dehydration can cause insufficient saliva production, so stay hydrated by aiming to drink around two litres of water daily. 

The importance of intestinal health, in relation to oral health, is often forgotten. An overgrowth of the wrong type of intestinal bacteria can lead to the embarrassing problem of bad breath (halitosis), which is not easily ignored! Halitosis can also be connected with gum disease, tooth decay, nose or throat infections, high protein crash diets, sinusitis or smoking.

If your body cannot digest protein efficiently, often due to a low level of stomach acid, unhealthy bacteria can take hold in the intestines. Take a good probiotic to help restore proper bacterial balance in the gut. A supplement containing a natural form of hydrochloric acid (the acid which occurs naturally in the stomach) can be useful to increase stomach acid levels and improve protein digestion. Try to relax before and after eating and ensure you chew your food well, to start off the process of digestion properly.

Mouth ulcers can be associated with a lowered immune system, food intolerances (especially to wheat and dairy), stress and nutritional deficiencies, such as a low levels of B vitamins. Support for the immune system includes the vitamins C and A, as well as zinc. It may be advisable to check for food intolerances by using a pinprick blood test, which will test for antibodies produced as a result of exposure to problem foods. 

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