"The Principles of Excellent Oral Health"
by Tom Cornwell
I was asked to write an article on oral health for readers of Pure Health & Nutrition and thought that the best thing would be to get right to the basics. While there are many aspects of and opinions on what determines one's best road to oral health, we will take a look at it from prevention pioneer, Dr. Robert O. Nara.
Some feel that with the right dental insurance, the lack of proper attention to the teeth and gums at home will be covered during subsequent and frequent dental visits. Others tend to feel that preventing cavities, gum disease and tooth loss is the better route. I feel that readers of Pure Health & Nutrition fall into this latter group, but the question is, "How?"
Let's break the endeavor down to seven bite-size factors or 'principles' if you will:
Easily HALF of the battle for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums will be won where the body is fed good, nutritious foods. Like the rest of the body, it does take care of itself when it comes to growth, healing etc. Why not the teeth? Probably without prior human intervention, the teeth and gums would do just fine, however, a strong immune system, fed by nutrient-rich foods (which we may determine is the best source of nutrients) is going to be one of your biggest allies. We already know the benefits to the rest of the body, but for some reason the oral cavity, the domain of the dental profession alone, is one of the least attended to areas of the body when it comes to the topics of health and fitness. So we need to make change in our...
POINTS OF VIEW:
We need to make the health of our teeth and gums a top priority in our focus for having and keeping the body healthy. While there are obvious reasons for having healthy teeth and gums, to say nothing of the social aspects, science is showing more and more in the most recent years that oral infection spreads to the rest of the body, with bacterial culprits colonizing in other parts of the body and being responsible for diseases of the heart, lungs kidneys, etc. (More on this: 'Are My Bad Teeth Killing Me?' http://mizar5.com/killing.htm ) The extent of responsibility oral illness plays in these diseases may never be known, but my opinion is that it is far more responsible than we currently believe. Why do I say this? I say this because oral diseases (periodontal disease, caries, etc.) is at epidemic proportions almost world-wide, but especially in North America, Western & Eastern Europe, Australia, etc. and because there is such a dichotomy between the medical and dental professions in this respect, there isn't much crossing over the line. You won't find a lot of dental research on heart disease and you won't find a lot of medical research linking periodontal pathogens with heart disease, for example. Could you imagine if a heart researcher revealed, "We've determined that you can cut your risk of heart disease by 90% if you brush your teeth longer..."? Big Pharma would certainly take exception! So, what do we do?
We certainly want to take better care of our own teeth and the health of those in our families. That's why we invest in dental insurance and brush our teeth, right? What really ARE our options? Is that all we can do, aside from visiting the dentist every 3 or 6 months? Obviously, if we have an injury, we need to make a beeline to the health professional. Likewise, if we are in such poor health where there has been so much decay and damage done to the teeth and gums, we probably need to get the repair work done, BUT, we need to make the decision NEVER to let things get so bad again. Yes, the professionals are necessary but you'd be hard pressed to locate one willing to work with you on a full-blown program on keeping your teeth and gums healthy. It just doesn't make economical sense, PLUS the professionals' focus of education was on the mechanics of restorative work - not the biology of the mouth...
When you understand the progression of the disease you can understand how to best deal with it on your own, how to prevent the progression and how best to communicate intelligently with your dental professional about YOUR treatment for which YOU are paying him or her. Sometimes they forget who is ultimately paying for their service and actually need to listen and heed the concerns of the patient. Like any other profession, trade, etc, there are excellent dental professionals, sloppy-poor ones and all those who fall in between the two characteristics. You need to do your homework in determining who you are going to deal with, just like everything else in life. You also NEED to know how to best care for your own teeth and gums; how to clean, how long to brush, floss, irrigate between the teeth and under the gumline so that it really makes a difference. When you know how to prevent plaque or remove it, you are more able and willing to take responsibility for it.
UNDERSTANDING THE BIOLOGICAL BALANCE:
Diseases in the mouth are mainly caused by bacteria. Tooth decay is caused by different bacteria than periodontal diseases, nonetheless, where you find one, it is considered that the environment is conducive for the survival of the other. Pathogens are spread by kissing, sharing eating utensils, etc. - so they are contagious. Where pathogens are not disrupted due to thorough brushing, flossing and irrigating they are able to take up residence in a tough bio-film, grow, populate and damage the teeth and mucous membranes via the excretion of acids, which damage the oral environment. Neutralizing the acids and killing off the bacteria create a clean environment whereby the body can heal and maintain. Thus, where the immune system is strong, much of this dirty work is happening naturally, which is why I say that having a strong immune system is half the battle. The other half is mechanical - what YOU do to keep the environment clean.
Now you simply need to make the decision to do it. Yea. Just do it. Get the necessary knowledge under your belt and make a few minor changes in your and your family's hygiene routines. Since you are reading this article as a reader of Frederic's, you are likely already taking responsibility from a nutritional point of view. Start by visiting the OraMedia site for Dental Self Sufficiency at http://mizar5.com and get every one of these seven principles explained in detail, coming away with enough information to make significant and healthy changes within a few hours. Then, check out the Primary Care Oral Health Action Pack, a compilation of books we publish that you can now order from Frederic Patenaude's Website (Click Here).
This topic may be a significant motivator for you, especially in the U.S. Don't you have better use for the thousands and thousands of dollars commonly spent on the repair of the teeth and gums? NO REPAIR ever ends the disease progress. It fixes the damage done by the disease... TEMPORARILY. If you were going to spend $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 on the repair of your teeth and gums, wouldn't you expect that that would ALSO be the end of it?? My opinion is that you would like to keep your money for other things, like spending your golden years with a healthy bank account and a healthy set of teeth. So yes, you CAN keep your teeth and gums healthy for life. There is no reason to expect that you should lose your teeth in later years any more than you should expect to lose an arm or a leg due to 'old age.'
Please take the time to consider these points and do something about your oral health today. Why would you NOT want to do something about it for any reason other than ignorance? Now that you know you can do something better for your mouth, save your teeth, gums, possibly stave off other systemic disease because of it and save your money... there simply is no reason not to take action now.
-Tom Cornwell, Publisher OraMedia site for Dental Self Sufficiency
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