days it's almost impossible to find a person with perfect, cavity-free
teeth. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in America,
anywhere from 75% to 95% of all people are prone to periodontal
Unfortunately, in the raw food movement, there's a higher incidence of dental decay. This is typically due to high fruit consumption and incorrect dental care. And there are still, unfortunately, some people who believe that if they just eat clean diet, they do not really have to take care of their teeth, that the food will do it for them (a "rumor" started by natural hygienists a while ago). And it's a pricey mistake to make.
Taking care of our teeth is crucial. If we learn how to take care of our teeth, not only can we prevent problems, we can also heal damage that is already done. There can be healing.
First, let's look at the cause of dental decay.
According to Tom Cornwell of www.oramedia.com, dental decay is caused by an infection, whether it's decay in the enamel due to strep mutants or decay underneath the gum line caused by other pathogens like T. forsythia, T. denticola or P. gingivitis. These are different bugs. An average person has about 500 to 600 pathogens in their mouth. Of that, about 10% of them are actually dangerous.
The bacteria get into an area, colonize and create a biofilm. This is a housing project. This housing project is well fortified. If you're not mechanically removing that biofilm with a brush, floss or some good irrigation, then the pathogens are allowed to grow and duplicate at great speed.
We have to understand what causes decay. Once the bacteria find the food to feed on (and it finds plenty with fresh and dried fruit, nuts and seeds), they excrete lactic acid and that's what does the damage, that and the body's immune defense response to that acid byproduct. Once that happens you've got a mess on your hands.
Now, I am not saying you should stop eating fruit altogether, not at all - eating a variety of fruit daily is very important. However, you have to have a good, daily dental care routine to make sure that your food does not destroy your mouth. So let's get back to the basics and review what is required (and yes, I know we all know them, but do we do them?).
Brush. No matter what, always brush first thing in the morning upon awakening and right before going to bed. You should also brush after each meal, especially after eating sweet fruit, nuts, and dried fruit (if you work at the office, don't be caught without your toothbrush - keep one at your desk and one in your purse/car; I used to do it when I was in the corporate world).
We have five surfaces to each tooth-inside, outside, two sides that are between the teeth and then the crown. If a person has 30 teeth, that's 150 surfaces he has to be responsible for every day, several times a day. With proper brushing, you want to clean all surfaces possible. This means that to thoroughly clean your teeth it will take you at least 2-3 minutes of brushing.
If it's absolutely impossible for you to brush after a meal, take some water and swish it around in your mouth. You will loosen up debris from the teeth. Then brush at first opportunity.
Avoid commercial toothpastes - they are loaded with dangerous chemicals, including fluoride. Although some studies showed that fluoride can help fight cavities, don't forget that fluoride is a toxic chemical, so while helping you with cavities, it can cause irreversible damage to your body's other organs (you can read more about it at here). Natural toothpastes are really not that much better. For best results, use ToothPowder or ToothSoap.
Floss and use oral irrigators. This must be done at least once a day. Floss allows you to reach places your toothbrush wouldn't. It removes food particles trapped between teeth that bacteria are feeding on. For best results, use dental tape - it's wider than floss and has better cleansing action.
Oral irrigators help you remove debris and bacteria lodged deep between teeth and below the gum-line that is hard to reach with a toothbrush or floss and they are a significant oral health benefit for people who wear braces, have diabetes, and periodontal pockets. Once you clean bacteria and debris out, the pockets will heal.
There are various brands and models, my favorite are WaterPick and Quickbreeze.
Don't ignore your tongue. A lot of people don't realize that you can have bacteria and other pathogens on your tongue. You have to brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper. Brush the insides of the cheeks and the roof of the mouth. If you brush your teeth and they come right in contact with a filthy tongue or cheeks, you kind of defeated the purpose.
Eat a healthy diet. Our body is an amazing, self-cleansing, self-healing machine. Your body WANTS to be healthy. When you create a healthy environment, the body will heal itself. The body re-grows new healthy gums, calcium and phosphorus are deposited in areas of soft enamel and dentin, thus healing cavities. Cavities can be made to heal, new bone will grow around the necks of loose teeth, and brand new gum tissue will grow to replace diseased and receeded gums.
However, you have to help your body in this process. Follow a good, well-balanced diet, high in greens and rich in trace minerals. You may also choose to take additional vitamin C and vitamin E, some A and D. For the people with stress problems, vitamin B complex, C and E are recommended. If you can, get hair and blood analysis. If you are low in zinc, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium and manganese, make sure you eat foods rich in these minerals.
Dr. Nara, the author of "Money by the Mouthful", explained, "A person has to have sufficient calcium in his system so that the saliva contains a fair amount of calcium. A person who is on an extremely low-calcium diet would not get any remineralization, and the saliva would not be such as to prevent decay." So eat those greens!
Get Your Stress Under Control. According to WebMD Health News, researchers found 57% of recent studies reviewed showed a positive relationship between gum disease and stress and related psychological symptoms like distress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
Although it's difficult to pinpoint the negative effects of stress on your gums, researchers say the studies suggest that elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol may be involved.
In addition, stress may make people more lax about their oral health habits. "Individuals with high stress levels tend to increase their bad habits, which can be harmful to periodontal health. They are less attentive to their oral hygiene and may increase their use of nicotine, alcohol, or drugs," says Preston D. Miller Jr., DDS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, in a news release.
Researchers reviewed 14 studies published between 1990 and 2006 on the relationship between stress and gum disease in adults. The results, published in the Journal of Periodontology, indicated that most showed a positive relationship between stress and psychological factors and gum disease.
These steps are very simple and easy to follow. All you really have to do is commit fully to your own well-being, to your body, and your health.
© 2009 Radiant on Raw
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