| Dental Health That You Can Really Smile About
Sunshine Sharing Vol. 14 No. 2
We don't usually think of nutrition and lifestyle as having that much of an effect on our teeth. In fact, we are generally lead to believe that dental health is based completely on whether or not we properly clean our teeth and gums. But there is a strong connection.
Were you aware that eating sticky white bread (and other refined foods) provided food for several species of Strep bacteria in your mouth?
Were you aware that when these bacteria get out of hand (out of mouth), they infected your blood vessels, made your blood sticky, and contribute to heart disease?
Were you aware that eating multigrain bread (and other whole foods) provides minerals that were transferred to your teeth via an unstable acid created by your breath and saliva and that this naturally remineralizes tooth enamel?
Were you aware that Dr. Weston Price, DDS, did extensive research in the 1930s which suggests that mineral deficiencies are the real cause of tooth decay, not dental plaque?
Were you aware that there is enough mercury in a single amalgam tooth filling to pollute, according to official standards, a 10-acre lake?
The commercials tell us that coming home from the dentist with "only two cavities" is good news. Is dental disease inevitable like most people think? If we can heal a bruise, cut and even a broken bone, why can't we heal teeth, or at least do a better job of preventing decay?
The commercials tell us that milk is needed for strong teeth.
You'll hear about all of this and more! So, read on!
Natural Therapies for the Teeth and Gums
An excellent way to use herbs to help dental problems, such as bleeding gums, toothaches, poor tooth enamel, gum infections and abscesses, is to apply them topically to teeth and gums using rinses and packs. Packs are made by moistening herb powders with a little water or Vitamin E to form a paste, which is placed against the affected area.
Tinctures or glycerites can also be applied topically by soaking a cotton ball in the solution and applying it to teeth or gums. Essential oils can be diluted in olive oil and applied directly to problem areas. Herbs can also be made into teas or decoctions and used as natural mouth washes or rinses. Tinctures and glycerites can be diluted and used in the same manner. The rinse is usually held in the mouth for up to several minutes and then spit out.
Echinacea provides a 1-2-3 punch for gum problems. Native Americans used it for dental problems including toothaches, sore gums, and "hollow teeth." Echinacea both stimulates the immune system and promotes wound healing. Some species of Echinacea contain a chemical that gives it a "tingly" taste that is a mild local anesthetic.
Licorice root has been found to reduce plaque and the development of cavities. It has a direct anti bacterial action, stimulates immune system function, and also promotes tissue healing. It seems custom-made for gum health.
Many essential oils are directly antiseptic and will penetrate tissue to reach bacteria lodged in deeper areas. They are also "warming" and will encourage the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to improve the vitality of cells for improved self-protection and healing.
Clove Oil can be diluted with olive oil and applied topically to reduce pain in teething infants, dental abscesses, or after dental surgery. It is also disinfectant and antiseptic.
Astringent herbs will help to tighten gums and make teeth more firm in their sockets. White Oak Bark (or fresh oak leaves) is a commonly used astringent for bleeding gums and tooth decay. It can be made into a decoction and used as a mouth rinse, or it can be used as a tooth powder for brushing. Leave the herbs in the mouth for several minutes before rinsing to allow them time to work.
Although most of us wouldn't be this brave, herbalist Matthew Wood has applied white oak bark topically to dental carries, and claims they have healed without having to have them drilled and filled. At the very least, this suggests that brushing with white oak bark powder might strengthen enamel and prevent cavities.
Vitamin C for Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disorder that increases tissue damage and loss. Since vitamin C is known as a powerful scavenger of reactive oxygen species, which form part of the body's antioxidant defense system, low levels of dietary vitamin C may compromise the body's ability to neutralize these tissue destructive oxidants."
Enzymes and Coenzymes
Enzymes help vital chemical reactions in the body to happen more efficiently. And any time that the body
is able to do a better job of putting proteins together and taking them apart, it will do a better job of healing. Supplemental proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes will improve almost every growth, maintenance and repair function.
High Potency Protease is a powerful source of these enzymes.
The bacteria that causes most dental caries (tooth decay) is Streptococcus mutans. As it happens, S. mutans thrives on sugar and starches. Consider a pastry or typical piece of sandwich bread. These are not only highly refined so that they turn to sugars quickly, but they are pasty and easily pack into the spaces between teeth.
Of course, one could choose to eat foods with more fiber and complex carbohydrates. Next, they should make a habit of promptly brushing and flossing. Information on this is easy to find. And, don't forget to also clean your tongue when you're taking care of your teeth.
The bottom line here is that the less food for the bacteria in your mouth, the less damage they will do. And, as if that weren't enough, the sugar in modern sweetened sodas and other beverages can reduce immune system function by half for several hours.
The Immune System's Role in Controlling Decay
Herbs and formulas that support the immune system include Immune Stimulator, Olive Leaf Extract, Trigger Immune, and Echinacea/Golden Seal.
Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance that occurs in every cell.
What if, instead of progressive, unstoppable tooth decay, teeth enamel could repair itself? Of course, it would not happen overnight. And, whatever the process, it would have to be strong enough to overcome the existing processes that are contributing to demineralization.
Demineralization is produced by strong, stable acids eating away at the crystal mineral matrix of the enamel of the teeth. These acids can come from acidic foods, but the acids produced by oral bacteria are a much more serious problem. These bacteria thrive when they are fed sugars and starches and when the immune system fails to keep them I under control.
To reverse the process, eat mineral-rich, unprocessed foods.
Dr. John Christopher claimed that the mineral-rich herb alfalfa would help to rebuild tooth enamel if the bowel was clean. Many people have found that brushing with a mixture of white oak bark, black walnut bark and alfalfa leaf powders has helped to strengthen their tooth enamel and make their teeth more resistant to decay. These and other mineral-rich herbs can also be taken internally to help jaw bones and teeth repair themselves in cases of severe periodontal disease.
Did you know that most modern toothpastes contain sugar?
For a healthier alternative try Sunshine Brite Toothpaste. It contains natural polishing agents, minerals, and herbs such as aloe vera, golden seal and Iceland moss for healing and tightening gum tissues. For extra help with gum and tooth problems, add a little extra black walnut powder.
What about Fluoride?
Additional documented effects of fluoride include skeletal fluorosis, (which includes abnormal calcium deposits), increased hip fractures, immune system inhibition, and increased risk of bone cancer.
Nature's Spring Reverse Osmosis water filter removes mineral salts including about 80% of fluorides.
What about Mercury?
The nervous system is especially vulnerable to mercury toxicity while it is still developing.
An amalgam filling typically contains about half a gram of mercury. For comparison purposes, that is enough, under existing laws, to contaminate a 10-acre lake and require fish advisories.
There are now many safer alternatives to amalgam fillings. Be sure to ask your dentist about your options.
Heavy Metal Detox is an herbal formula that contains nutrients that bind heavy metals and remove them from the body. A high-fiber diet will also help carry away this and other excreted wastes.Sources:
For more information about natural therapies and supplements for dental health, talk to the person who gave you this newsletter. His or her name should appear below. You can also consult some of the sources listed below for additional information.
ABC+D Approach to Natural Healing Correspondence Course, Tree of Light Institute, 2002
Paul Bergner, Medical Herbalism 5(4):9, Dec. 1993
Mercury Heavy Metal Toxicity and Mercury in Dentistry, Nature's Field, Vol. 18 No 6, Nov/Dec 2002
Natural Health Notebook, Health Education Library Publications, 2001
Dominic Bosco, New Solutions to Old Problems, Prevention Magazine, October 1978
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