My previous receptionist Lyndsay is all about teeth. She recently completed her studies to be a dental assistant and is now working in the dental office upstairs from me. Congrats Lyndsay!
She would ask me why dental health did not seem to be considered in many health assessments. In Traditional Chinese Medicine we do consider the whole body including the teeth, but generally our training about the teeth is pretty basic. We look at your tongue and gather detailed information about your health, but don’t always look carefully at the rest of your mouth. Your family physician is unlikely to pay attention to your tongue, teeth, or gums unless you specifically point them out. So, here are some things you should consider and keep an eye on for yourself:
1. Look at the colour of your gums
If they are red and swollen, they may be infected with bacteria that can contribute to heart disease (and a higher risk for heart attacks!), inflammatory diseases, and an aggravation of diabetes.
If they are pale, you may be anemic.
2. Is your mouth dry?
Dry mouth can be caused by some medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, and antidepressants.
Saliva is important to protect the teeth and gums form bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
3. How is stress affecting you?
Chronic stress causes a release of cortisol, a hormone that has a variety of health effects, including damage to the gums. Stress, depression, and anxiety also tend to make us pay less attention to our oral health care and do things that are unhealthy to our bodies and our mouths, including smoking, drinking, and teeth grinding or jaw clenching. If you grind your teeth, you could be causing permanent damage.
4. Do you have osteoporosis?
If you do, or if you are osteopenic, this can affect the bones in your jaw and cause tooth loss. Bisphosphonates, a drug used to treat osteoporosis, may also rarely cause osteonecrosis, bone death of the jaw, so let your dentist know if you are taking this medication.
5. Worth the extra effort, floss your teeth!
Though it may be very difficult, regular brushing and tooth flossing can help treat rheumatoid arthritis. This can be because of a common contributor, inflammation.
6. Teeth and kidneys, TCM connects them
Western medicine has observed a connection between kidney disease and periodontal disease, but they don’t know the reason. TCM foundations shows the teeth specifically related to the kidneys, both physically and energetically. So, take good care of your kidneys to take care of your teeth and take care of your teeth to keep your kidneys healthy.
7. So, what should you do?
Brush and floss your teeth regularly. Talk to your health care providers about tooth, gum, and mouth problems you notice. Ask about supplements, foods, and other things you can do to keep healthy.
To read more about your teeth and your whole body health, check out these 2 sites or feel free to ask me:
A colleague of mine wrote, “Americans are artificial life forms. While we weren’t looking, someone transformed us from natural creatures living according to the cycles of our planet, to cyborgs.” http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32218
Think about it. We were once connected to and a part of nature. Once upon a time. But put most of us in the wilderness now without our cell phones and we’re in big trouble! Bit by bit we’ve tried to overcome and surpass nature. We add chemicals to our foods, our bodies, and our environment. We replace or remove our body parts as they wear down or we damage them.
The acupuncturist who wrote this article challenges her colleauges to educate friends, family, and community about Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, and a natural path to good health.
I challenge you to learn more about these things and your own good health. So, what do you want to learn?
The first time I ever heard about this strange practice of putting needles into people other than to give an injection, draw blood, or simply be mean was when I was living in Japan. I was at a friend’s house and saw a pair of Coke bottle thick glasses. He didn’t wear glasses, so I asked whose they were. “They’re mine,” he responded. “Really?!” I thought as he didn’t wear glasses.
Well, that was true, he didn’t wear glasses when I knew him, but he used to. He had received acupuncture and no longer needed them! I stored that bit of bizarre info in my brain and didn’t revisit it until a couple of years later when I was back in Canada. I happened on a book about Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture and decided that I wanted to learn more about this mysterious practice.
Nearly 15 years later and I’m still fascinated by this amazing therapy called acupuncture and the philosophies and diagnostic systems of TCM.
Today I received a newsletter about acupuncture and the eyes, so I thought I would share it. http://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Acupuncture+and+Eye+Health
I don’t do many points directly around the eyes, but there are some great points listed here and there are many more far from the eyes that do wonders. For example, one study had a popular point called Liver3 on the foot acupunctured while an fMRI of the brain was done (looking at the brain in real time during acupuncture). The same areas that would light up in the brain when a light is flashed in the eye responded when Liver3 was stimulated. When a different, but nearby point (Liver2) was acupunctured, a different response in the brain occurred. Liver3 is commonly and traditionally used to treat the eyes. This is the study (but note that they made an error stating that the point is on the hand; it’s not, it’s on the foot): http://www.springerlink.com/content/w708x6438421547k
Isn’t the body amazing?!
Did that not work well enough? Well, here’s another simple solution. It’s called meridian tapping and it’s easy to do, doesn’t take much time, takes practically no space, and feels good. It’s called Meridian Tapping and all you need to be able to do is to reach your feet (do it from a seated position if standing is too tough).
Video for Meridian Tapping