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: