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Brushing Teeth: Ignore This Simple Daily Habit and Watch Your Risk of Heart Disease Soar by 70%

December 08, 2010 | 248,095 views

KSBW reports:

"Some messages coming out of your mouth bypass the vocal chords. Turns out that your teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues also have plenty to say -- about your overall health."

Here are some of the signs to look for:

  1. teethFlat, worn teeth and headache -- Sign of: Stress

    Many people are surprised to find out they're tooth-grinders. You might be doing it in your sleep.

  2. Cracking, crumbling teeth -- Sign of: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

    Tooth erosion isn't a consequence of aging. Disintegrating teeth are usually caused by acid that's coming up from the stomach and dissolving them

  3. Sores that won't go away -- Sign of: Oral cancer

    When an open sore in the mouth doesn't go away within a week or two, it always warrants showing to a dentist or doctor.

  4. Gums growing over teeth -- Sign of: Medication problems

    This can be caused by medication for heart disease or seizures, or drugs that suppress your immune system.

  5. Dry mouth -- Sign of: Sjogren's Syndrome and/or Diabetes

    Many things can cause dry mouth, but a lack of sufficient saliva can also be an early warning sign of two autoimmune diseases --  Sjogren's syndrome and diabetes.

  6. White webbing inside cheeks -- Sign of: Lichen planus

    This mild skin disorder tends to strike both men and women between the ages 30 and 70.

  7. Crusting dentures -- Sign of: Potential aspiration pneumonia

    Aspiration pneumonia, often caused by inhaling debris around the teeth and dentures, is a leading cause of death in older people.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Oral health is a fundamental part of optimal health, and there's convincing evidence linking the state of your teeth and gums to a variety of health issues.

One important health problem not included in the list above is heart disease.

How Poor Oral Health is Linked to Heart Disease

The link between gum disease and heart disease may not be obvious, but chronic inflammation is a hallmark of both conditions and inflammation in your body plays a major role in the build-up of plaque in your arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.

A study published earlier this year concluded that the frequency of teeth brushing can actually have a significant impact on your risk of developing heart disease. They found that those with the worst oral hygiene increased their risk of developing heart disease by 70 percent, compared to those who brush their teeth twice a day.

This finding is yet another potent testimony to the fact that heart disease is a condition that can be prevented, most of the time, by leading a healthy lifestyle -- which includes the simple act of brushing your teeth regularly to prevent periodontal disease.

But just how can periodontal disease trigger heart disease?

It's important to realize that periodontal disease involves both bone and the tissue that is in contact with that bone. From this contact, bacteria and toxic, inflammatory compounds can easily enter your blood stream.

Once in your blood stream, these toxic compounds can harm the lining of your blood vessels, which can lead to both strokes and heart attacks.

So, reducing inflammation is of primary importance for your overall health, and brushing your teeth regularly is one way to ensure you don't carry chronic inflammation in your body. I'll discuss this a bit more in a moment.

How Root Canals Can Seriously Compromise Your Health

Another oft-ignored connection between the state of your mouth and the rest of your body is the issue of how root canals can wreck your health.

The brilliant, but largely ignored work of Dr. Weston Price DDS on this subject -- published in 1923 after 25 years of research -- shows undisputable links between root canals and chronic degenerative diseases, such as:

  • Heart and circulatory disease
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis and rheumatism
  • Diseases of your brain and nervous system

You might think that once your tooth has been treated with a root canal, it's basically "fixed," or made whole again. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Teeth are similar to other organ systems in your body. They too require blood supply and lymphatic drainage. Once a tooth has been treated with a root canal however, the tooth is dead and can become a source of chronic inflammation caused by bacterial toxicity.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, root canal-treated teeth are almost always infected, even when not presenting visible clues. This is because anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that do not need oxygen to survive) continue to thrive by digesting necrotic tissue inside the now dead roots.

The toxins secreted from these bacteria are often incredibly potent. It's equivalent to leaving a grossly infected or dead organ in your body, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The longer root canal-treated teeth stay in your mouth, the more compromised your immune system becomes, and antibiotics will be of no help in these cases because the bacteria is kept safe and secure inside the tooth.

Surrounding your now dead tooth is blood supply and lymphatics, which drain these toxins from the area and spread it throughout your body where it can invade any other organ system and lead to diseases such as:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancers
  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Irritable bowel diseases
  • Depression

Beyond Oral Health – Your Diet is Key to Reducing Chronic Inflammation

As you can see, the running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems is chronic inflammation in your body – regardless of whether it originates in your mouth or not.

Clearly, addressing your oral health is an important step, but as you'll see in the next section, it all starts with your diet.

Your diet can make or break your teeth, as it were, and has a profound effect on your overall level of inflammation. Therefore, to optimize your health and prevent many of the diseases listed above, you'll want to evaluate your lifestyle to ensure you're doing everything you can to prevent chronic inflammation from occurring.

First and foremost, it's important to realize that the food you and your family chose to eat is your primary ally for the prevention of inflammation.

Much focus is placed on cholesterol levels and the ratio of "good" HDL and "bad" LDL cholesterol, but unfortunately, many conventional recommendations for how to improve your cholesterol levels are seriously flawed

For example, it's vitally important to realize that there are different sizes of LDL cholesterol particles, and it's the LDL particle size that is relevant (as opposed to just the overall level of LDL's), as small particles get stuck easily and cause more inflammation.

The only way to modulate LDL particle size is, again, through your diet – statin drugs do NOT address particle size!

To reduce or prevent inflammation in your body, you'll want to avoid the following dietary culprits:

  • Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
  • Sugar/fructose and grains
  • Foods cooked at high temperatures
  • Trans fats

Preventing Tooth Decay Naturally

When it comes to oral hygiene and preventing cavities, there's a virtual war going on. If you listen to conventional health agencies' and your dentist's advice, you may still believe that fluoride is the answer.

Think again!

The only way you can believe this misguided advice is if you completely ignore the science.

Good oral health and strong, healthy teeth is NOT the result of drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. Rather it's all about your diet.

By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place.

Most people whose diet includes very little sugar and few processed foods have very low rates of tooth decay. So the simple act of limiting, or eliminating sugar, and avoiding processed foods -- along with regular cleanings with your natural dentist -- will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy naturally.

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly for Optimal Results

Most will be pleased to know that next month we will be launching a completely fluoride free tooth paste and dental cleaning system that should be out in mid January.

Also keep in mind that brushing your teeth too hard and longer than necessary can cause more harm than good. Persistent scrubbing can damage enamel and gums, while still not making your teeth any cleaner...

According to previous research, the ideal brushing time is two minutes and the ideal pressure 150 grams, which is about the weight of an orange.

The researchers found that brushing longer than two minutes, and/or using pressure greater than 150 grams does not remove any additional plaque, so there's a "Goldilocks' zone" when brushing, and there's no reason to keep going past that point.

[+] Sources and References

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