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Is Your Mouth Heart-Healthy?

by Jeff Cordeiro

Is your mouth heart-healthy?Studies show that eliminating dental plaque may be an important step in preventing periodontitis and coronary artery disease. 

Researchers examined 20 individuals with chronic periodontitis and found that, in 13 of the 20 patients, the bacterial pathogens most frequently found in severe chronic periodontitis were also found in atherosclerotic plaque of coronary vessels.

The Mayo Clinic surveyed almost 12,000 people in Scotland* and those who "rarely or never brushed" their teeth had a 70% increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or other event, compared to those who brushed twice a day. Those who rarely brushed also had higher levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. 

When brushing, tiny blood vessels can break and allow bacteria in the mouth to enter the blood stream. Well then, the obvious solution is simply to rinse with mouthwash before brushing, right? Wrong. Antiseptic mouthwashes and toothpastes destroy, not only the germs that cause bad breath and the bacteria bad for your arteries but also weakens tooth enamel and may even cause cancer of the mouth.

Mouthwashes definitely kill bacteria but they also upset the natural pH of the mouth. Listerine has a pH of 4.3 and Scope has a pH of 5.4. Rembrandt, on the other hand has a pH of 6.5, which is almost the same as waters neutral 7.0 pH. The closer you can get to neutral, the better because your mouth needs to be alkaline to function properly. The alcohol in commercial mouthwashes also inhibit the production of saliva, which actually allows bacteria to multiply faster.

Tooth decay is caused by specific types of acid-producing bacteria that cause damage in the presence of fermentable carbohydrates such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose. The mineral content of teeth is sensitive to increases in acidity. A tooth (which is primarily mineral in content) is in a constant state of flux between demineralization and remineralization. When the pH at the surface of the tooth drops below 5.5, demineralization proceeds faster than remineralization, which results in tooth decay.

An April 2001 study published in The Journal of Clinical Periodontology showed that use of acidic mouthwashes significantly increased enamel loss. As shown above, some of the more popular mouthwashes, including those used and recommended by dentists, are highly acidic and should never be used long-term or as pre-brushing rinses.

Need another reason to stop using your mouthwash? A study from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil indicated that daily mouthwash use was strongly associated with cancer of the pharynx and cancer of the mouth.

So whats the solution? How can we have a healthy mouth and a healthy heart? I believe in eliminating the cause of a problem rather than the symptom. So, the real question should be "why do people have plaque?" Most people think weve always had a plaque problem and that modern dentistry is the solution. Guess what? The plaque problem is a modern occurrence and its all due to the foods we eat.

If we all ate properly for our ancestral type and our parents ate the right foods for their types, wed never have to see the dentist or brush or floss for that matter. If brushing and flossing were necessary for us to keep our teeth, we would have all starved to death long before the invention of the toothbrush. Cavities were virtually nonexistent 10,000 years ago.

Eighty years ago, Dr. Weston Price searched the world to discover the cause of dental decay and degenerative disease. The answer: refined foods (translation: foods lacking certain nutrients). 

Communities all around the world with all varieties of diets but with no refined foods had no signs of dental decay. They were also much healthier in general stronger bones, better skeletal development, beautiful teeth and virtually free of degenerative diseases.

Please click on the video below for a brief explanation on Dr. Price's discoveries and conclusions. 

Unfortunately, very few of us have been eating the right foods our entire lives and even fewer of us were born to parents who did as well. So, brushing and flossing are necessary. Just beware of the products you use and dont pre-rinse with commercial mouthwashes.

Cut sugar from your diet. Eat healthier whole foods, local organic in-season (LOIS) fruits and vegetables (cranberries seem to be especially beneficial for teeth), wild fish, dairy and meats from grass-fed animals, fewer processed foods and rinse your mouth with water after eating to return the pH of the mouth to neutral.

You may also wish to supplement with CoQ10 and Folic Acid (the lack of each seems to be detrimental, not only to the body in general but oral health in particular). The goal is not to destroy the plaque that accumulates. The goal is to prevent the formation of plaque in the first place. A healthier mouth means a healthier body and a longer life.

As always, I hope you found this article thought-provoking and helpful.

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Related Information:

Eat Foods for Your Type

Dr. Oz: Prevent heart attacks by brushing, flossing and eating right

Osteoporosis: Childhood disease with late onset

Dr. Perricone: Low Vitamin D levels lead to Osteoporosis

How Mercury Damages the Brain

Good books on nutrition for health:

Eat Right for Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo (),
Dr. Perricone's Weight Loss Diet (click here) and 
Staying Healthy with Nutrition
by Dr. Elson M. Haas, MD (click here).

*Source: BMJ, May 27, 2010; 340: c2451

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