Body Chemistry and Dental Health?
What we eat greatly determines how we feel. A heavy breakfast can make us logy. A light lunch may leave us starving by the end of the day. While we recognize a boost of energy after a midday snack, people generally do not consider how diet affects oral health. Sure, you know that sugar contributes to cavities. You may even know that acids cause tooth enamel erosion. Did you know, though, that the amazing human body actually sends fluids through teeth from the inside out? In this article, Lake Forest dentist Dr. Jim Fondriest explains.
According to an article on toothbody.com*, our teeth have a self-cleansing ability. Fluids flow through the tooth’s internal canal, through tiny tubules in dentin, all the way through the external enamel and into the mouth.
How does this intradental fluid affect oral health?
In a healthy body, the flushing fluid efficiently cleanses teeth from the inside out. The positive flow also prevents microbes from entering a tooth through its porous enamel and tiny dentin tubules. However, high sugar diet can cause a reverse flow in which fluid in the mouth is sucked into teeth. Sugars trigger the hypothalamus gland, which is responsible for the parotid gland, which can reverse intradental flow. Also, when oral bacteria consume sugar, they produce acid in the mouth. Then, if intradental fluid flow reverses, acids are pulled into enamel. This can lead to dental problems, including infection, tooth decay, and resulting pain.
How much sugar do Americans consume?
The American Heart Association says that Americans consume too much sugar. On average, we each ingest 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. Nutritionists suggest 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men. This count does not include naturally occurring sugars in fruits, veggies, and milk. Instead, it’s based on the bad sugar – the kind that’s in sugary cereals, canned drinks, and candy. A teaspoon of sugar has about 15 calories, so 22 teaspoons adds 320 calories to a daily diet. Remember, too, that sugar is a carbohydrate. That certainly doesn’t help the medicine go down!
How acidic is the American diet?
When we consume an acidic diet, our body chemistry becomes more acidic, meaning it has a lower pH level. (The lower the pH, the higher the acid.) Each year on average, an American eats just under 400 pounds of alkaline-forming foods, which raise pH and lower acidity in the body. In contrast, that same person consumes 2100 pounds of acid-forming sustenance. This diet is not healthy, yet it is common. When we consider healthy eating, we often think about counting calories or watching our carbs. We don’t consider acidity and its detrimental effect on our body chemistry. Perhaps we should.
What other effects does the flushing fluid have on health?
If the flushing mechanism transforms into a vacuum, a decaying process can result. In addition to acid, bacteria in the mouth are sucked into teeth. Research shows, this causes a drop in magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese – minerals important to the positive flushing of internal fluid through teeth. Adding iron, copper, and manganese to diet dramatically reduces the decay process, according to Dr. Ralph Steinmann of Loma Linda University. You can see that, in this cycle of destruction, consuming sugars and acids can be immensely detrimental on body chemistry and oral health.
Do you suffer from unexplained toothaches and oral pain?
If you practice good daily hygiene, brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing once a day, yet you still have cavities and tooth pain, you may need to look to your diet and body chemistry. At our Lake Forest office, Dr. Fondriest can discuss diet and oral health with you, then advise you on ways to correct bad habits. He can also find the source of toothaches and restore damaged teeth. Call (847) 234-0517 today to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients from Lake Forest and North Shore suburbs near Chicago.
Sources: ToothBody.com; AwamDentalArts.com, MSNBC.com