By Evangelos Papoutsis DDS

The world of medicine and our understanding of health is entering a new era. We are in a paradigm shift, as western and eastern medical models are melding. Ancient practices, from acupuncture, herbalism, homeopathy, and the like are increasingly becoming mainstream. It seems that with all the science and technology available to us, the population in general is getting sicker. We search far and wide for answers and cures, but the key to good health lies right under our nose – our mouth!

The Mouth and Body as a Whole

The mouth is connected to the head and in turn to the rest of the body. Every tooth is an organ, which is fed by oxygen and nutrients and is composed of a complex and extensive nerve, blood and lymphatic system. The trend in western medicine has been to separate the body in sections and treat individual systems without considering how those parts influence and affect the operation of the whole body. In other words, we dissect the body and focus on the symptom of a particular ailing “part” without fully considering the body as a whole. But there is no part of the body that works alone. Every part affects the overall function.

That brings us back to our teeth. As small as they may seem, a diseased tooth will cause disease in the body.

Our teeth are intricately connected to our nervous system and to every other organ. The jaw apparatus is connected to the cranial-sacral/spine system. Missing or misaligned teeth prevent smooth and proper function of the jaw, which will translate to dysfunction in a given area of the body.

Think about the body as an incredibly intricate and complex electrical system. If dentists continue, without discrimination, to place permanent implants of dissimilar metals (gold, Hg, silver, palladium, nickel, etc.) into the teeth, you’ll end up throwing off electrical impulses and signals. The saliva and metals in your mouth are essentially creating a battery-like atmosphere. If the electrical activity of the body is disrupted, corrosion and heavy metal deposition into the body will occur. This alone affects our health. Heavy metals from our environment and our mouth have a huge impact on the body’s immune system and toxin burden, not to mention the cell phones we carry next to our heads. With metal in the mouth, we are antennas as well! It’s definitely something to think about.

The myriad of bacteria in our mouths makes it the “dirtiest” place of the human body. And in an unhealthy mouth, bad (pathogenic) bacteria thrive. The wrong type of bacteria in the gut can lessen the function of the digestive track and create a compromised immune system. “Bad” oral bacteria have been connected to heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and the list goes on. An unhealthy mouth is an unhealthy body.

Everything from a common cold to a cancer can be seen or diagnosed in the mouth. The importance of oral health and dental work is greatly underestimated. Doctors should investigate a patient’s oral health status to better understand where a problem may be coming from, and likewise, more dentists should be educated on the implications of their pending treatment on the overall health of their patients. It would be ideal if the two would communicate for the benefit of a person’s health.

For years we have considered our routine dental procedures from extractions, to root canals, mercury (Hg) containing fillings, plastic fillings, and fluoride (Fl) administration, as benign and localized to the oral cavity. This cannot be further from the truth. The controversies surrounding the use of certain dental materials and their hazardous potential to overall health have been clouded over by business and profit. Legal and political issues have outweighed public health concerns.

The Take Home

The key lies in education. Teaching children good nutritional habits and proper oral hygiene can prevent a lifetime of chronic conditions. Research continues to strive for more biocompatible materials to restore teeth, and technology has afforded us the opportunity to maintain a strong, functioning, oral apparatus. We have all the tools, the information is out there; it’s up to us to be educated and informed about what our options are, what the dentist is doing in our mouth, and how it may affect our health!

Our mouth is our survival mechanism, without question. A diseased mouth is a diseased body. Take care of your teeth, your mouth, and maintain a nutritious diet. This will reflect in the health of the body and, in turn, the health of the teeth. The oral cavity is truly the gateway to the body and the key to good health.