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Is Your Health at Risk for Not Taking Care of Your Teeth?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Primary care physicians and dentists are teaming up in the hopes of sending you a message: How you care for your teeth has a huge influence on your overall health. For example, if you have serious dental problems like gum disease and infections, you are 25 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease.

You are also two times more likely to visit the ER or have a hospital stay if you have periodontal disease, as well as more likely to suffer from autoimmune disorders, anemia, gastrointestinal disorders or renal disease, K5 News reports.

Aside from giving you a bright smile, it’s pretty well established that good dental health care goes a long way toward addressing many health issues. It just isn’t arguable: A well-balanced oral microbiome is important to optimal health. If for no other reason, it’s well-understood that when bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter your circulatory system, your liver increases inflammatory C-reactive proteins.

This chronic inflammation, in turn, is a hallmark of most chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. From the cardiovascular standpoint alone, if you need more convincing to take care of your teeth, research shows that heart attacks related to gum disease are fatal 9 times out of 10.

In other health conditions, periodontal disease, which is initiated by an increase in Porphyromonas gingivalis, also affects the soft tissues and bones in your body, which impairs your immune response. Additionally, dental caries have also been causally linked to Streptococcus mutans.

The list of health conditions affected by dental care — or noncore — goes on and on. But the bottom line is the key to improving your oral microbiome is, first and foremost, to cease the indiscriminate killing of microbes in your mouth.

This means abstaining from harsh alcohol-based mouthwashes and toothpastes containing fluoride and antimicrobial ingredients such as tricolsan. Fluoride not only harms your microbiome, but also has many other detrimental health effects. In fact, fluoride overexposure from toothpaste, fluoridated water and other sources has led to a virtual epidemic of fluoride damage.

While your teeth need certain minerals and nutrients, fluoride is not one of them, and even topical application of fluoride has come under question. Rather than fluoridated toothpastes, you can brush with coconut oil and baking soda twice a day.

Research suggests the ideal brushing time is two minutes, and the ideal pressure is 150 grams, which is about the weight of an orange. Brushing your teeth too hard and longer than necessary may cause more harm than good, so there's no reason to brush harder or longer. Ideally, brush twice or three times a day — in the morning, evening and 30 to 60 minutes after your main meal.

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