Friday, May 15, 2009

Why You Need A Healthy Oral Cavity

How is your oral health? Every new patient that see’s me gets an oral exam. I look at the tongue, examine the gums and look how many missing or filled teeth are present. I have found it extremely important to ensure that you have good oral health.

The relationship between dental diseases and body illnesses such as cardiovascular disease has been written about in both the medical and dental literature for over 50 years. I have found it virtually impossible to help my patients overcome heart disease (and many other illnesses) if they have poor dental health.

A recent analysis of seven studies found periodontal disease to be independently associated with an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, the authors reported a 24-34% increased risk of heart disease if there were signs of periodontal disease. (J.Gen. Int. Med. 23(12):2079. 2008).

It is very important to ensure that you don’t have periodontal disease. Seeing a good dentist (preferably one who is holistic and understands why he/she should not be using mercury in your mouth) and taking care of your teeth can help more than your teeth; it can help your entire body. I have seen patients with heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and other illnesses that which are unresponsive to any treatment when there is periodontal disease present.

In my area, I work closely with the holistic dentists to ensure that our therapies are compatible. We frequently talk about our patients in order to coordinate our care as we are both trying to help the patient achieve the best outcome.

I know the value of having a healthy oral cavity. I had a tooth that was hurting a few months ago. I went to my holistic dentists (Drs. Leilas and Rousseau) and they told me I had gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. I wasn’t happy. I floss every day and thought I was taking good care of my teeth. He told me that if I didn’t reverse that I would be in for trouble with that tooth.

Dr. Leilas’ assistant, Mara, recommended that I start to use a water pick. I began to use a water pick with ‘Under the Gums Irrigant’ (form Dental Herb Company), which is an herbal product designed by a dentist to help with gingivitis. I also began oil pulling. Oil pulling is where you put one tablespoon of sunflower oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10 minutes and then spit it out. Oil pulling is an old ayurvedic remedy for periodontal disease. I have used oil pulling in many patients with good success.

After seven days of my new therapies, the tooth stopped hurting. When I went back to the dentist, I received a good report; no more signs of gingivitis.

It is important to have a ‘team’ approach for your healthcare. Finding the right physician, dentist, chiropractor, etc., is the correct approach. If you are not getting appropriate care from your health care providers, then find the right ones to work with you. I can never understand why a patient will continue to see a health care provider he does not particularly care for. Remember, you are in charge of your health care decisions. We (the health care providers) work for you.
Take good care of your teeth—it will help more than just your oral cavity.


  • At May 18, 2009 at 3:20 PM , Blogger Angela said...

    Great advice Dr. Brownstein.

  • At June 1, 2009 at 6:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    That dental and general health are closely related was on prominent display in Weston Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, originally published in the 1930's. Sad that many physicians still don't have as integrated of a view as you do. Sad for the physicians/dentists, sad for their patients.

    Thanks for this post.


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