How good oral health can prolong your life

oral health

I was born and raised in the coal mining fields of Nottinghamshire. My mum always ensured that my sister, brother and I had regular dental check-ups. However, the NHS dentist in our mining town was, in my opinion, a charlatan as he would drill the healthy teeth of children and then proceed to fill them with amalgam. Our mum didn’t know any better – she trusted him. It dawned on me a few years later that he was the only adult in our town who was always driving around in the latest model Jaguar. As a result of the over-drilling/filling of my teeth, I’ve had issues all my life and my teeth have, over the years, cost me a small fortune. I was lucky to have an excellent NHS dentist from the age of 19 to 45, but when he retired, I moved to a private dentist. I’m quite fastidious with my oral health, especially now I’m in my sixth decade and I go for my check-ups and hygiene clean every six months to ensure my oral health is good; there are no persistent ulcers in my mouth or lumps that may be precursors to oral cancer, no decay and no plaque build-up on my teeth. My dentist also checks the lymph glands in my neck as swollen neck glands can indicate oral cancer.

My teeth are in pretty good shape, but they are prone to breaking due to the multiple amalgam fillings I had as a child, and I have also had root-canal work, an implant and several crowns. I had all my amalgam fillings removed by a holistic dentist and replaced with white occlusion ones. I brush my teeth twice, sometimes three times daily. I don’t use a fancy electric toothbrush, I’ve always used a hard ‘smoker’s toothbrush’ even though I’ve never smoked. I floss every day and use a Waterpik. I don’t use any of the nasty mouthwashes, preferring to oil-pull when I feel the need arises.

We are all familiar with the gut microbiome, but did you know that the mouth has its own microbiome too? There needs to be a balance between good and bad bacteria in the mouth otherwise we can get gum disease and dental decay. Bad bacteria in the mouth can easily travel throughout the body via saliva into the digestive system and into the bloodstream via openings in the gums.

If these bacteria get into the gut, it can cause imbalances in the gut microbiome, leading to IBS-type symptoms, inflammation, colitis and Crohn’s disease. When these bacteria gain entry to the bloodstream via small perforations in the gums, studies show that it can affect the heart. You can read more in this abstract about the connection between periodontal disease and cardio-vascular disease.

oral health - dentist

Dentists have long recommended brushing and flossing daily to prevent tooth decay. But there may be an even more pressing reason to address your oral health – it may help prevent certain cancers. Research has found that those with gum disease are 43 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and 52 per cent more likely to develop stomach cancer.

Fortunately, you can prevent and attack oral infections at home to improve the health of your mouth and body. You can also aim for a healthier diet and lifestyle to prevent or beat cancer.

This is an interesting piece of research about how probiotics can positively influence dental health.

For anyone with gum disease, I recommend that they open one of our Live Bacteria capsules, empty the powder in a little water, give it a good stir and use it as a mouthwash, then swallow, but before that do 5 or 10 minutes of oil-pulling so that the mouth, teeth, and gums are squeaky clean before the probiotic mouthwash.

What is oil pulling?

Oil pulling or oil extraction has a long tradition in Ayurvedic teaching. In addition to supporting oral hygiene, the aim is above all to stimulate the cleansing of the body. The salivary gland function is stimulated by pulling the oil back and forth in the oral cavity. Inorganic exogenous substances in the saliva or body juices are bound in the mouth with the help of fatty acids in the oil.

Whenever I have stayed at The Viva-Mayr clinic in Austria, I have had to carry out oil-pulling several times a day. At Viva-Mayr, they have their own oil specially blended – it contains organic thistle oil, organic linseed oil, organic hemp oil, organic tea tree oil, organic peppermint oil and organic clove oil.

For simplicity and ease, oil-pulling works just as well if you use coconut oil.

How to carry out oil pulling:

  • Take a teaspoonful of oil in the morning on an empty stomach after brushing your teeth.
  • Pull the oil without much effort back and forth, draw it through your teeth, even bite and suck it so that it has intense contact with the mucous membrane. Then spit it out.
  • To intensify detoxication, you can repeat the procedure several times a day before meals. Your teeth, gums and mouth will look and feel beautifully clean afterwards.

In summary, don’t underestimate the importance of dental hygiene when it comes to health and wellbeing. I am shocked by the number of people I see walking around who have poor dental health. It’s obvious, isn’t it – missing teeth, black, crooked teeth – but do they realise that apart from looking unattractive, it can be dangerous too? While I appreciate that it’s hard to get an appointment with a dentist, or sign up as a new patient, in these current times, please do persevere! Your oral health is a key indicator or your overall health, your wellbeing, your quality of life – and your longevity.