From a Patients Perspective: The Intimate Connection between Oral Health, Gut Health and Overall Health
By Rick Gold, Certified FDN Practitioner
Holistic medicine and dentistry is a form of healing and a comprehensive approach that considers the whole person -- body, mind, spirit, and emotion in the quest for optimal health and wellness. The body is a self-healing, self- regulating organism and all it needs from us is to give it what it needs to do its job: the removal of environmental and lifestyle stressors that cause dysfunction and proper nutrition. There are so many potential underlying causes of chronic illness. Some examples are: Sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep, increased toxic burden, lack of proper nutrition, chronic undiagnosed bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, bacterial imbalances in the gut, over the counter and prescription medications. So where does oral health fit into all of this? To understand the connection between oral health and overall health, we need to first understand a little bit about how the body works.
Dental amalgams are the primary source of mercury exposure in Americans. A single dental amalgam filling releases as much as 15 micrograms of mercury per day. The average individual has eight amalgam fillings and could absorb up to 120 micrograms of mercury per day. For comparison, eating mercury-tainted seafood will expose you to about 2.3 micrograms per day -- and that is enough for scientists to call for a worldwide warning! Unfortunately, while many have become well aware of the dangers of environmental mercury contamination, few are as well-informed when it comes to the dangers posed by dental amalgams. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can damage your brain, central nervous system and kidneys, and mixing it with other alloys and placing it in your mouth does NOT all of a sudden render it harmless... Children and fetuses whose brains are still developing are at greatest risk, but anyone can be affected. Naturally, the more amalgams you have, the greater your risk of experiencing health problems as a result. See graph for all organs affected.
Anytime the autonomic nervous system senses stress, it sends a stress signal to the brain. The brain then sends signals to the adrenal glands that the body is under stress. The adrenal glands then produce cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. Cortisol prepares the body to handle stress. This is called the “fight or flight response”. When the fight or flight response is activated, all bodily functions that are required for immediate survival are heightened, and all bodily functions (like digestion, reproduction, or rest and repair) are shut down. Six years ago my state of health was a mess and I began my own health journey to identify and eliminate the underlying causes of my own stress. My health has improved dramatically since then, but it still wasn’t where I wanted it to be. The one area of my body that I had not addressed in recent years was my oral health. I felt that I had an issue with a root canal that I had done about 13 years ago. The only type of dentist I would ever use for myself, my family, or recommend to my clients is an experienced and accredited biological dentist.I decided to go see Dr. Yolanda Cintron in Fort Lauderdale. She is the dentist that I refer clients to for evaluations. After a thorough examination, Dr. Cintron had determined that the root canal was indeed a
problem (I had an abscess and a chronic bacterial infection from the affected tooth that reached into my sinus) and the beginning of periodontal disease. This chronic infection was putting major stress on my immune system, which was showing up as an unexplained slightly lowered white blood cell count for years on my blood tests. Dr. Cintron expertly removed the root canaled tooth and during the procedure discovered that it was filled with mercury. The procedure consisted of her using a laser to decontaminate the socket, a bone graft and a Plasma Rich Growth Factors (PRGF) procedure so my tooth socket can be restored, strengthened and rebuilt. PRGF accelerates a patients’ healing and recovery time. The PRGF technique isolates the proteins from the blood plasma. These isolated proteins are the ones that are responsible for tissue regeneration and wound healing. When a therapeutic dose of those proteins are applied to an area, they accelerate the healing process. Dr. Cintron and her assistants drew a small amount of my blood that was put in a centrifuge spinning process that enabled them to obtain the plasma rich growth factors. The plasma was then placed in the area where the root canaled tooth was removed.
No wonder I suffered from leaky gut, bacterial imbalances in the GI tract, food sensitivities, and malnutrition! Chronic bacterial infections in the oral cavity are also linked to autoimmune disease, heart disease and cancer; yet another chronic stressor on my body that explains many of the symptoms I had been experiencing for the last 12-13 years. Oral health is a crucial aspect of any wellness program and I encourage everyone to find an experienced biological dentist with a holistic approach for a thorough evaluation to see if chronic bacterial infection or heavy metals are part of the underlying cause of poor health.
If you have any questions, please email Rick@goldfunctionalwellness.com.