Any dental restoration will invariably have a better long term prognosis when built on a strong and healthy foundation. From a functional standpoint, inadequate nutrition will make the body (including teeth and gums) more susceptible to gum disease, resulting in increased tooth mobility, bone loss, and eventual tooth loss. From a cosmetic standpoint, it is essential that restorations such as porcelain veneers and crown and bridgework be performed in a healthy mouth (free of gum disease) as red and inflamed gums can distract from the overall appearance. A mouth that is kept healthy will invariably lend itself to beauty.
It is very important not only to create the perfect smile, but to make certain that perfect smile is built upon a strong and healthy foundation. The key achieving this healthy smile is by maintaining proper oral hygiene — regular dental check-ups and by taking nutritional supplements that are specifically geared towards optimum oral health. After all of the advances in dental office care and home care, 90 percent of the population is still developing periodontal disease. Nutrient deficiency can become a major contributing factor in periodontal disease by inhibiting the mouth’s ability to resist infection, and eventually contribute to tooth loss. In other words — your diet does affect your dental health. The future of dentistry lies in the prevention of disease through the consumption of a well-balanced diet and the necessary nutritional supplements. Remember… disease will occur less frequently in a well-nourished body.
The mouth is a mirror to the immune system. Unhealthy, bleeding gums are the first signs of a vitamin and mineral deficiency. The lack of magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin E or vitamin C can allow rapid destruction of cell membranes, compromising the structural integrity of the cells, leading to gingivitis and periodontal disease. Bleeding gums attract scavenging bacteria, and the bacterial digestion of blood creates unpleasant mouth odors. It is a vicious cycle that can be quelled by proper oral hygiene, adequate diet and nutritional supplementation and the use of herbal remedies as an adjunct to conventional therapies.
The USDA Food Consumption Survey reported that out of 21,000 people surveyed, not one consumed 100 percent of the RDA (recommended daily/dietary allowance) for ten key nutrients. These ten key nutrients included: vitamins B6, B12, A, C, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, iron and protein. Most people are blissfully unaware of the importance that vitamins play in a healthful lifestyle. According to a recent article written in the New York Times, only one in ten people (of the 12,000 people surveyed in ten states), have adequate diets. The US Public Health Service also found that 50 percent of the population was below the US RDA levels for one or more vitamin or mineral. And according to the American Dietetics Association, only 20 to 30 percent of adults are consuming the recommended daily five or more servings of fruits and vegetables.
What role do vitamins and minerals play in the mouth?
Vitamins and minerals play a major part in helping the body combat bleeding and swollen gums, loosening of teeth, tooth decay and halitosis (bad breath). Specifically, vitamins and minerals help form antibodies to fight bacteria and infection, boost the immune system, destroy foreign substances and eradicate toxins. Both vitamins and minerals share a symbiotic relationship. Vitamins cannot be used or absorbed without the presence of minerals. And minerals cannot be made by our bodies; we must ingest them through foods and supplements. Since most people tend to see their dentist more routinely than their physician, it is the dentist that can become the primary nutritional educator. In addition to regular brushing, flossing and routine dental check-ups, nutritional supplements can help to keep your mouth and body strong and healthy.
What are the most common signs that someone has a vitamin and mineral deficiency?
One of the most common signs of vitamin deficiencies are oral lesions — changes in the texture of the gums and lips and burning sensations of the tongue. Some of the oral manifestations of deficiency and metabolic disorders readily identified by dentists are: osteoporosis, diabetes, anemia, anorexia and bulimia.
What role does Folic Acid play in the mouth?
Certain nutrients can help to prevent the defects brought about by their deficiency. For example, a recent study concluded that folic acid plays a vital role in the prevention of birth defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate during pregnancy. Additionally, women who may need more folic acid include frequent dieters, drug or alcohol users, smokers, women on the pill and women who consistently do not eat well-balanced meals.
Do most people have inadequate diets?
Yes. Let’s face it — most people do not eat well. Even bodybuilders, athletes and movie stars (who look as if they are eating right) may not be getting all of the nutrition that they need. Findings indicate that unbalanced diets and subclinical deficiencies are becoming increasingly common. The majorities of individuals do not eat fresh vegetables, but would rather eat frozen, processed and canned vegetables. We are living in a society where children grow up on Big Macs rather than a fresh, home-cooked meal, where candy bars, instead of fresh fruit are the afterschool snack of choice. And the results of these poorly balanced diets are evident in the mouths of our patients.
There are nutritional systems that have all the ingredients to support the health and beauty for your smile. For more information visit: www.livehealthyandsmile.com. These systems work synergistically to build and support your immune system, fuel the body’s needs, boost your energy, release excess weight and increase your body’s recovery time from all the rigors you impose on it. Additionally, cleansing can aid in accelerating the removal of these toxins and impurities from the body, while nourishing the body with vital nutrients to rapidly revive health. When toxins are released, the fat that binds to these toxins is more easily released as well.
Poor nutrition and a lack of certain key nutrients increase the risk of developing oral diseases; exposing the mouth to infection and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a condition that affects the majority of the population, and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Approximately, 50 percent of all people have some form of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), which is often a precursor to periodontal disease. Recent studies have shown that there is a direct link between periodontal disease and such serious conditions as heart disease and diabetes. Eating a well-balanced diet and taking nutritional supplements will help to strengthen one’s immune system, promote healing, help prevent oral cancers and give individuals healthy teeth and gums.
In addition to periodontal disease, dietary deficiencies have been associated with such oral health conditions as; osteoporosis of the surrounding bone, loss of taste, bad breath and mouth and tongue sores. Deficiencies in vitamin C, iron and zinc could compromise the resistance of our gum tissue to the bacteria in dental plaque. So what recommendations should a dentist make to their patients regarding diet and nutrition? The number one suggestion is to eat a well-balanced diet and to take the necessary nutritional supplements; otherwise your teeth and gums may be at risk.
Who has the greatest risk for inadequate nutrition?
Individuals who are at an even greater risk of developing nutritional deficiencies include smokers, diabetics, the elderly, adolescents, women during and after menopause and lactating and pregnant women. However, a poor diet is not the only reason people may be nutritionally deficient. Even if people are eating well, food processing, pollution, stress, alcohol, smoking and various medications and medical conditions can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients or accelerate their depletion. Some of the drugs that prevent a person from receiving the benefits of a well-balanced diet include: aspirin, cold remedies, allergy pills, corticosteroids, laxatives, antacids, barbiturates, diuretics, caffeine and even birth control pills, illness, injury, physical and mental stress also place a strain on the body and act to deplete its nutritional stores.
Ready to get the smile you’ve been dreaming of? Find out how Dr. Lazare can help you today! Call our office at 212-861-2599 or send us an email at [email protected]