embracing nutrition and functional medicine

Naturally Support Your Child’s Dental Health

ESTIMATED READING TIME 6 MINUTES

Naturally support your childs dental health

Naturally support your child’s dental health.

It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, and in support, this week’s blog is all about optimising your child’s dental health.

Shockingly, in a recent survey, almost 30% of 5-year-olds in the UK showed evidence of dental decay 1. Sadly, this statistic doesn’t seem to be improving over time.

Dental Health and Whole-Body Health

Historically, the connection between dental health and whole-body health has often been overlooked. This has missed the intimate link between your mouth and the rest of your body.

Poor oral health contributes to various other health issues, with a particularly close connection between the brain and the heart. On the other hand, oral health gives clues about health issues elsewhere in the body. In fact, the mouth is a barometer of general health.

The Oral Microbiome

The symbiotic community of bacteria resident within the gut is now well-known, but there are other communities, known as microbiomes, elsewhere in the body. The mouth is no exception. Bacteria live on your tongue, teeth, cheeks, and gums. There are hundreds of different species in your mouth, totalling approximately two billion bacteria. The types of bacteria living there influence gum health, the likelihood of cavities, the speed of plaque build-up and whether any inflammation is present in the mouth. So you want your child to have a healthy oral microbiome.

The bacteria resident in the mouth influences the gut microbiome, as millions of them are swallowed each day. Plus, they can easily migrate into the rest of the body via the bloodstream during chewing, flossing or brushing. But the oral microbiome isn’t talked about as often or given as much credit as the gut microbiome, despite being incredibly important for overall health.

Unlike your child’s gut microbiome, however, their oral microbiome is exposed to the outside world every time they breathe, eat or drink, meaning it’s constantly under attack. Microbiomes elsewhere in the body live on surfaces that are constantly renewing themselves, like the gut lining. But some oral bacteria live on teeth, which are static and don’t renew themselves over time. This means the oral microbiome can be more resistant to change than other bacterial communities. All this makes oral care, especially regular dental cleaning, important to ensure a healthy microbiome. Sometimes, pathogenic bacteria build up in pockets in the gums, requiring specialised dental techniques to eradicate them.

The bacteria living in your child’s oral cavity are shaped primarily by what they eat. Sugary foods and drinks and those containing refined starches, just as in the case of gut bacteria, encourage disease-producing bacteria. These promote inflammation and poor gum health and produce acids attacking the tooth enamel, eventually causing cavities. On the other hand, a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables encourages the more beneficial types of bacteria. Plant foods contain fibre, naturally cleaning teeth and gums.

Functional Dentistry

Functional dentistry is an emerging branch of dentistry that looks for the root causes of dental health issues and recognises their connection to overall health.

A functional dentist examines how the health of the mouth and the rest of the body are interconnected. They will recommend dietary and lifestyle measures to support oral health, in conjunction with modern dental techniques where necessary, and take into account the current overall state of health.

Whatever is in the mouth can migrate around the body. Traditional silver fillings with their content of highly toxic mercury do seem an odd choice in light of this. This has led to a move away from metal fillings to composites. A functional dentist can advise about the safest and most stable materials, those least likely to leach, for example, tiny particles of plastic into your or your child’s bloodstream. They will use the most biocompatible material to harmonise with the body.

Functional dentists understand the importance of nutrition for a healthy mouth. Certain nutrients are needed when your child’s adult teeth are forming and growing. These include calcium, to help strengthen new teeth, alongside vitamin D. Healthy gums need a good supply of vitamin C.

Functional tests examining the types of bacteria present in the oral microbiome can identify opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria capable of causing oral health issues. In this way, personalised recommendations can be provided.

Embracing Nutrition is delighted to introduce Dr Victoria Sampson to the medical practitioner team. Victoria is known for her work in salivary diagnostics, microbiome testing and the use of artificial intelligence in everyday dental care. Acknowledged worldwide for her work, she is passionate about preventative dentistry, putting the mouth at the centre of the body and emphasising the connection of the oral microbiome with general health.

Using the latest minimally invasive dental techniques, her work is especially suited to children and young adults.

To start your or your child’s journey to better oral health, contact us today.

References

Did you know you can request a FREE 15 minute Discovery Call

Do you need personalised natural support to improve your child’s dental health? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.

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