I always encourage people to ask the ‘Why’ questions as much as possible about their dental health (and hopefully answer the questions as well!).
Some ‘WHY’ questions:
WHY are my teeth susceptible to cavities, breakage, sensitivity? (Remember cavity-causing bacteria PLUS a susceptible tooth equals a cavity – it’s not just the bacteria.)
WHY do I have gum disease?
WHY does my body produce tartar?
WHY am I losing bone around my teeth?
WHY did I need to have a root canal? (And removing root canaled teeth DOES NOT answer the question WHY it was needed in the first place)
Assessing Mineral Status Helps Answer the Why Questions
In order to answer these questions we need to get to the root of the issue (pardon the pun!). For example there might be a hormonal imbalance, an excess of oxidation occurring, not enough matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors, vitamin or nutritional deficiency, insufficient dentin fluid flow and so on. (Don’t know what all those complicated sounding words mean? Check out my book, How to Stop Cavities: A Natural Approach to Prevention and Remineralization – It’s all explained in there!) However delving even further into those issues we know that minerals make up hormones and contribute to their regulation, minerals are behind excessive oxidation and matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors and are connected with vitamin and nutritional deficiencies. Minerals are responsible for making things happen or not happen in the body. They are the basic building blocks of all processes in the body.
Thus, the answer to these ‘Why’ questions can be ascertained by assessing the minerals in the teeth and body.
Calcium: It’s More Complicated than Just Loading Up On It
Everybody knows that calcium is good for the teeth. But in reality it is calcium in balance with other minerals that is important for optimal oral health. Numerous studies have been done correlating an imbalance in the Calcium/Phosphorus ratio to cavities, gum disease, acid erosion and other dental problems. For example too low of a ratio would put someone at greater risk of getting cavities and too high a ratio could put someone at greater risk of getting tartar and gum disease. (Melvin Page, DDS first wrote about this in his book, Regeneration, Degeneration, 1954) Simply loading up on calcium is not the answer, as it is balance that is key. (Isn’t that always the way – balance?!)
Why Not Test Teeth or Blood?
We do not measure the ratio of Calcium/Phosphorus (and other minerals) by chipping off pieces of the tooth to send away to the laboratory (we want people to keep their teeth intact!). Blood is not the best way to determine mineral ratios because it is incredibly important for blood mineral ratios to be balanced and because of that the body keeps the blood in a strict state of homeostasis. By the time problems show up in the blood, they are quite significant problems. Always amazingly intelligent, the body ‘triages’ and will first draw from (or deposit unwanted) mineral stores from the parts of the body that are not as important as blood, such as the teeth and hair.
For this reason, and because hair can be easily removed to be sent to a laboratory, we test the minerals in hair to determine what is going on with teeth minerals. While the actual minerals levels won’t be the same, the ratios of the minerals will give us the information we need to know about what needs to be done so that the teeth and gums are healthy and resistant to problems.
Rethinking What You Know About Hair Testing
If you have heard of testing the minerals in your hair it was most likely focused on testing the toxic elements in your hair. While toxic element testing is an important part of hair testing, most people have never heard of the connection that the minerals have with their teeth and gums and tartar. It is my experience that if someone has had a hair test completed there is a lot of very useful information that is overlooked during the analysis of it, in both the laboratory print out as well as during the practitioner’s discussion. There is likely no connection made to oral health.
I Can Help You Really Answer Your Why Questions
I recommend getting a hair test done (many naturopaths and nutritionists do them, or you can request one through myself, Dr Judene) if you haven’t already and consider scheduling a consultation with me to discuss the connection. One day I will come out with a book that explains much more… One day, but not too soon 😉