What the Tooth Fairy Didn't Tell You (Continued)


Biofilms grow nearly everywhere there's fluid. In cruise ships they have contributed to illness. We've all heard of Legionnaires' disease, which is a biofilm-like problem in air conditioning systems. Dental offices should be taking special measures to minimize the effect of such biofilms found in their water-lines.

Back to your mouth. Recently, researchers at Duke University's Institute of Genome Sciences and Policy stated that biofilms throughout the oral cavity form an ecosystem that maintains health, when in equilibrium. When this balance is shifted, disease can result. They are studying this process and the relationship it has to systemic health and disease through the new fields of Microbiomics and Metagenomics. They hope this will result in more effective diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.

These researchers point to the development of "personalized dental medicine." I suggest that this kind of care is what you should be looking for now. None of us are the same. We each present with thousands of variables that affect our health. Cookie-cutter healthcare just doesn't work for too many of us.

While our medical knowledge will always be improving, today we know enough to say that you cannot treat everyone the same. Each of us present with a complex and different set of challenges. It is up to your dentist and your entire healthcare team to put together the complex puzzle that is your health. Biofilm is just a piece. Nutrition is another and just as complex.

"You Are What You Eat"

Indeed, when it comes to your mouth that is certainly true. What you consume matters and we are learning more about this every day. The effect that foods have on the oral biofilm is only now beginning to be understood. Nutrition and the use of nutraceuticals are ever- changing fields, which have direct relevance to your oral and systemic health.

For instance, we know that dental decay is a diet-associated problem. Sugar and acid are the culprits, both are ubiquitous in the "American" diet. You should know how destructive soft drinks can be to teeth but the problem of acidity is much more complex. We'll talk more about the issue of acid and reflux disease in Chapter 11.

Foods that begin acidic can be metabolized and actually end-up promoting a non-acidic residue that is good for your overall health. It's actually counter-intuitive. You would think that lemon juice is bad for you. It is certainly harmful to your teeth, if left in contact too long. But it's actually grains, dairy and proteins that contribute the greatest amount of acid burden to our overall system. That's right! You see, these foods are high in amino-ACIDS and many contain sulfur, which also has a net acidic effect. These sulfur compounds also have an effect on your breath.

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Last Modified Date: April 22, 2014

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