We had such a good response to the article in January on how to improve gum health, that I thought I would continue with the theme, and share a couple of more tips on improving your diet that will contribute to strong healthy teeth and a healthy microbiome in your mouth.
One area of dental health that interests me greatly is how specific minerals and vitamins can help prevent (and possibly even reverse!) tooth decay and cavities. If we stop to think about it, it’s obvious that the food we eat becomes our bones, skin, hair and teeth, but often the conversation stops at ‘Drink cows milk for healthy bones and teeth’. This might be something we have all been told for years but it’s not necessarily always good advice – there is quite a lot of research to suggest that cow’s milk consumption (especially for adults) can actually be counter-productive for bone and dental health.*
One thing to consider is that it’s not just calcium we need for healthy bones and teeth – we need a lot of other minerals and co-factors as well. Magnesium, vitamins K, A and D are all needed for calcium absorption. In Organico we don’t advise that anyone takes calcium on its own, it’s essential to make sure you have all the cofactors otherwise it likely won’t be absorbed and can actually cause problems such as kidney stones, bone spurs, and muscle cramps.
Green vegetables, on the other hand, are incredibly rich in all the minerals we need for healthy teeth – and believe it or not, green plants have the greatest concentration of calcium of any food, second only to sea vegetables. They also contain a lot of chlorophyll, which helps our body to utilise the calcium and put it where our body needs it. So some of the best foods for healthy bones and teeth include high chlorophyll foods such as cooked leafy green vegetables including kale, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, bok choy, watercress, parsley, dandelion greens.
The problem with green vegetables is that many of us find it hard to eat enough every day, even though we do know they are incredibly healthy. So sometimes, a supergreen powder is a good option as a supplement to our everyday diet. One such powder is Wheatgrass Juice Powder. Don’t confuse this with powdered wheatgrass, which is a lot cheaper but if it’s not juiced first there is a huge amount of fibre in there which dilutes the benefits. Wheatgrass juice powder contains high levels of chlorophyll. It also contains vitamin K which, as I mentioned above, is essential for absorbing calcium, as well as A, C E and even a small amount of magnesium**
All in all this makes wheatgrass juice powder an ideal supplement to take if you have concerns about the strength of your bones and teeth, and it has a number of other health benefits as well – it can help with digestion, it can help lower cholesterol, it gives us energy and has been shown to boost our immune system.
Another really interesting aspect of oral health that we don’t often think about is that our microbiome begins in our mouth – our mouths contain as many as 700 different types of bacteria and other microorganisms that make up our Oral Microbiome. The fact is that not all bacteria is bad: in fact, we need the good bacteria to keep our teeth and gums healthy. Your mouth is a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria — and when that balance is tipped, your mouth is more susceptible to common dental concerns such as cavities, tooth loss, tooth decay, and gum disease.
All these microorganisms have different functions, and the main goal is to have as big a variety as possible – and to keep them healthy. We know that eating sugary foods feeds unhealthy bacteria and yeasts, so what can we do to balance that out and nurture the healthy bacteria?
One product I have found to be beneficial for so many issues connected to the mouth is Molkosan. We can take all the probiotics we like, but if we have an overly acidic system, if the environment in our stomach isn’t hospitable, the probiotics we take won’t flourish or even survive. This is where Molkosan comes in. Molkosan is a lacto-fermented whey, which acts as a Prebiotic, which means that it feeds and nurtures the healthy bacteria that make up our microbiome, and will help to create the right environment for them to flourish.
One symptom of an upset microbiome is bad breath, or Halitosis. Bad breath usually comes from deeper than the mouth and can be a symptom of poor digestion calling for an amendment of diet – more fibre, fruit and salad. The condition of the intestines can be improved with a tablespoon of Molkosan every morning taken on an empty stomach. Also, a teaspoon of Molkosan diluted in a quarter cup of water is an excellent mouthwash, and is particularly useful as a gargle for those who suffer from mouth ulcers and sore throats. It can also help combat thrush in the mouth.
If you want to try supplementing with Wheatgrass Juice Powder or Molkosan, your local Healthfood Shop should be able to source them for you. If not we have them both on www.organico.ie and here in Bantry.
In other news, we are hosing a Free Webinar called Herbal solutions for an easier menopause on Thursday, March 24, 7-8pm.
Rachel and I will be joined by menopause expert Eileen Durward and Sarah Hyland from A.Vogel, one of our favourite herbal companies. We’ll chat about how to use herbal remedies to ease menopause symptoms including hot flushing, mood swings, and sleepless nights.
To receive your invitation to register, make sure you’re subscribed to the Organico newsletter by midday, Tuesday, March 22. To subscribe just go onto www.organico.ie and look for the subscription box at the bottom of each page. You’ll get the invitation to register in an email we’ll send that evening.
*For more on milk and health, have a look at the website Nutritionfacts.org, which I have mentioned before – it’s run by a medical doctor in the US called Micheal Greger who loves to challenge commonly held beliefs about diet and health.
Please note, this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice. It’s always best to consult your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements, treatments or remedies, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on prescription medication.