CAVITIES AND YOUR GUT
How whites are your pearly whites? Were your teeth naturally straight, or did you need braces? Is your mouth the picture of perfect oral health? Or something a tad far from it?
We all know the basics; don’t eat too much sugar (or better yet, any!) / refined carbohydrate, brush and floss regularly and see your dentist two to four times per year for check-ups.
If you do all that, can you rest assured that you’re going to have perfect teeth?
There are a few extra factors to take into consideration, some of which we cannot do much about (genetics) and others which we absolutely can (epigenetic) and specifically, gut health.
Much to my surprise, I recently had the opportunity to see first hand just how much this plays a role.
When I write, much to my surprise, it’s not to say I was shocked that gut health played a role in oral health; rather, much to my surprise that my son developed cavities.
At his two and half year old check up, our pediatrician, who is extremely holistic, noticed some dark spots in his teeth and suggested we go to a pediatric dentist.
The first pediatric dentist took X-rays and determined he did, in fact, have cavities. He then provided his suggested treatment plan: sedation (he said he would not even attempt to work on young children’s cavities because they would definitively not sit still long enough) which would mean a 10-hr period of no food or drink (even water), a $6,000 price tag which did not include the fee that his anesthesiologist would charge.
No, thank you.
Back to the drawing board we went and connected with the right dentist for us: the first questions she asked were pertaining to his diet, brushing habits and then she said the magic words (to me): have you had a stool test done to look at his gut biome?
She had me at gut biome. 🙂
At that time we’d not done a stool test because on all other fronts, there were no issues we’d needed to address.
The one challenge I’ve had to date as a mom is regular tooth brushing… without protest, crying and both of us ending up feeling tired and defeated.
On the first visit, she explained her methodology: she’d use a combination of ozone and SDF
(Silver diamine fluoride), a clear liquid that can be used to help prevent cavities from growing, particularly in children. By combining fluoride’s ability to remineralize teeth with silver’s antibacterial properties, SDF can strengthen teeth and prevent cavities from growing and spreading to other teeth (1).
Basically, it would buy us time; the goal being that by keeping the cavities under control and keeping him pain-free, the baby teeth would fall out and he wouldn’t need any drilling and filling.
He did experience two bouts of tooth pain and those did the trick in keeping him motivated to allow regular brushing morning and night.
However, it was still a bit unclear as to why those cavities developed.
My first thought was, “but he doesn’t eat candy!”, but as I begin to think about it, even though white sugar plays no role in his diet, he does eat fruit, starchy veggies as well as occasional deserts.
Those combined with my ineffective brushing and possibly nursing at night may have played a role, but it still wasn’t a clear picture.
Once we did the GI Map test, however, the very same test I often recommend to my clients, we gleaned some pearls of wisdom.
The overall picture was great: no parasites, pathogenic bacteria, virus, fungus or yeast, no fat in the stool, excellent pancreatic enzymes.
But there was a but.
Three buts, actually:
- Slightly elevated level of strep
- Slightly elevated level of Citrobacter
- Slightly low level of secretory IgA
Guess what they all had in common?
They all affect the oral microbiome!
On the phone with our pediatrician the other day, I found myself lining up all the ducks and seeing clearly how it all made sense.
But why were those three values out of kilter?
It could only be one thing; when Yves was 18 month old, he caught his finger closing a door and developed an infection.
Within two days his hand turned red and it began to spread, demonstrating a clear sign that an antibiotic would actually be appropriate.
I asked our pediatrician if this single course of meds could be responsible for these three values being out of range?
She suspected so, however she explained that functional medicine is still considered relatively new, especially for children, and there simply aren’t enough studies to prove my theory.
The good news, aside from knowing what the root cause probably is, it that these are all so easily remedied with a handful of homeopathic and naturally supportive supplements: chlorella, two specific probiotics, an oral probiotic toothpaste and, just in case of die off, a GI Detox comprised of charcoal, humid acid and also.
Important to note: all of the above were suggested by our pediatrician, based on my son’s specific gut biome as indicated by his test; it was far from a concerned mom being concerned about her child’s dental health and just piecing a protocol together based on a google search!
Cavity free mouth and super charged gut biome, here we come!