Oral Health, Gut Health and My Root Canal Repair
If you’re wondering why you’re getting cavities despite what seems like excellent oral hygiene or you notice a growing sensitivity despite a lack of the usual suspects (sugar and cold) on your gums, you may need to go deeper than just your mouth… as well as the family dentist you’ve been seeing for years.
Imbalances in the types of bacteria throughout your digestive system may adversely affect your oral health, contributing to things such as gum disease and tooth decay. Other problems in the gut, such as acid reflux, may also adversely affect your teeth by exposing them to dangerous acid that can wear away enamel (1).
And it works both ways; The oral microbiome may have a great effect on the health of the gastrointestinal system. This has been reported in dental and medical journals of high impact. Both animal and human studies indicate that for example, P. gingivalis may influence the gut microbiota causing dysbiosis (2).
I have a personal interest in this due to my own oral health; excellent hygiene, but gum recession, which I was always told was due to too much of the former causing the latter!
About a decade ago, I allowed myself to be convinced that I need a procedure called a gum graft. Two of them. In a gum graft surgery, tissue can be taken from the patient’s mouth and transferred to the gum line in an effort to cover exposed roots. The other option, which I chose, was to have the same procedure but using tissue from a cadaver.
I had one quadrant done and then about six months later, a second.
The periodontist strongly advised I come back to do the remaining two.
It is important to note that I was not experiencing any discomfort or sensitivity; my sole reason for doing this was to protect my teeth and oral health.
My hesitation stemmed from the lack of information I was getting from dentists and periodontists with whom I spoke about determining what was causing this in the first place as well as wanting to learn more about the most important question I had on this topic: how could tissue in my mouth be the only tissue in my body that are incapable of regenerating?
There was no evidence of tooth grinding nor jaw pain nor headaches.
I kept my regular teeth cleaning visits with my dentist every four months as I continued to investigate, but given that the recession was not worsening, I felt no urgency to uncover the root cause immediately.
Until I met my son’s holistic dentist (read more about that here).
I knew she was speaking my language the moment she mentioned she wanted to check the pH of Yves’ mouth as well as run a stool sample to see what his gut biome looked like and how it could be the root cause of his cavity.
It got me thinking.
There must be a holistic dentist out there that can look after my mouth the way Dr Robbins was looking after Yves’!
And there was!
I was thrilled to get an appointment and the outcome provided information to me that I very likely would not have uncovered for a very, very long time.
The exam was incredibly thorough, to say the least. The amount of images and data collected was mind boggling and the explanation provided by the hygienist was astounding.
I learned that my tongue was spending too much time on the bottom of my mouth when it should primarily be resting on the roof.
The could tell I had been a breast-fed baby that did not suck my thumb based on now my jaw had developed properly and my teeth are not crowded.
And they informed me that the single root canal I’d had nearly twenty years ago had failed and needed to be fixed.
How could that be?
I had no pain or symptoms of any kind.
She explained that had I not been in great health, it likely would have made itself known long ago.
I’d never had an issue with that ever since it had been addressed. The event itself , back in early 2005, was unforgettable; I’d been in the gym training a client when suddenly, a laser sharp pain appeared out of nowhere deep in a molar, so intense that I had to tell my client his session was over and I drove straight to the dentist I was seeing at the time.
She did the repair and I asked no questions. Although I’d already had my mercury fillings replaced by the year 2000, I had no idea what was used in a root canal or that there were any other options; I just wanted relief from the pain.
Fast forward back to late fall of 2022.
I went to see my ‘regular’ dentist to ask her thoughts. She looked at the tooth in question, said it looked just fine and if I was not having any issue, then there was no need to look any further.
I was referred to a holistic endodontist, also here in LA who was equally as incredible in her treatment, explanation and overall approach.
When she reviewed the image of the infection that had actually formed a cyst in my upper jaw, there was no question that it needed to be corrected.
I had my root canal repaired just over two weeks ago and it was seamless. I was offered meditation music during the procedure as well as micro current designed to help ease the body into parasympathetic.
While I did feel the vibration of the drill, I was amazed at the lack of discomfort and smoothness of the overall procedure.
I did have slight discomfort for the next day or two but it was so milld it was almost not even worth mentioning.
Just knowing I had an infection in my body that is now cleared is enough to somehow make me feel even more awake, as though something has lifted.
Call it placebo, if you will, but it makes no difference. An improvement was made and now I look forward to geeking out at my next set of labs to see how they’ve elevated even more.
The takeaway: tooth health, gum health, oral health, all of it.. it’s something we have got to pay close attention to, and it starts when we are little (before we are born, in fact; check out the Weston Price Foundation (3) for the vast information on how during pregnancy/breastfeeding, if a mother is deficient, the nutrients come from her own body, the teeth being prime, and how what we eat during pregnancy begins to set the stage for how our children’s teeth and jaw develop.
Take some time to learn more about what’s going on in your mouth; study the impact of the gut-mouth connected and see if digging a little deeper doesn’t just provide a few clues to help you boost your own health, and your childrens’!