Dr Jose K C MD PhD M Sc (Y&N)
Consultant – Integrated Medicine,
i-Chrysalis Integrated & Holistic Therapy Centre,
R T Nagar,
Cell: 098451 64750
Today dental health is a major problem especially for children in the age group of 7-10 years. Why? We have the best tooth pastes to protect our teeth, the best tooth brushes to reach all corners of the teeth & mouth and the best dental care facilities. Irrespective of all these, the range of our oral health issues have only increased and their onset is much earlier than in olden times. Probably it is difficult to understand these phenomena, unless we think differently. Let us look at the science of Oral Health, considering the body as a whole.
First, we should understand the constitution of our body. The human body has been created only to eat and process foods like fruits and vegetables, imagine, not even grains. It is important for us to know that our Alimentary canal (digestive system) is designed to digest vegetarian food. That means the human digestive system is not designed for consumption of non-vegetarian foods. The moment we consume non-vegetarian foods, oily foods, fried items etc., our digestive system finds it difficult to process it adequately and the system is forced to produce more digestive enzymes to digest these foods. Over a period of time, due to indigestion, the body becomes more acidic in nature.
Normally, our blood is more alkaline in nature (pH 7.4). So ideally our body and therefore our saliva should also always be alkaline in nature which will keep unwanted bacteria away, resulting in fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums.
If we check with our forefathers about when they first encountered any kind of dental issues, most of them will say only after the age of 50/60 years.
Our first reaction will be ‘impossible’. Actually their answer is very true. This is because of their general food habits and working patterns. Unconsciously, they were physically more active than we now are and ate foods are more vegetarian. Non vegetarian foods, if prepared, were always for an occasion so comparatively very less.
In comparison, today, lifestyles and work environments are very different. Life is fast, competitive and stressed. We consume ‘convenience’ foods like veg/non veg fast foods, readymade foods, colas, bakery items, fried foods, cold foods and spicy foods. These foods that are attractively packaged and marketed are actually harmful since they contain more acid forming foods, such as dairy products, grains, meats, and sugar.
Acidic bodies are unhealthy bodies. When the body is overly acidic, it creates an unwanted environment where illness, bacteria, and fungus thrive. When the body become acidic, its first reaction/correction is to offset the acidic nature of the blood. So the kidney produces Sodium-bicarbonate (NaHCo3). Next, Calcium will be absorbed from the bones to bring the acidity down, thereby bringing the blood pH level to 7.4. The body also takes minerals from vital organs and bones to neutralize the acid and remove it from the body. Because of this, the body’s mineral reserves such as calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium can run dangerously low, causing damage that can go undetected for years. So while the body can adjust pH on its own, it does so at a price to other systems in the body, which can lead to additional health problems.
The entire nervous system functions with the presence of calcium in the blood. Calcium is very essential for the function of the Liver and Urinary bladder. Kidney controls the mineral content of the body. The liver needs high level of Calcium for contraction and expansion of muscles/tendons.
As Ann Wigmore, said, “The food you eat can be either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
The real chemical action:
The body has limits for how much it can compensate for acid imbalance. Therefore food intake plays a critical role in maintaining the acid-alkaline balance. We can improve alkalinity by
- Drinking plenty of water
- Consuming more alkaline foods
- Trying not to consume processed foods
- Eliminating soda, sugars and coffee
- Adding green juices or smoothies to your diet
Calcium from the food will be processed and absorbed with the help of Vitamin D. This Vitamin comes from two sources. It is made in the skin through direct exposure to sunlight, and it comes from the diet. Vitamin D is absorbed into the body with the help of Iron content in the body. And the Iron is processed with the help of Vitamin C.
This is the secret of maintaining good teeth.The starting symptoms:
From our clinical experience, we have noticed a pattern of symptoms connecting the nature of job/lifestyle and dental damages. In our observation dental problems are directly connected to junk food habits, sedentary lifestyle, sleeping habits, stress, working atmosphere, alcohol intake, tobacco use, drugs etc.
Let me elaborate a little. By age 16 most people have got cavities in their teeth. By the time they enter college they are going through a rough time (fun time!). Now they will notice 2 problems i.e. tooth problem and hair-fall problem. When they enter professional life these problems reach their zenith. Usually most folk work in an air conditioned environment where the temperatures are below 20 0 C. Our body temperature is 37 0 C (98.6 0 F). When the peripheral body temperature drops due to the AC setting, internal temperature has to be compensated to maintain 37 0 C both inside and outside the body. Heat is produced in the body by burning more Calcium, which is taken from the store houses (Bone/ teeth etc). This function is controlled by the Thyroxin hormone which is produced by the Thyroid glands. This is one of the reasons that people working in AC environments notice dental problem, hair fall and Thyroid problem and a range of body aches.
Over a period of time load bearing capacity of joints is reduced which leads to back pain, neck pain, hip/ knee joint problem, frozen shoulder, Carpel tunnel syndrome, arthritis etc. If these are not addressed in time they lead to obesity, cholesterol issues, diabetes, BP problems, infertility, sexual problem, skin disease etc. If you have a doubt, just look around your relatives/friends circle.
The balancing act:
“ Think Chemistry through Physics for better Biology.”
This should be remembered as a Mantra. This is applicable to the body at all time. Our body is basically made out of Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen and minerals in unique combinations. Actually our body is a chemical factory. Any food we eat is made up of above chemicals in different combination. If we match these chemicals (micronutrients/ vitamins) with our biological combinations, there will not be any disturbances in the organs of our body. This means there will not be any malfunctions in our biological organs. Take more alkaline food (80 %) than acidic food (20%). If this proportion changes the body warns you by creating a thirsty feeling. We then drink more water (pH 7) to bring back the alkaline nature. Just remember one can of Cola, has a pH below 4. That means it is very acidic in nature which can damage the enamel of the tooth.
Another method to detoxify our body is by doing exercise. Any exercise or hard labour is energy burning. This physical activity will make the chemical reaction in the body perfect. We will inhale more oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide. Our body become cool, energetic and alkaline in nature. All 4 types of detoxification, perspiration/ respiration/ defecation/ urination, takes place perfectly when we do exercise. In case of ladies the menstruation also is a part of detoxification process. So our system is perfect physically, mentally, emotionally and constitutionally. In this condition our biological organ functioning also will be perfect. Labour class people are a perfect example of the truth of our Mantra.
The constitutional secret:
Our dental arrangements are formed based on our food eating habit. God meant us to be herbivorous and our teeth are for chewing and grinding. Animals are herbivorous or carnivorous. So they have teeth for tearing, grinding and chewing. Another interesting fact is that each tooth is connected to an organ in the body. Ex: 4 incisors in the lower jaw are connected to the Heart meridian; 4 incisors in the upper jaw are connected to the Lung meridian. Any problems in these 8 teeth indicate problems in the lungs or heart. The 4 canine teeth are connected to Stomach meridian. The 8 premolar teeth are connected to the Spleen meridian and the 8 molars are connected the Liver/ Gall Bladder meridian. Finally, the 4 wisdom teeth are connected to the Kidney/UB meridian. Usually the premolar and molar teeth get cavities first. Why? If we take sweets, salty foods, colas, fried items, spicy and cold foods increase the acidic nature of the body. Damage is created in the corresponding organs like Spleen (Pancreas), Liver/ GB. Over a period of time these swill manifest as Diabetes, Obesity, BP, Cholesterol, heart problem, infertility problem, arthritis and all types of aches.
- Choose the right food as per your constitution.
- Right amount of rest/ sleep (10-30 pm to 6 am).
- Maintain Brahmacharya (Celibacy).
- Right type of exercises (Yoga or any resistance exercises)
Being specialist in the field of Integrated Medicine, we know how to correct the constitution in the acute/chronic stages of diseases. In the case of dental/ oral health we need to do physical activities especially of the leg muscles. Our legs are connected with 6 organs. I.e. Stomach, Spleen, Liver, GB, UB and kidney. The health of these organs are directly connected to the health of the corresponding teeth in the dental arrangement. We have to do the resistance exercises to increase the Bone Mineral Density (BMD) to keep our dental health. Resistance exercise is the only method to stimulate ‘Marma points’ continuously. So our digestion and absorption of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals will be optimal. We recommend various types of exercises like yoga, walking, jogging, swimming, gymming etc to maintain the alkaline status of the body.
At this juncture, some Kriyas and asanas that will specifically help in oral health are given below. Yogasanas should be done with the supervision of a yoga expert only.
|■Suryanamaskara||■The organ responsible for the growth of bones is the pituitary gland. Suryanamaskara stimulates more blood to flow to the pituitary gland, which in turn maintains the strength of our teeth and bones.|
|■Proper chewing of food||■The teeth should be used to bite, chew and masticate food. Reduces indigestion/ maintains alkaline nature of body. Dental pulp consists of Stem Cells. Maintenance of the alkaline nature in the body helps Stem Cells to maintain dental pulp. This prevents any dental damages like enamel damage, cavities, root problem etc.|
|■Wash the mouth immediately after eating/drinking any food.||■Reduces risk of tooth decay|
|■Brush teeth two times a day||■Reduces survival of germs and prevents dental disorders|
|■Massage gums||■Strengthens the roots of the teeth. Ensures even growth of teeth in children.|
|■Shitali and sheetkari pranayama||■Corrects alignment of teeth in children|
|■Sarvangasana||■Stimulates the thyroid gland which causes an increased circulation of blood in the oral cavity, and this fights germs in the mouth.|
|■General practice of Yoga||■Rejuvenates and revitalises all the organs of the body|
Once cavities are formed or roots are damaged we have to depend upon modern science to repair these damages.
The final word:
The basis of maintaining Oral Health is nothing but keeping our bodies in an alkaline condition by eating right food, getting enough sleep, maintain celibacy and getting enough exercises. If saliva is in acidic condition all kind of bacteria will grow in the mouth and attack the tooth enamel. Over a period of time tooth damage will take place in multiple levels.
Ever wondered why none of the wild animals have dental problems although they do not brush their teeth? They only get to eat what they were meant to eat, as per their body constitution and their dental arrangement. But look at our pet animals. They have all the same problems that we humans have, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, heart problem, cataract, skin diseases, prostrate issues, dental problems. Why? Because, they are forced to eat what we give them to eat, left-overs of our own food, or processed pet food.
“Prevention is better than cure”. Maintaining the alkaline nature of the body is a sure preventive of any dental problems.