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Some months ago I gave a presentation to an international dental association about Dentistry, Diet and Disease Prevention.  I discussed dentistry and its connection to Chronic Inflammatory Diseases (CID’s). As time goes on there is more and more research showing a connection between gum disease and CID’s like heart disease, strokes, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. The culprit is gum disease and its associated bacteria.

The other topic of my seminar was nutrition. The role of nutrition in dental health is very important, along with the genetic factors that affect structure and immune response (which is triggered by inflammation).  Of course diet plays a part in immune response as well, which affects the health of our gums.  How our immune system copes with stressors, both internal and external, is impacted by what we eat.

The many toxins now present in our environment are among the external stressors; internal stressors include microbes and dental metals.  The mercury controversy, which persists in spite of massive evidence of its neurotoxicity, is only one of the dental materials that continue to be linked to chronic illnesses.  Diseases such as multiple sclerosis, thyroiditis and Alzheimer’s have not only been associated with the mercury in amalgams, but also with other metals such as nickel, used in braces and crowns.

So how do we sustain ourselves and our families in the face of so many potential issues and how does diet help us? The idea that whole foods can actually be a source of healing seems faddish in this age of easy fix pharmaceuticals.  Generations raised on vaccinations and antibiotics have long been programmed to believe in the ‘magic bullets’ held out by the drug companies.

Certainly antibiotics- when they work- can seem like a magic bullet.  However, as we are coming to find out, antibiotics cannot touch certain strains of microbes that have become resistant to them, and the aftermath of antibiotics on our intestinal terrain also needs to be considered.  Probiotics can certainly restore balance in our internal ecology; however careful monitoring and persistence may be required.