The body is a system of systems. I’ve said this before; it shouldn’t be a curveball at this point if you’re an avid follower of my blog-tales. So, why the heck do we have doctors that only focus on one area of the body – treating the symptoms – when everything is so greatly intertwined, intermingled, affected, reactive, synergistic, and co-dependent on one another? I’m not dissing dentists or any other I-paid-my-dues-in-years-of-medical-school specialist. I’m more-so trying to bring an awareness to your dental health in correlation with your internal health, external health, stressors, and, ultimately, diet.
I’ve had a weird amount of friends over the past few months reference their out-of-whack dental health: bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, reforming underbite, shifting teeth, receding gums, a broken tooth in need of a cleaning and cap, chronic bacterial infections, and reoccurring sinusitis, to name a few lovely topics of conversation. But hearing these situations really got me thinking and reflecting more on my own timeline in dental health and how I was eating, exercising, sleeping, experiencing stress, and bowel movement-ing from little JD to today. I’ve always had a history of gum and dental issues. When I was younger I chronically experienced sensitive, inflamed and puffy gums. Yet, they chronically came in cycles – it would subside and months later I was out buying soft-bristle toothbrushes and being encouraged to floss past the bleeding “to make my gums tougher,” which was my dentist’s educated advice. Also, my teeth have always been back and forth from stained to white to stained to white and at certain points in the past few years I recall them showing signs of decay that certainly coincided with physical/mental stress and super-nazi dietary choices. The thing is: I have always brushed my teeth in the morning and at night like the doctor orders and I STILL experienced dental problems. I remember thinking to myself at a young age, there’s gotta be something more to this healthy teeth thing than just brushing my teeth because no matter what I do my gums still hurt and my teeth become stained in seconds.
Some of my experiences…
- I ate a diet heavy in grains, unsaturated oils, and fast food – Pasta, cereal, bread, olive oil (always cooked or heated and most often from a clear bottle), mayonnaise, salad dressing, fried chicken fingers and wings, Wendy’s value meals, etc.
- I played soccer almost every single day of my life from age 5-18 – I was always running, exercising, on-the-go, and trying to balance multiple things at once (school, soccer, music, a girlfriend).
- I toured in a band from 18-25 – Traveling for 2-3 months at a time, changing time zones, sleeping on floors or in vans or in airports, extreme climate changes, performing on a nightly basis, eating on-the-go foods while on-the-go, and inconsistent sleeping patterns.
- I experienced poor sexual stamina and a low sex drive – TMI my ass because this is a huge indicator of chronic stress and an insufficient diet (not enough carbohydrates and dietary cholesterol). Pre-jac and/or low libido are a response via the sympathetic nervous system – it means that the body thinks it’s in fight or flight mode (a.k.a. high-stress-running-from-a-lion mode) and all of its energy is dedicated to staying alive through the chronic release of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and the constant break down of muscle when sugar is depleted (gluconeogensis)… not providing energy for getting off. (I’ll do a proper blog on this later)
- I have had cycles of skin rashes (eczema), dandruff, and jock-itch (candida outbreak) throughout my life. These symptoms can be a result of bacterial imbalances or infections, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, food intolerances or allergies, caloric deficiency, and plain-old eating like crap. Anything that reflects on the skin is a sign of an underlying (internal/digestive) cause.
- I ate an extremely low carb diet for a good bit of time, thinking I was being healthy and balancing my blood sugar, and all I got was an asshole of a personality, absolutely zero sex drive, emotional instability, muscle loss like whoa, and holy decaying teeth.
I’ve been through some interesting learning experiences, but my point is: What all of this comes down to is stress and how it reflects on dental health (once again) The. Body. Is. A. System. Of. Freaking. Systems). Any sort of experienced imbalance within the diet, hydration, sleep patterns, emotions, mentality, and physique can cause a ripple stress effect. Instead of looking at your teeth (or tooth army – toothpaste, toothbrush, floss) as the problem… look at your diet, look at your caloric intake (energy input vs output) look at your bowel movements (frequency and healthiness), look at your sleep patterns (time and quality), look at your social habits (intake of stimulants or depressants), look at your relationships (self, significant other, family, friends, work), look at your exercise habits (on-the-go vs rest), and put them all together in relation to your past and present dental health.