Introducing Oral Health as Part of Overall Health

Oral health and overall health are not two separate things

The difference between "oral" health and "overall" health is only a few extra letters. Take a moment to think about the connections between your mouth and the rest of your body. 

  • Your oral microbiome links to your gut microbiome via your digestive tract. Whatever influences one of these bodily ecosystems also influences the other; in fact, they are not two separate systems at all.
  • The lining of your mouth, particularly under your tongue, is so permeable that any substance placed in there, whether you swallow it or not, is rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Homeopathics and some other medicines are placed under the tongue because absorption from here is more rapid and complete than if you had swallowed the medicine.
  • The extensive blood supply to your gums and teeth mean that whatever happens in your mouth is also happening in your blood stream and therefore in your vital organs and in the rest of your body.
  • The same immune system that's working day and night to maintain health and balance in your body, is doing the same in your mouth. An infection in your gums or in one of your teeth, has a systemic (whole body) impact.

The state of your teeth and gums is both an indicator of your general health and also has a direct influence on it; studies show that oral health is clearly linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other systemic health issues.

How might we define oral health?

A healthy mouth:

  • has ALL its permanent teeth, and not riddled with fillings! Or at least (as in my case) is unlikely to lose any more teeth or be riddled with any more fillings than it already has in the past  
  • has clean, cavity-resistant teeth, able to resist acids and bacteria and comfortable with different temperatures
  • has clean, healthy gums, tight around the teeth, with no bleeding
  • has a balance of healthy microorganisms—your “oral microbiome”—that are essential to the health of your gums and teeth and are as important to your overall health as your gut microbiome is
  • is part of a healthy body anything that compromises your oral health will compromise your overall health, and vice-versa

How might we ACHIEVE oral health?

We've been taught to assume that the way to achieve a healthy mouth is to brush twice daily and see the dentist twice yearly. That's all we're told; those two steps are all we're given.

What we're not told is that the twice-yearly dental check ups are not about preventative careThe dentist's check ups are about about waiting till things are going wrong, and then treating them.

In my opinion, there are three pieces missing from the oral care picture that most modern dentists give us. I've outlined them below.

1. Brush often and floss daily.

On this, I agree with modern dentistry: the single most important thing you can do to take care of your mouth is clean your teeth, and in between your teeth, frequently, but with a caveat - see #2, below.

"Your Oral Microbiome: A Balancing Act" explains in depth why regular brushing and flossing is so essential to keeping the bacteria in your mouth balanced and healthy. 

And in "Nature's Original Toothbrush," I share why I think that humans (and many other animals) started cleaning their teeth long before dentists started telling us to.

2. Ditch the toxic toothpastes

Modern toothpastes are counter productive to achieving oral health. You're better off brushing with nothing but water than with most of the ingredients found in off-the shelf toothpastes, including many of the so-called "natural" toothpastes. 

We'll cover this in depth, in Lesson 2 on Toxic Toothpaste Ingredients. Then in Lesson 3, I'll share safe, natural ingredients that DO support oral health.

3. Eat a nutrient dense diet

This is a big topic, mostly outside the scope of this Workshop. But it's crucial to know about the power of good nutrition in supporting oral health. Your body can't keep your teeth healthy unless you're feeding your body what it needs.

"Your Oral Microbiome: a Balancing Act" includes a summary on the huge topic of nutrition and oral health. I'll also be including a whole raft of other resources in the final Download at the end of this Workshop.

4. Take care of your whole self 

There's an association between lack of exercise, chronic stress and poor oral health just as there is a link between these factors and poor overall health. Again this topic is mostly outside the scope of this Workshop, but again, this is a crucial piece of the puzzle.

For example, unless you know that stress affects saliva quality which affects tooth enamel, you're going to be handicapped in your search for optimum oral health.

"How Your Teeth Clean and Repair Themselves" goes in depth into how and why the health of your teeth is utterly dependent on your overall health.

Action steps

STEP 1, required reading: If you haven't done so already when you were going through the sections above, read "Your Oral Microbiome: a Balancing Act" and "How Your Teeth Clean and Repair Themselves."

These and a raft of other resources (see below) will all be available in the final download at the end of the Workshop.

STEP 2, quiz: Take the Lesson One Quiz to test your understanding of this lesson and help you choose which lesson to go on to next. (If the Quiz doesn't appear below, please refresh this page.)

Scroll up for top of quiz

Need help?

To get help, please use the comments section all the way at the bottom. I'll respond in the comments as quickly as I can, usually within 24 hours.


All of these resources will be available with live links and descriptions in the Workshop Download at the end of this workshop. For now, I'm only providing links to the reading that's essential for this lesson.

Resource articles from ARealGreenLife

“Your Oral Microbiome: A Balancing Act" 

"How Your Teeth Clean and Repair Themselves"

"Nature's Original Toothbrush"

"Essential Oils: Some Things to Consider"

Articles on nutrition

"How to Remineralize Teeth Naturally & Reverse Tooth Decay"  

"Reversing Tooth Decay"

Books on nutrition

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects by Weston Price

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel

The Dental Diet by Dr Steven Lin

Other books on dental health

How to Stop Cavities: a Natural Approach to Prevention and Remineralization by Judene Benoit DDS

Holistic Dental Care by Nadine Artemis

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