Our body is highly skilled at sounding alarms🚨 that we often “hit the snooze button” on, ignore out of ignorance, or simply disregard. I was “that person” many years ago when I went through about 18 months of tooth emergencies.😭 I didn’t have a single cavity until I was in college, and always had pretty stellar dental visits. However, when I was in my mid 30’s, something strange started happening. On 3 different occasions, a piece of tooth would literally fall off of a molar while I was driving to work in the morning. 😳 Though I had no evidence of wear on my teeth, my dentist finally determined that I must be gritting my teeth so hard while I slept that I was literally breaking my teeth. Once we figured out the root cause and I found better ways to manage my stress , I quit breaking teeth, stopped having headaches every morning upon waking up, had fewer neck, elbow, and wrist problems, and generally felt better and happier as a human! My body was giving me so many clues, and I was ignoring all of them (or “patching them”) until my body literally started falling apart. It was an expensive but valuable lesson!
* Worn down or regular breaking of teeth are often signs of stress. Internalized chronic stress has the same effect on the body as smoking 5 cigarettes a day, and who wants to abuse their body like that?? Not sure if you are grinding or clenching your teeth? Sometimes the flatness on the teeth can be felt with the tongue or seen in the mirror, or your dentist may have made a comment to you. A chronically stressed body may also see a higher incidence of canker sores or fever blisters…. all are clues that shouldn’t be ignored.
* Chronic stress will cause consistently higher levels of cortisol in the body, eventually wreaking some major havoc. Manage stress properly by incorporating mindset management skills, prayer/meditation, exercise, diet and proper amounts of sleep. Consider supporting healthy cortisol levels with Young Living’s Cortistop. If clenching, gritting or grinding is your nighttime gig, you may also want to consider a mouth nightguard to help mediate damage, and apply Peace & Calming, RutaVala, or Tranquil essential oil blends on the base of the big toes at night.
* Thin enamel or cracking/crumbling teeth are often clues of acid reflux. (We will go over acid reflux clues in greater detail soon.) Several medications may also affect the integrity of teeth. Asthma medications (inhaled), chewable aspirin, birth control pills, immunosuppressive agents, chemotherapy agents, and any of the 400+ meds that cause dry mouth ( revisit that section for more details) are among the bigger culprits. If you find yourself in a situation where any of these medications are deemed necessary, make sure you are rinsing your mouth out often with Thieves Mouthwash to create an inhospitable environment for bad bacteria that may want to set up camp and create further damage.
* Chronically sensitive or swollen gums may be a sign of an underlying Vitamin C deficiency (approximately 13% of the US population), an early sign of heart disease, diabetes, or (less commonly) a blood disorder. It can also simply be a sign of poor oral hygiene! Medications that may cause bleeding gums include blood thinners, aspirin, and regular use of ibuprofen or other NSAIDS.
* Gum overgrowth (hyperplasia) is more pronounced than simply swollen gums. While often a symptom of poor oral hygiene, it most frequently results from the use of certain medications: anti seizure meds, immunosuppressants, or calcium channel blockers (a class of blood pressure medications). There are physiological disorders that may cause hyperplasia too. Diabetes or Crohn’s disease are two of the more common ones.
* Pretty much everyone brushes their teeth in front of a mirror, which is an opportune time to make a quick daily evaluation of teeth, gums, mouth & tongue. Once you get into the habit of doing this, you will notice small changes pretty quickly, and you can often correct a situation without professional intervention!
Next week, I’ll discuss specific tooth health as a predictor for potential health concerns! It’s fascinating and such a helpful tool in knowing how to care for yourself preemptively.