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Our Mouth - A Barometer of Health
Our Mouth - A Barometer of Health Some time ago you wrote about the dentists' position in nutrition. I'm still a bit puzzled about your suggestions that involve other parts of the body than teeth. The things you write about seem okay but I guess I want to be more confident about it. S.S.
Many people and some physicians do not appreciate the fact that the education of a dentist is basically a study of the body with specialized emphasis on the mouth. In the field of nutrition one cannot separate the chemistry of teeth or gums from that of skin, organs or bone. They are all one and intermingled. Dr. roger williams' Handbook of Nutritional Science states it quite succinctly.
Chick dermatitis, which manifests itself with unhealthy skin and feathers, was cured by his discovery of pantothenic acid. When he did laboratory tests on these afflicted chicks he didn't find just skin disease. The chicks also had "blood disease, a muscle disease, a liver disease,kidney disease,and a disease of the spinal cord and of the brain." In other words, not only was the skin sick but every cell in the body was also sick. The chick's tissues were in addition biochemically deficient with respect to their enzyme systems, and they showed these deficiencies by being severely stunted in growth.
Dentists can adequately take care of these oral health degenerative breakdowns. Preventing the loss of your teeth is not only possible, but is being accomplished more generally than most of the public is aware of even for patients with poor nutrition habits. Our success in saving teeth and the attractive appearance of artificial teeth has I'm afraid, led the public away from the preventative aspects of a good diet. controlling decay the proven way is what nutrition is all about,so don't let good dentistry allow bad eating habits that will force you to need that dentistry.
But even more, one should realize that the mouth is an excellent barometer of general health. When these hard tissues of teeth and jawbone disintegrate so quickly and readily by the introduction of regained grains and sugar, one must picture that the same kind of tissue breakdown is happening to the soft tissues els where in the body. It isn't so obvious but it is nevertheless true.
Isn't arthritis, heart trouble,turbaculosis,diabetes, back disc problems, cancer and all the other degenerative type diseases for which the causes are "unknown" really not the same old tooth decay and pyorrhea in just another part of your anatomy.
The Tongue Tells All
The tongue is particularly helpful in disclosing general physical involvements. A purplish colored tongue shows a deficiency of B2. A smooth shiny tongue, B12 and Folic Acid can be blamed. When brilliant red it is often Niacinamide, and when enlarged and beefy it is pantothenic acid. Coated tongue is present in many illness and follows often after the use of antibiotics or prolonged use of strong mouth washes. Burning tongue is at times a need for B-6 and geographic tongue is usually iron and B-complex deficiency.
VST (Vincents Stomatitis) more commonly referred to as "trehch mouth" may indicate a niacinamide deficiency. Frequent sore spots under dentures often result from too low a protein intake, plus calcium and magnesium deficiencies. Also, when too little digestive acid is present in the stomach its absence accounts for poor protein and calcium assimilation even when these are adequate in the diet.
Recently I heard the eyes and the mouth show when diseases are present. Is this really true? A.W. Dear A.W.: Yes,both are very helpful in diagnosing systemic conditions. The eyes are probably the most useful. Morgan Raiford, M.D. of Atlanta has researched the effects of vitamins and minerals and demonstrates how they effect the tissues in the back of the eye. His hundreds of slides showing the inside of they eye are most remarkable.
In the oral cavity many bacteria infections such as scarlet fever, tetanus,syphillis, mumps and others often make their first appearance in the mouth! Actinomycosis and measles are just two of many fungal and viral diseases that people may have that have oral manifestations. Nutritional disorders also have numerous visible signs. Orally, vitamin C and B are often involved and iron, calcium, and protein deficiencies quite commonly make themselves known by detrimental changes in the mouth.