Our mouths experience so many pleasurable activities: chewing, tasting, talking, and laughing. But they can also be a site for pain, from toothaches to gingivitis to those pesky, stress-related cold sores. Here’s the good news, there’s a lot that Natural Medicine can offer to help keep your mouths smiling regularly!
Boosting your Vitamins for Oral Health
Many vitamins play a role in good oral health, but insufficient intake of vitamin C, vitamin B, and vitamin D generally result in swollen gums, with vitamin C being a key player in gum restoration. Vitamin C helps in the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is the primary building block of the tissues in the body. If you have deficiency in Vitamin C then your gum could bleed easily. Gingivitis, or the first stage of gum disease, could also cause your gums to bleed easily. Fatigue and easy bruising are also body-wide symptoms of a lack of vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant can protect your gums from getting infected and swollen by any plaque that’s hidden under the gum lines.
Vitamin B deficiencies are one of the most common deficiencies that can affect your teeth and your mouth. Common oral effects of vitamin B deficiency are burning sensations in the mouth and on the tongue, trouble swallowing, swollen tongue, and pale tissues in the inner cheeks that could break apart easily and come off. Deficiencies of B-vitamins can also increase your risk of canker sores.
Vitamin D works with calcium and other minerals such as boron and strontium so that bone quality and strength is maintained. If you are deficient in these vitamins then you could end up with brittle bones. In the mouth, vitamin D deficiency could increase your risk of getting jaw fractures and gum disease. If you are deficient in Vitamin D during your early stages in life then the formation of your teeth will be affected. People with kidney disease could also have deficiencies in vitamin D as well.
Whole Foods Sources of B-Vitamins
- thiamine or B1 can be acquired from whole and enriched grains, nuts, dried beans, and legumes
- riboflavin or B2 can be acquired from eggs, shellfish, almonds, and milk
- niacin or B3 can be acquired from whole grains, fish, and peanuts
- pyroxidine or B6 can be acquired from fish, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, bananas, legumes, fruits, and nuts
- cobalamin B12 can be acquired from fish and eggs
- folic acid or folate can be acquired from vegetables, legumes, broccoli, asparagus, and nuts
- Vitamin B Shot
Whole Food Sources of Vitamin C
- bell peppers
- citrus fruits
- vitamin C IV
Whole Foods Sources of Vitamin D
- crimini mushrooms
- raw mackerel
- cod liver oil
- vitamin D shot
Balancing Hormones for Oral Health
Women can experience swollen gums during unique periods in their life where there are hormonal changes such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and if they decide to use birth control pills. This is because hormones affect how your gum tissues react to the toxins released from the bacterial plaque and tartar. An uptick in the hormones estrogen and progesterone increases the chance of gum irritation and swelling caused by plaque.
It may be hard to believe, but there are actually Estrogen receptors located in the oral mucosa, gingiva, and salivary glands of the mouth. I often hear my menopausal patients complain of constant dry mouth which is directly related to the decrease in estrogen produced during menopause. (1) The composition of saliva and decreased saliva flow seem to be estrogen-dependent, often leaving menopausal and postmenopausal women with a persistent feeling of dry mouth, as there is reduction of estrogen at the menopause stage. This can be accompanied by a bitter taste and bad breath.
The Tongue Speaks Volumes
According to Ayurveda, different parts of the tongue correspond to different organs of the body. The front one-third of the tongue relates to the lungs, heart, chest, and neck; the central third relates to the liver, spleen, stomach, and pancreas; and the rear one-third area relates to the lower abdominal organs, such as the small intestine and colon. Discoloration, depressions, or elevations on these areas signify all sorts of physical, and even emotional, imbalances.
For example, if your teeth have left impressions along the margin of your tongue, you may be experiencing poor intestinal absorption. A coating that covers your entire tongue indicates toxins in the stomach or intestines. And believe it or not, a line down the middle of the tongue indicates that you’re holding emotions along your vertebral column, which can lead to stiffness in the back. So the tongue tells the tale of two “cities” the body and the mind.
The Holistic Solution
If you’ve already got your brushing and flossing routine on lockdown, yet still experience problems with your teeth, tongue or mouth in general; then it may be time to get your vitamin levels checked along with your hormones. While we cannot avoid hormonal fluctuations throughout our lives, we can take steps to minimize the impact and reduce the damage it can cause our body as a whole. If you have questions about the way vitamins and hormones affect your health (and what you can do to stay on top of it all) schedule an appointment to learn more about what your mouth and hormones are trying to tell you.