Are your teeth and gums healthy? Their health may be an important indicator of your general health.
More and more research suggests that the same good health and nutritional practices that prevent cavities and gum disease may also keep you healthy and prevent other illnesses.
Research has shown that serious chronic health problems are often associated with dental caries, or cavities, and gum pathology. This connection is documented by a large number of recent studies performed after 1990. For example - poor mental health is associated with cavities [1-4]. In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, January 2008 , elderly individuals without dementia were found to have an average of only 2.7 fillings. Elderly individuals with dementia or Alzheimer's disease averaged 7.8 teeth with fillings.
A recent authoritative review showed a clear association between cavities, gum health and heart diseases [5}. Additionally, this same study reported that people with poor oral health, on average, lead shorter lives. Recent publications concerning Periodontal Disease and Your Heart
are listed by the American Association of Periodontology.
You can take this quiz to asses your risk of gum disease:
Gum Health Self-Assessment Quiz.
Connections between diabetes, as well as heart disease, and dental decay have been suspect for decades. Active, ongoing research [6-8] deals with the association between cavities and diabetes. While recent publications concerning Periodontal Disease and Diabetes are listed by the American Association of Periodontology.
A large number of scientists studying this relationship have proposed that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates were common cause of these diseases [9-15].
Nutrition is suspect as a possible factor in heart disease, infectious respiratory diseases, dental diseases and mental diseases. These diseases can result, in part, from common failures in metabolism. When a deficiency of essential nutrients occurs, particularly vitamins D, C, and niacin, metabolic failures are inevitable.
The relationship between vitamin D deficiency and cavities is especially strong in dozens of studies conducted in the 1930's and 1940's [16-27]. More than 90% of the studies concluded that Vitamin D supplements prevented children's cavities.
Cancer, respiratory infections, diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments  are also linked to a Vitamin D deficiency. For example, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2008, indicated that compared to individuals with highest vitamin D levels, individuals with the lowest vitamin D levels had more than double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes over an eight-year study period. Linus Pauling  reviewed evidence for vitamin C was and the evidence for niacin was described by Abram Hoffer .
Individuals who ensure their good levels of nutrition through balanced diet and nutrient supplements, in conjunction with good dental care, will have dramatically fewer cavities and gum problems than individuals who only receive good dental care.
 B Ellefsen; P Holm-Pedersen; D E Morse; M. Schroll; B. Andersen; G. Waldemar. Caries Prevalence in Older Persons with and without Dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Volume 56, Number 1, January 2008, 59-67(9).
 J M Chalmers, K D Carter, A J Spencer. Caries incidence and increments in community-living older adults with and without dementia. Australian Research Center for Population Oral Health, Dental School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, Australia. Gerodontology Volume 19 Issue 2, 80 – 94.
 Friedlander, A.H.; Mahler, M.E. Major depressive disorder psychopathology, medical management and dental implications. Graduate Medical Education, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (14), Los Angeles, CA, USA. Journal of the American Dental Association (2001), 132(5), 629-638.
 Stewart, R.; et. al. Oral Health and Cognitive Function in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), Psychosomatic Medicine 70:936-941 (2008).
 Meurman, J.H.; Sanz, M.;Janket, S. Oral infection and vascular disease. Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Finland. Vascular Disease Prevention (2007), 4(4), 260-267.
 Touger-Decker R, Sirois D A, Vernillo A T. Diabetes mellitus: Nutrition and oral health relationships. Department of Primary Care, School of Health-Related Professions, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, USA. Editor(s): Touger-Decker, Riva. Nutrition and Oral Medicine (2005), 185-204.
 Diaz-Romero, R.; Casanova-Roman, R.; Beltran-Zuniga, M; Belmont-Padilla, J.; Mendez, J.; Avila-Rosas, H.. Oral Infections and Glycemic Control in Pregnant Type 2 Diabetics. Instituto Nacional de Perinatologia, Mexico City, Mex. Archives of Medical Research (2005), 36(1), 42-48.
 Twetman, S.; Johansson, I.; Birkhed, D.; Nederfors, T. Caries incidence in young type 1 diabetes mellitus patients in relation to metabolic control and caries-associated risk factors. Caries Research (2002), 36(1), 31-35.
 Bommer, S. Diseases of civilization and nutrition. Ernaehrungsforschung (1963), 7 598-612.
 Miler-Sosnkowska, M. Role of dietary carbohydrates in relation to their metabolism. Inst. Zywienia Czlowieka, Akad. Roln., Warsaw, Pol. Postepy Higieny i Medycyny Doswiadczalnej (1975), 29(4), 537-55.
 Cremer, H.D.; Eyer, H. Carbohydrates. Inst. Ernaehrungswiss. I, Univ. Giessen, Giessen, Fed. Rep. Ger. Ernaehrungs-Umschau (1975), 22(10), 291-3.
 Newberne, P.M.. Nutrition: summary of evidence. Sweeteners: Issues, uncertainties. Acad. Forum, 4th (1975), 76-85, 252-3.
 Heraud, G. Sucrose and nutritional pathology. Sucrerie Francaise (1979), 120(24), 21-6.
 Nuttall, F.Q.; Gannon, M.C.. Sucrose and disease. Diabetes Care (1981), 4(2), 305-10.
 Pauling, L. "How to Live Longer and Feel Better." W.H. Freeman and Company, 1986. Revised 2006, Oregon State University Press.
 Tisdall, F.F. The effect of nutrition on the primary teeth. Child Development (1937) 8(1), 102-4.
 McBeath, E.C. Nutrition and diet in relation to preventive dentistry. NY J. Dentistry (1938) 8; 17-21.
 McBeath, E.C.; Zucker, T.F. Role of vitamin D in the control of dental caries in children. Journal of Nutrition (1938) 15; 547-64.
 East, B. R. Nutrition and dental caries. American Journal of Public Health 1938. 28; 72-6.
 Mellanby, M. The role of nutrition as a factor in resistance to dental caries. British Dental Journal (1937), 62; 241-52.
 His Majesty's Stationery Office, London. The influence of diet on caries in children's teeth. Report of the Committee for the Investigation of Dental Disease (1936).
 McBeath, F.C. Vitamin D studies, 1933-1934. American Journal of Public Health (1934), 24 1028-30.
 Anderson, P. G.; Williams, C. H. M.; Halderson, H.; Summerfeldt, C.; Agnew, R. Influence of vitamin D in the prevention of dental caries. Journal of the American Dental Association (1934) 21; 1349-66.
 Day, C. D.; Sedwick, H. J. Fat-soluble vitamins and dental caries in children. Journal of Nutrition (1934) 8; 309-28.
 Agnew, M. C.; Agnew, R. G.; Tisdall, F. F. The production and prevention of dental caries. Journal of the American Dental Association, JADA (1933) 20; 193-212.
 Bennett, N. G.; et al. The influence of diet on caries in children's teeth. Special Report Series – Medical Research Council, UK (1931) No. 159, 19.
 Mellanby, M.; Pattison, C. L. The influence of a cereal-free diet rich in vitamin D and calcium on dental caries in children. British Medical Journal (1932) I 507-10.
 Brodsky, R. H.; Schick, B.; Vollmer, H.. Prevention of dental caries by massive doses of vitamin D. American Journal of Diseases of Children (1941) 62; 1183-7.
 Hoffer A, Saul AW. Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone. Laguna Beach, California, Basic Health Pub, 2008