I have to be honest with you about this, oral health has not always been a priority for me... which is why flossing is always apart of the Champions Challenge because in my adult life it is one of those habits I've worked very hard to change. Oral hygiene goes far beyond just brushing your teeth and I became particularly passionate about this topic when I learned about the importance of oral hygiene in relation to thyroid function and Hashimoto's.
Health is not just about eating healthy foods, but about deepening our connection with ourselves. Building healthy habits out of self-love and self-care is a big part of living a healthy lifestyle.
Brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouth wash we all know are important for your oral health, and oral health means more than just having white teeth and fresh breath. Your mouth is filled with bacteria and is one of the main entryways that bacteria enter the body (hence all of us wearing face mask right now). If you don’t keep your mouth clean, the rest of your body will suffer. Research continues to come out demonstrating the relationship between your mouth and overall health, especially in relation to Hashimoto. Periodontitis -- What Is Periodontitis? When oral health is neglected, bacteria build up in our mouth and infect our gums. This causes inflammation and leads to what is known as periodontal disease, or periodontist. Plaque begins to build upon the tooth, the gums can start pull away from the tooth, and in extreme cases teeth can loosen or even fall out. I know everyone thinks that they would never let any of that happen to their teeth, periodontal it is much more common than you think. The CDC reports that 47.2% of adults aged 30 years or older have some form of the disease. Furthermore, those with autoimmune deficiencies, like Hashimoto, are at a much higher risk.
The Body‘s Connection
Inflammation of the mouth leads to inflammation of the rest of the body. The inflammation caused by periodontist can really exacerbate Hashimotos symptoms, through molecular mimicry and the spread of inflammatory molecules. Molecular mimicry occurs when the immune system attacks bad bacteria in our body, but also other parts of our body that have similar-appearing proteins on them.
So, when our body attacks the pathogens in our mouth, the immune system gets confused by the similar proteins and ends up attacking healthy tissue in other parts of the body. On top of that, the inflammatory molecule found in the mouth from a periodontist, can enter the blood and cause inflammation in other parts of the body as well. With that in mind, improving your dental health is super important, especially with hypothyroidism! Treatments and Tips: The conventical approach to treating periodontitis includes regular teeth cleaning and good oral care. However, this doesn’t solve the root of the problem, they only suppress symptoms, or even worsen Hashimoto symptoms. Ideally, we want to prevent periodontitis from developing in the first place, known as the Root Cause Protocol. Good oral care is recommended using xylitol (a silver-containing mouth wash) and a probiotic toothpaste, aiming for your gumlines when you brush, 3 times a day for 6 weeks. This will help get rid of all the pathogens in your mouth leading to reduced inflammation and improved autoimmune function. Whether you have Hashimoto's or not, on top of good oral hygiene, there are a ton of other holistic methods to prevent and treat periodontist/improve oral health:
Diet: Avoiding sweets, teas, coffee will reduce the acidity of the mouth and create an alkaline environment, making it hard for pathogens to survive. Eating more whole foods and veggies also creates an alkaline environment. Cranberry juice has been found to have anti-adhesion properties that can dissolve the protective shields of bacteria- make sure to choose organic 100% cranberry juice (Don’t pull a Regina George - HAHA)
Fluoride is NOT your friend: Fluoride can actually make periodontitis worse and directly impacts thyroid health (the thyroid gland is the most fluoride-sensitive tissue in the body). Research has shown that the body can actually mistakenly recognize fluoride as iodine, a chemical essential for cellular function. The body then wrongly absorbs fluoride into its organs and leads to toxicity in the body. Fluoride is known as an endocrine disrupter and chronic exposure can lead to lesions on the thyroid. For this reason, make sure to use fluoride-free toothpaste and if you live somewhere that your water is treated with fluoride, use a high-quality filter.
Oral Probiotics are a super-effective way to get good bacteria into your mouth so they can get rid of the bad and lead to decreased inflammation. Studies show that a probiotic mix called ProBiora3, found in products like EvoraPro, targets oral pathogens and can help whiten teeth and reduce inflammation!
Oil Pulling: Swishing around one tablespoon of sesame oil or coconut oil in your mouth for 5-20 minutes (until the oil turns white) helps breakdown the “homes” of bacteria. Overall, it’s important to remember the mouth is not detached from your overall health. No one wants to have a dirty mouth, and when it comes to periodontitis and Hashimoto's we want to focus on a holistic approach and targeting the root cause of the problem, rather than just suppressing symptoms. Try out some of these simple treatments and feel the difference!
The tongue cleaner:
An inexpensive yet transformative tool is a simple, thin, U-shaped piece of stainless steel with a blunted edge to remove gunk from the surface of the tongue. Dentists recommend the tongue cleaner because it helps fight cavities by removing bad bacteria from the mouth. It also prevents bad breath.
The tongue cleaner also helps with cravings by cleaning the tongue of leftover food residue that could lead to cravings for those foods eaten previously. A clean tongue has fewer “food memories” on its surface.
Products are linked to photos!
https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/conditions/periodontal-disease.html https://thyroidpharmacist.com/articles/periodontitis-a-trigger-for-hashimotos/ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cre2.247