Teeth are living organisms. They have a blood supply, nerve supply, a “skeletal structure,” and even a protective covering, akin to human skin. Recently, an article published in Neuroscience News reported that “a genetic predisposition to oral health problems increased the risk of white matter hyperintensities and was associated with a 43% increase in microstructural damage in the brain.” Although this information has been scientifically studied and is due to be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference next week, it is not new.
Numerous scientific studies    and vast anecdotal stories show the link between teeth/gum health and overall health, from ancient times until now. In fact, there is an entire field of dentistry, aptly called Holistic Dentistry or Biologic Dentistry, that deals with this exact phenomenon.
Each tooth and its corresponding nerve root directly connect to the brain. Each tooth and its corresponding blood supply directly connect to the heart. Holistic dentistry (and various forms of ancient medicine from multiple cultures) also posit that the teeth correspond to meridians in the body, linking them to our organs. This would explain how oral infections can be linked to Alzheimer’s, Hypertension, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and even mental dysfunctions like Schizophrenia and Depression, and poor school performance in children .
Then, there are root canals. Root canals, at their core, are designed to fix the problem of a dead tooth. However, according to Dr. Gary Verigin in an article written for The Radiant Healing Arts Center, patients with chronic disease processes like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease were 3x more likely than healthy patients to have infected root canals. He goes on to say that this is possible because of the very nature of the procedure. The dentin, blood and nerve supplies are removed, the cavity cleaned, filled and then covered with a crown. However, he states that because of the very nature of the tooth, there is no way to sanitize the tooth and kill any lingering bacteria completely. It is this bacteria that is then trapped inside the tooth, left to proliferate, and travel to various organs in the body via the bloodstream.
Dental health matters. Research is ongoing, but this is one area in which people are able to contribute to their own health. Brushing, flossing, and hydration are simple ways to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy. According to Cyprian Rivier, M.D., M.S., “Studying oral health is especially important because poor oral health happens frequently and is an easily modifiable risk factor – everyone can effectively improve their oral health with minimal time and financial investment.”