At Firouzian Dentistry, we believe strongly that your oral and overall health are strongly linked. We utilize dental treatments that not only keep your teeth and gums healthy, they promote your overall physical and mental wellbeing. This goes beyond general dentistry procedures that can help protect your heart and cut down on systemic inflammation. We also treat TMJ and sleep apnea that can have devastating effects felt throughout the body. 

It’s important to understand that effects can go both ways: your overall health can also have significant impacts on your oral health. Sometimes, too, things you are doing to boost your health can have negative impacts on your oral health. That’s why Columbus holistic dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian wants you to understand which common wellness trends are good for your teeth, and which ones aren’t. 

apple cider vinegar in a bottle and glassDrinking Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon Water

This oldie but baddie is terrible for your teeth. It pops up every year around January when people are looking for simple ways to improve their health. Gut health is especially top of mind because people have been eating and drinking excessively for the last six weeks or so, so they turn to these solutions that promise an easy thing you can do every day to get healthy, lose weight, and enjoy more promised benefits. 

First, it’s important to note that any benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar are likely overstated. Second, drinking vinegar or lemon water on a daily basis is bad for your teeth. These acidic liquids will erode your teeth. Hopefully, you learned this lesson five years ago or more, but if you haven’t: avoid this trend. 

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is another old technique that’s seeing a mini-revival. It involves swishing a mouthful of oil around your teeth, ostensibly with the goal of cleaning them. Then you spit out the oil hopefully with all kinds of food debris and oral bacteria. 

Although there’s little evidence to support the benefits of oil pulling, it’s also not likely to do much harm, so if you want to try oil pulling in addition to your routine oral hygiene, you might like it. 

Sober-Curious Lifestyle

“Sober-Curious” is a term coined by Ruby Warrington, the author of the book,  Sober Curious in 2018. Since then, it’s become a lifestyle change people consider. Basically that people are considering giving up drinking alcohol to improve their health. Although many people try sobriety as part of a dry January, people are increasingly considering giving up alcohol altogether. 

This lifestyle choice would actually be very good for your teeth. Although alcohol can be harmful to bacteria–that’s why it’s in mouthwash–drinking alcohol is associated with a higher risk of gum disease and cavities. 

Non-Dairy Milk

Although cow’s milk has long been touted as a healthy beverage, it is now viewed with some skepticism. Concerns about allergies, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification, combined with concerns for animal rights and environmental impacts of dairy products have led to an ongoing spike in the popularity of plant-based milk products. 

There are two potential concerns about non-dairy milk. First, might they lead to a decrease in calcium necessary for healthy teeth. Second, might they increase the risk of cavities. 

In terms of calcium, many plant milk has as much calcium as cow’s milk or more. Do your research and make an appropriate selection. When it comes to cavities, though, the story is more complicated. It’s important to understand that drinking milk can cause cavities. There are sugars in milk that oral bacteria can process to make acids. However, cow’s milk has some antibacterial proteins and it can buffer acids to reduce the risk of cavities. This means that plant milk is more likely to contribute to cavities. It’s not so much that you need to avoid plant milk, just be aware, and consider rinsing your mouth with water after drinking them. 

Mouth Taping

Mouth taping used to be a joke about how people might treat snoring at home. Apparently, not everybody’s laughing now. Many people earnestly recommend this approach. 

Let’s get out of the way that this could help your teeth in one way. Mouth breathing can dehydrate your mouth, leading to acidic conditions as oral bacteria flourish overnight. 

However, the potential negative effects of this trend outweigh the positives. 

It’s important to understand that you are likely breathing through your mouth because you can’t get enough air through your airway otherwise. Taping your mouth doesn’t change this. Instead, it just takes away one of your body’s options for getting air. This can lead to lower oxygen saturation, poor sleep, and worse sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is bad for oral health just as it’s bad for the rest of your body. Plus, mouth taping that effectively keeps your mouth closed might also put pressure on your teeth, leading to a dished profile and other problems. 

Micro Workouts

People are eschewing long, grueling exercise routines for short bursts of activity, also known as incidental exercise or exercise snacks. This can be good for your oral health. 

First, micro workouts can make it easier to get more exercise, and getting more exercise can mean weight loss. Being overweight increases your risk of gum disease. Second, long bouts of exercise can contribute to oral health problems. Exercising a lot at once can lead to dehydration. Even if you’re not dehydrated overall, you might be breathing through your mouth, causing your mouth to dry out. A dry mouth becomes acidic and fosters more oral bacteria. Plus, people rely on sports drinks and gels to maintain hydration and energy during long routines. Often acidic and loaded with sugar, these are bad for your teeth. You don’t need these if you just get exercise snacks throughout the day. 

Mushroom Diets

We’re not talking about the hallucinogenic mushrooms that are becoming legal in some places. Instead, we’re talking about consuming more food mushrooms for their health benefits. More people are adding multiple mushrooms to their diet, hoping that mushroom stacking will amplify the health benefits of these foods. 

This might be good for your teeth. Although the evidence is slight, there is some evidence that mushrooms might have cavity-prevention properties.  Plus, if they can really reduce systemic inflammation as people claim, they might reduce your risk of periodontal disease. 

Gut-Brain Axis

More people are becoming interested in how the gut’s many nerves can act as a “second brain,” influencing our health and our mood. It’s important to note that the gut can produce more serotonin (the hormone that helps us feel happy) than our brain. Helping maintain a healthy gut microbiome–the ecosystem of microorganisms living in our gut–could prove critical to health and happiness. 

There’s good evidence that the oral microbiome and the gut microbiome are closely related. If you want to improve your gut microbiome, you should start by addressing your oral microbiome. In addition, the steps you take to improve your gut microbiome should lead to a healthier mouth, too. 

a glass of iced matcha latte

Matcha Mania

Although most people in Columbus love coffee, there is a growing trend of giving up java in favor of matcha: a processed green tea popular in Japan. 

The supposed benefits of matcha include less of a spike in cortisol (stress hormone). If it does reduce cortisol and therefore inflammation, matcha could reduce your risk of systemic inflammation as well as teeth grinding and clenching–all good for your teeth. Plus, matcha contains fewer stain molecules than coffee–but it can still mean you need teeth whitening if it’s a daily habit. Perhaps the most important factor determining whether matcha is better for your teeth, though, is what you put in it. People load their coffee with sugar and cream, which can make it very bad for your teeth. Add less of this to your matcha and your teeth will be healthier this year. 

Maintain Oral and Overall Health in Columbus

If you are looking for a holistic dentist in Columbus who can help you harmonize your overall wellness with good oral health, we would welcome you to Firouzian Dentistry. Dr. Mike Firouzian will help you understand the impact your lifestyle choices can have on your oral health, and how good oral health is an essential part of achieving whole-body wellness. 

To schedule an appointment, please call (614) 848-5001 or use our online form to request an appointment at Firouzian Dentistry in the Crosswoods neighborhood of Columbus.