Tag Archives: Osteoporosis





Humans in the US today can expect to live well into our 70’s or 80’s so maintaining healthy bones that support us throughout our life span is essential if we’re going to stay active and keep our independence.
Although they seem rock-like, our bones are alive. They contain blood vessels, nerves, and cells – and serve many functions:
    • Enable support and mobility for the body
    • Store important trace minerals needed for bodily functions
    • Produce red and white blood cells
    • Protect the body’s organs from injury



Source: slideplayer.com
Source: slideplayer.com



Two types of cells regulate the bone’s structure:
  • Osteoblasts – cells that build bones
  • Osteoclasts – cells that break down old or damaged bone to make room for healthy new bone


Bone Remodeling: Osteoclasts & Osteoblasts

Source: www.endocrineweb.com
Source: www.endocrineweb.com


Bones remain healthy and strong as long as bone-building activity exceeds bone breakdown. Our most intense bone growth stage runs from birth until about age 30-35. After that, our bones gradually lose minerals.
“If not given the right kind of care, bones can begin to weaken early in life. It’s a quiet, symptom-less process that steals away your bones. You can’t feel it happening, at least not in the early stages – hence the name ‘silent thief’.
“And here’s something that every woman needs to know: Your normal bone loss accelerates during and after menopause for about five to seven years before returning to the slightly slower rate that men experience.
“You can lose as much as 35 percent of your bone density during those few, short years!” (Mercola, 2016)


Source: juicing-for-health.com
Source: juicing-for-health.com







Source: www.pinterest.com
Source: www.pinterest.com


The common belief that osteoporosis drugs are a good way to restore bone health is actually incorrect. Dr Robert Mercola points out that most of these drugs “actually weaken your bones. Bisphosphonate bone drugs impact your normal bone repair process by killing off your osteoclasts, and do make your bones denser, but because the osteoclasts are killed the bone is actually weaker as it is not remodeled properly.
“Before starting any type of prescription drug for your bone health, I strongly recommend you consider less risky, more natural approaches first, such as diet, exercise, and safe bone health supplements!” (Mercola, 2016)






In addition to the right kinds of physical activity, proper bone building requires balancing four major nutrients: CALCIUM, VITAMIN D, VITAMIN K2, AND MAGNESIUM.
“The functions of these four nutrients are entwined and depend on each other for strength– much like a twisting grapevine.
“Just as you can’t untangle a grapevine without wrecking its strength, you can’t separate out one nutrient without affecting the actions of the others.
  • Vitamin D maintains skeletal calcium balance by promoting calcium absorption in your intestines.
  • Calcium and phosphate depend upon Vitamin D for bone formation.
  • Vitamin K2 helps to cement the calcium you absorb into the bone matrix rather than depositing it on the inside of your blood vessels leading to atherosclerosis.
  • Magnesium is an important mineral that your body needs to build a strong bone matrix.
“Imagine the effects on your bones if one of these nutrients is missing – or not present in the right amount!” (Mercola, 2016)






Seven Health Benefits of Calcium

Source: www.nutritional-supplements-solutions.com
Source: www.nutritional-supplements-solutions.com
Both Dr Mercola and Chris Kresser agree that getting your calcium from healthy food sources is preferable to taking a calcium supplement. (Kresser, 2013) & Mercola, 2016)
“If you’re concerned about maintaining healthy bones, you’re better off ensuring adequate calcium intake from foods like dairy products, sardines, salmon, dark leafy greens and bone broth. 600 milligrams per day from food (approximately two servings of dairy products or bone-in fish) is plenty to maintain adequate levels of calcium in the body. Healthy bone formation also depends on vitamin D and vitamin K2, both of which regulate calcium metabolism. There are also other minerals besides calcium involved in supporting bone health, such as silica and magnesium. If you have adequate levels of these nutrients, and regularly perform weight-bearing exercise, there is no need for calcium supplementation, which will likely do more harm than good.” (Kresser, 2013)



Source: thevegantruth.blogspot.com
Source: thevegantruth.blogspot.com


Some high calcium foods – such as fermented cheeses and butter from pastured cows – also have the benefit of containing naturally high amounts of vitamin K2.
Sesame seeds (1/4 cup)                                                      351 mg
Sardines, canned in oil with bones (3 ounces)       324 mg
Yogurt (unsweetened) (1 cup)                                        300 mg
Goat’s milk (1 cup)                                                               326 mg
Swiss cheese (1 ounce)                                                       270 mg
Spinach (1 cup cooked)                                                      260 mg
Collard greens (1 cup cooked)                                        226 mg
Canned salmon with bones (3 ounces)                       181 mg
Almonds (2 ounces)                                                             150 mg
Navy beans, cooked (1 cup)                                              130 mg
Broccoli, raw (1 cup)                                                              90 mg

Source: Mercola.com   





Source: www.orchardpharmacyrx.com
Source: www.orchardpharmacyrx.com


Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to allow normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany (a disease caused by an abnormally low level of calcium in the blood). It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling. Without sufficient Vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia (softening of the bones, resulting from impaired mineralization) in adults. Together with calcium, Vitamin D also helps protect against osteoporosis. (NIH, 2016)
Without adequate Vitamin D, the body is unable to form the hormone calcitriol which is needed for calcium absorption. In this situation, the body takes calcium out of the skeleton, weakening existing bones and preventing the formation of strong, new bones. (NIH, 2015)



Vitamin D provides many other benefits throughout our lives. Here are some of them:
Source: www.vitamindcouncil.org
Source: www.vitamindcouncil.org



Vitamin D, which is actually a potent neuroregulatory steroidal hormone rather than an actual vitamin, is a key player in overall health. It influences nearly 3,000 of our 25,000 genes – literally turning on and off genes that can exacerbate – or prevent many diseases. It has been show to influence many conditions and diseases, including:
  • Alzheimer’s disease  
  • Asthma
  • Autism 
  • Cancer     
  • Cavities  
  • Cold & Flu 
  • Crohn’s Disease   
  • Cystic Fibrosis   
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes, Types 1 and 2
  • Eczema & Psoriasis
  • Hearing Loss
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension    
  • Infertility
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
  • Insomnia
  • Macular Degeneration    
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis  
  • Muscle Pain  
  • Obesity    
  • Osteoporosis  
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Pre Eclampsia    
  • Reduced C-section Risk
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizures  
  • Septicemia    
  • Signs of Aging  
  • Tuberculosis
– Mercola (3/26/2011)


Note that many pharmaceuticals deplete the body’s Vitamin D:
Source: devel.naturecity.com
Source: devel.naturecity.com


It is estimated that the vast majority of Americans – 85% of us – have insufficient levels of Vitamin D. (Mercola, 3/26/2011)
“Today’s vitamin D recommendations may be enough to help provide rickets, but it does nothing to give protection from cancer, heart disease, and infections. Most adults need about 8,000 units of vitamin D, while there are others who may need over that required amount to optimize their vitamin D levels.
“Vitamin D requirements are highly individual, and the amount that your body needs may depend on numerous factors, including the color of your skin, your location, and how much sunshine you’re exposed to on a regular basis. It is important to have your levels tested regularly using a 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Vitamin D levels should never go below 32 ng/ml. Instead, you should aim to have your levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml.
“The best way to reach optimal vitamin D levels is through safe sun exposure. If this is not possible, you may use a safe tanning bed. Vitamin D supplementation is another option, provided that it is in the form of vitamin D3.” (Mercola, 10/10/2009)


For more information on the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency, see Dr Frank Lipman’s article Symptoms & Diseases Associated With Vitamin D Deficiency and the Vitamin D Council’s archive of articles on the relationship between Vitamin D and autoimmune diseases.

Source: draxe.com
Source: draxe.com







Source: positiveandhealthymindsd.com
Source: positiveandhealthymindsd.com


Most people taking calcium supplements – and their physicians – don’t realize that optimizing bone integrity and maintaining cardiovascular health also require Vitamin K2.
Inadequate Vitamin K2 disrupts calcium regulation and is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis.  People who have a lack of calcium in their bones are more likely to have an excess of calcium in their arteries, and vice versa.
Lack of calcium in the bones leads to osteoporosis while deposits of calcium in the arterial walls leads to coronary heart disease and other manifestations of cardiovascular, renal, and neuro-degenerative disease.
Vitamin K2 helps regulate calcium and helps prevent heart disease and osteoporosis – as well as certain types of cancers, such as liver cancer, myeloma, and lymphoma. It may also help inhibit cancer growth. (Davis, 2008)


Source: www.consumerhealthdigest.com
Source: www.consumerhealthdigest.com


Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by the osteoblasts in the bones, which is needed to bind calcium into the bone matrix. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into the arteries.
Evidence shows that Vitamin D is dependent on Vitamin K and that Vitamin D toxicity is actually caused by Vitamin K2 deficiency.
Also, taking calcium in isolation without complimentary nutrients like magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K can have adverse effects, including the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries and heart attacks. Calcium intake should be balanced out with Vitamins D and K and other minerals crucial to bone health. (Mercola, 3/26/2011)



Source: peakmodernliving.com
Source: peakmodernliving.com


“What dose of vitamin K2 is best? Scientists are still debating this question. Supplements generally contain between 50 mcg and 1,000 mcg of vitamin K2. Even the low end of the supplement dose of 50 mcg a day may help to support healthy bone density and protect the arterial wall from calcification. Life Extension has long recommended about 1,000 mcg a day of vitamin K2, along with 9,000 mcg vitamin K1 for most people.” (Davis, 2008)





“Overall, magnesium assures the strength and firmness of bones and makes teeth harder. Since magnesium participates in an astonishing array of biochemical reactions, it’s no surprise that it’s essential for healthy bones and teeth. Most notably, adequate magnesium is essential for absorption and metabolism of calcium.
“Magnesium also has a role to play, together with the thyroid and parathyroid glands, in supporting bone health: stimulating the thyroid’s production of calcitonin, which acts as a bone-preserving hormone, and regulating parathyroid hormone, a function of which is to regulate bone breakdown in a number of ways.”
Magnesium is also needed for the conversion of Vitamin D into its active form. A magnesium deficiency can lead to a syndrome known as Vitamin D resistance. Alkaline phosphatase, the enzyme required for forming new calcium crystals,  also requires magnesium for activation, and, if levels are low, abnormal bone crystal formation can result. Even mild magnesium deficiency has been found to be a leading risk factor for osteoporosis.
“As with calcium, the majority of the body’s reserves of magnesium are held in the bone (60%), and the bones act as a storage reservoir, transferring magnesium into the blood stream in times of need. Adequate daily intake of magnesium is important throughout life to keep the magnesium that is stored in the bones from being lost. Low magnesium intake, as well as low blood and bone magnesium levels, has been widely associated with osteoporosis in women.
“It’s often overlooked that magnesium and calcium function together, so deficiency of one markedly affects the metabolism of the other. In fact, increasing calcium supplementation without increasing magnesium supplementation can actually increase magnesium loss. Similarly, the use of calcium supplements in the face of a magnesium deficiency can lead to calcium deposition in the soft tissues, such as the joints, where it can promote arthritis, or in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones.
There has been conflicting opinion about the adequacy of our magnesium intake. Despite its recognized importance, most Americans consume less than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for magnesium. “
– Brown, 2014


It is estimated that 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient, leading to significant health consequences which, in turn, can be aggravated by many, if not most pharmaceutical treatments.
“An ideal ratio between calcium and magnesium is thought to be 1:1. The recommended daily dose is around 700 milligrams of each.
“Anytime you’re taking any of the following: magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, or vitamin K2, you need to take all the others into consideration as well, as these nutrients work synergistically with one another.” (Mercola, 2013)



Source: preventdisease.com
Source: preventdisease.com






While it’s generally preferable when possible to look after your bones via diet and sun exposure, here are some things to be aware of if you decide to take nutritional supplements instead.


This is what Vivian Goldschmidt’s says about calcium in her Save Our Bones article,   These Two Supplements Can Hurt More Than Help Your Bones :
“Typically, doctors will tell those with low bone density to “take calcium” or “drink milk.” But they make no distinction between the organic forms of this mineral and the inorganic. And chances are, prescribed calcium is inorganic. Now, don’t get me wrong. The body can effectively utilize small doses of inorganic calcium, but when doctors prescribe or recommend calcium, the dosage is typically around 1,000 mg a day.
“The most common calcium supplements are made of carbonate, citrate (which is easier to digest than carbonate), dolomite, di-calcium phosphate, tri-calcium phosphate, coral, oyster shell or bone meal, and all variations of amino-acid chelated calcium (which are the most bioavailable of all the above forms of calcium). While they may have different names, they all have one thing in common: they are all inorganic.
“This kind of calcium is not easily bioavailable, especially in large quantities, which most likely explains it’s association with increased risk of heart attack.” (Goldschmidt, 2016)
If you prefer a calcium supplement, you might consider this high quality, bio-active nutritional supplement called Doctor’s Best Calcium Bone Maker Complex. It  contains calcium, D3, K2 MK-7, and Magnesium – along with Vitamin C and a variety of minerals that support optimal bone health. (It unfortunately isn’t suitable for vegetarians.)
This information about the supplement is provided by the manufacturer, Waitaki Biosciences:

This bone health supplement is balanced and synergistic, a product of extensive research into the current medical and scientific understanding of bone. Among this product’s unique benefits:

• Diverse nutrient spectrum for comprehensive bone maintenance.

• Supports bone matrix formation, a requisite for calcium utilization.

• Provides a generous 1800 IU of vitamin D3 for healthy bone calcification.

• Its vitamin K2 (as MK-7) surpasses other K vitamin forms in supporting bone formation.

• Provides optimized allowances of calcium, magnesium, and other essential bone minerals.

• Avoids technical shortcuts that use magnesium oxide or other poorly absorbed ingredients.

• Offers potential benefits that extend beyond bone to promote overall health and wellbeing.

Calcium Is Not Sufficient to Build Bone.

Clinical studies have established that high-calcium dietary supplements by themselves do not reliably increase bone density or reduce fracture risk. Many other nutrients are required.

The formation of new bone is really a complex process that involves first, building a scaffolding—the bone matrix—then adding in calcium and other minerals to produce hardness and strength. This bone matrix is roughly comparable to the “rebar” that is set in place prior to pouring concrete. The bone’s “concrete” is formed at the end as hard mineral crystals that naturally include not just calcium but magnesium, strontium and other minerals. The bone matrix is a molecular network primarily of large collagen molecules, interspersed with smaller amounts of other proteins and with large protein-carbohydrate molecules (“glycosaminoglycans”).

The ascorbic acid (vitamin C) this formula provides is a necessary factor for the enzymes that make collagen.

The formula’s complement of other nutrients is designed to enable the bone cells to build healthy bone matrix and achieve full bone mineralization.




If a blood test shows you’re Vitamin D deficient, your doctor is likely to recommend a Vitamin D2 supplement, also called ergocalciferol. D2 is also the form of Vitamin D often added to foods (eg, to milk) to ‘fortify’ them. But the body is not able to absorb D2 well. A study published in 2006 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is quite clear in its conclusion about the inferiority of Vitamin D2 over D3:
“Despite an emerging body of evidence suggesting several plausible explanations for the greater bioefficacy of vitamin D3, the form of vitamin D used in major preparations of prescriptions in North America is vitamin D2. … Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation or fortification.” (Houghton & Vieth, 2006)
So, even if your doctor isn’t aware of the important difference between the D3 and D2 forms of Vitamin D, be sure YOU are and go with the D3.
I like Metagenics, D3 5000. It’s high quality, both high potency and bio-available.
And don’t forget to have your Vitamin D blood level checked at least two times a year to make sure it’s neither too low nor too high.
See Dr Josh Axe’s Are You Vitamin D Deficient? for more information, including a list of the many Chronic Diseases Fueled by Vitamin D Deficiency and a chart of Vitamin D Dose Recommendations.
You might also want to look at Dr Mercola’s article How to Get Your Vitamin D To Within Healthy Ranges. Here’s an excerpt from that article:
The Role of Vitamin D in Disease Prevention
“A growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as vitamin D receptors located throughout your body.
“According to one large-scale study, optimal Vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent. Keeping your levels optimized can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers.”




The Vitamin K2 supplement I like is Vitamin K2 MK-7 150 mcg (Health As It Ought To Be). I figure I get an adequate amount of K1 from my daily diet.



I like these high quality, bio-available magnesium supplements:




If you’re unclear about why nutritional supplements need to be bio-available to be effective, see my earlier post on Whole Food Supplements (Bio-available) vs OTC (Synthetic) Vitamins.




Source: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006Q5SYC4/ref=sr_ph_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1474944826&sr=sr-1&keywords=neuromag
Source: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006Q5SYC4/ref=sr_ph_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1474944826&sr=sr-1&keywords=neuromag





Axe, J. (2016). Are You Vitamin D Deficient? See: https://draxe.com/vitamin-d-deficiency/

Brown, S.E. (2014). Key minerals for bone health — magnesium. See: http://www.betterbones.com/bonenutrition/magnesium.aspx

Davis, W. (2008). Protecting Bone and Arterial health with Vitami K2. Life Extension Magazine. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/3/protecting-bone-and-arterial-health-with-vitamin-k2/Page-01

Goldschmidt, V. (2016). Beware! These Two Supplements Can Hurt More Than Help Your Bones. See: http://saveourbones.com/beware-these-two-supplements-can-hurt-more-than-help-your-bones/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). Whole Food Supplements (Bio-available) vs OTC (Synthetic) Vitamins. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/01/25/whole-food-supplements-bio-available-vs-otc-synthetic-vitamins

Houghton, L.A. & Vieth, R.(2006). The case against ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) as a vitamin supplement. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  84:4, 694-697. See: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/4/694.full

Kresser, C. (3/8/2013). Calcium Supplements: Why You Should Think Twice. See: https://chriskresser.com/calcium-supplements-why-you-should-think-twice/

Lipman, F. (2016). Symptoms & Diseases Associated With Vitamin D Deficiency. See: http://www.drfranklipman.com/symptoms-diseases-associated-with-vitamin-d-deficiency/

Mercola, R. (3/26/2011). Vitamin K: The Missing Nutrient to Blame for Heart Attacks and Osteoporosis (Nope – NOT Calcium or Vitamin D). See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/03/26/the-delicate-dance-between-vitamins-d-and-k.aspx

Mercola, R. (11/21/2011). How to Get Your Vitamin D To Within Healthy Ranges. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/21/how-to-get-your-vitamin-d-to-healthy-ranges.aspx

Mercola, R. (12/8/2013). Magnesium—The Missing Link to Better Health. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/08/magnesium-health-benefits.aspx

Mercola, R. (2016). This Silent Thief Can Steal Away Your Independence in a Flash. See: http://products.mercola.com/calcium-supplement/?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160414Z1&et_cid=DM102804&et_rid=1442193832

NIH – Osteoporosis & Related Bone Diseases, National Resource Center. (2015). Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age. See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Nutrition/

NIH. (2016). Vitamin D. See: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

Vitamin D Council. (undated). Autoimmune Disease. See: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/tag/autoimmune-disease/




© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.



For a Healthy Mouth


Source: www.syracuseutdentistry.com)
(Source: www.syracuseutdentistry.com)





Thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease. Meaning, the health of your mouth, teeth and gums has a direct connection to health in the rest of your body. (Mercola, 8/27/2016)
Most of the billions of bacteria living in the mouth are harmless – even necessary for good health. Maintaining good oral health supports those good bacteria and enables the body’s natural defenses to keep bad bacteria under control. But, without proper oral hygiene, pathogenic bacteria can reach levels that lead to tooth decay and gum disease – and also create disease elsewhere in the body.
Additionally, medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants reduce saliva flow. Saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralize acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping protect against microbial invasion or overgrowth that could lead to disease. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016)
Pathogenic bacteria living in our oral cavities enter the blood stream  through a variety of daily activities, such as chewing, eating, brushing and flossing. Invasive dental treatments greatly increase the risk of pathogenic bacteria’s spreading elsewhere in the body via the blood stream. (Whiteman, 2013)





Poor conditions in the mouth contribute to many problems elsewhere in the body, including:
  • Endocarditis. Endocarditis is a dangerous infection of the inner lining of the heart (the endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other pathogenic microbes from the mouth or elsewhere in the body  spread through the bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in the heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke are linked to infections and the inflammation pathogenic oral bacteria can cause.
  • Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis (a set of inflammatory diseases affecting the tissues that surround and support the teeth) is linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjogren’s is an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth.
  • Diabetes. Diabetics have a  reduced resistance to infection and have more frequent and more severe gum disease.  Research has found that people with gum disease have a harder time controlling blood sugar levels and that regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
  • HIV/AIDS. HIV and AIDS are immunodeficiency conditions caused by the HIV virus. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
  • Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis may be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK, discovered the presence of a bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of patients who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when they were alive. This bacterium is usually associated with chronic gum disease. Worsening oral health is generally seen as Alzheimer’s progresses.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. A strong link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was found in a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. 70% of the RA patients had gum disease. In 30% the gum disease was severe. The population norm for gum disease is 35% with 5% having severe gum disease. Severe gum disease is often found in the early stages of RA. RA patients should get complete oral health exams regularly.
  • Head and neck cancers. A link between head and neck cancers and poor oral health at the time of oncology diagnosis has often been observed. A British group studied the oral health state of 100 people with head and neck cancers before beginning cancer treatment and found periodontal disease in 71% of the subjects who still had their teeth. The periodontal disease was severe in 51% of them. 61% of them had cavities in one or more teeth.
  • Eating disorders. Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating take their toll on oral health. Without proper nutrition, gums and other soft tissues in the mouth may bleed easily. Saliva glands may swell and cause chronic dry mouth. Repeated vomiting exposes teeth to strong stomach acid, causing lost tooth enamel and tooth edges to become thin and break off easily.
  • Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Source: (American Dental Association, 2016), (Critchlow et al, 2014), (Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, 2015), (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016), & (Whiteman, 2013)



(Source: www.implantnyc.com)
(Source: www.implantnyc.com)






Since the mouth is the “gateway to total body wellness” (Mercola, 8/27/2016), maintaining oral health – or restoring it if it has been compromised – is of utmost importance. Here are some suggestions for accomplishing that:


(Source: www.identalhub.com)
(Source: www.identalhub.com)



(Source: www.smile-la.com)
(Source: www.smile-la.com)



A nutritious, balanced diet promotes healthy gums as well as a healthy body. In many cases, gum disease is directly connected to poor nutrition habits. Eat a well-balanced diet packed with plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Vitamins C and B are both essential to healthy gums.





– preferably with a biologic/holistic dentist who understands the connection between oral health and health in the rest of the body. And be sure to see your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises.



“Your mouth is teeming with bacteria. It’s true. And it’s a good thing. There are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people on Earth. And a huge number of them actually benefit you by protecting against the more dangerous bacteria.
Bacteria“When you used an antibacterial mouthwash, it kills all kinds of bacteria, even the good ones! This can be the opportunity that the hazardous bacteria need to take over and start an infection. This is known as a “rebound effect.”
“Another side effect of bacteria loss is reduced production of nitrites (which help your blood vessels to expand and contract efficiently). A Swedish study linked lower nitrite production from antibacterial mouthwash to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.” (Blodgett, 2015)

“KILLS GERMS by up to 99.9%” for up to 12 hours – THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING




A manual or electric toothbrush mechanically removes plaque bacteria from the teeth but new studies have shown that ionic toothbrushes do a better job. Plaque biofilm is hard to brush off because it has a positive polarity while teeth have a negative polarity. Opposite charges attract and like charges repel. Much like dust is attracted to objects in our homes, plaque is attracted to our teeth.
An ionic toothbrush temporarily reverses the polarity of the tooth surfaces from negative to positive. This draws plaque towards the ionic toothbrush head, allowing the toothbrush to clear away more of it. As you use an ionic toothbrush, plaque is actively repelled by your now positively charged teeth and attracted to the negatively charged bristles – even in hard to reach areas that haven’t been touched by the brush – and acids in the mouth are neutralized. Research has found that ionic toothbrushes reduce hypersensitivity, plaque, and bleeding. (Parker, 2016)





Most toothpastes contain toxic ingredients – such as fluoride, parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, triclosan, sodium hydroxide, bleaches and other harsh chemicals  These chemicals damage the body as a whole and can  impair the good probiotic bacteria in the mouth.
Switch instead to an herbal toothpaste that’s free of metals and carcinogens. Look for ingredients such as eucalyptus, licorice, neem, clove and peppermint – natural antibacterial agents and breath fresheners.
Here’s an example of an effective, healthier toothpaste:
Auromere Ayurvedic Toothpaste
Auromere toothpaste

From Auromére’s website:

Auromére ‘s highly effective line of Ayurvedic toothpaste combines the natural fibre PEELU with the astringent and invigorating properties of NEEM and 24 other barks, roots, plants and flowers which have been esteemed for centuries by Ayurvedic specialists for maintaining optimum dental hygiene. The all-natural botanical extracts and essential oils in Auromére Toothpaste are prized for their astringent, cleansing properties that help freshen breath and leave teeth feeling squeaky clean. In addition, Auromére Toothpaste contains no fluoride, gluten, artificial sweeteners, dyes or harsh chemicals commonly found in many toothpastes.

Free of fluoride, gluten, bleaches, artificial sweeteners, dyes, and animal ingredients.

Concentrated formula: Each tube lasts 3 times longer than other brands!

Available in 5 varieties: Licorice,  Freshmint,  Mint-Free,  Foam-Free Cardamom-Fennel, and Foam-Free Freshmint.


Oral irrigation removes plaque that tooth brushing doesn’t reach – from below the gum line. My favorite oral irrigator, and the one recommended by holistic/biologic dentist Reid Winick, DDS,  is made by Hydrofloss. I use it at night before bedtime and can feel the difference when I’m away from it while traveling.
Keeping an adequate supply of good probiotic bacteria living in your mouth defends against over growths of bad  pathogenic bacteria. Using an oral probiotic lozenge after you’ve cleaned your mouth before bedtime aids in maintaining dental and periodental health, reducing the incidence of inflammation and infections.
Here are two examples of high quality oral probiotic lozenges:

EvoraPro® Oral Probiotics for Dental Professionals

(Source: ramonadental.com)
(Source: ramonadental.com)
  • A product of more than 30 years of probiotic research by industry leader ProBiora Health
  • Features a patented, proprietary, extra-strength blend of beneficial bacteria, ProBiora3®
  • The blend of beneficial bacteria in EvoraPro are ones naturally found in healthy mouths

Life Extension Florassist Oral Hygiene

  • An oral probiotic that provides the beneficial bacteria that can help block harmful bacteria that first develop in the mouth
  • Allows the healthy and naturally occurring organisms found in the body to out-compete the harmful bacteria
  • Contains BLIS K12 and Bacillus coagulans, a unique blend of two oral probiotics
A fast way to get bad bacteria out of your mouth is with a tongue scraper. This is a traditional Ayurvedic technique for removing bacterial build-up, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue. The technique cleans the mouth, freshens the breath, and also stimulates the metabolism.

(Source: www.ayurvedicbazaar.com)

(Source: www.ayurvedicbazaar.com)




Green tea not only protects against radiation, boosts mineralization of bones, and helps with weight loss, it also promotes healthy teeth and gums. High levels of catechin, an antioxidant, seem to be responsible for green tea’s ability to reduce inflammation in the body, including the mouth.
Source: www.pinterest.com)
Source: www.pinterest.com)




Vitamin C’s positive impact on oral health is well known.  “In fact, the use of vitamin C in dental disease is one of the earliest recorded uses of nutrient therapy in Western medicine. In 1747, a British Naval physician named James Lind noticed that lime juice, which is rich in vitamin C, helped prevent scurvy, which causes tooth loss. As a result, British sailors bottled lime juice for gum disease prevention. Incidentally, this practice later gave rise to the term ‘Limey’.” (Life Extension, 2016)
An interesting source of vitamin C is a fruit called camu camu that’s native to the Peruvian and Brazilian rain forests. It has an exceptionally high vitamin C content. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and reduces the incidence of bleeding gums, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Other benefits are repairing and maintaining cartilage and bones throughout the body and improving the texture of the skin.
Raw, Organic Camu Camu Powder




Oil pulling is a highly effective method of detoxifying the oral cavity. Swishing a tablespoon of oil (preferably organic coconut oil, but olive or sesame can also be used) around in the mouth for 10-20 minutes removes the toxins, leaving an oral environment where healthy saliva flows properly to prevent cavities and disease. Research has shown that oil pulling reduces plaque-induced gingivitis and the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, a known cause of cavities.
The first synthetic bristled toothbrush so familiar to us now first went on sale on February 24, 1938, but oil pulling has been used for centuries in India as a traditional remedy to:
  • Cure tooth decay
  • Kill bad breath
  • Heal bleeding gums
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Whiten teeth
  • Soothe throat dryness
  • Prevent cavities
  • Heal cracked lips
  • Boost the Immune system
  • Improve acne
  • Strengthen the gums and jaw
See Dr Josh Axe’s Coconut Oil Pulling Benefits & How-to Guide for more information on the benefits of coconut oil pulling plus a useful how-to video.


(Source: draxe.com)
(Source: draxe.com)
Sources: (Axe, 2016), (Felts, 2014), (Life Extension, 2016),  (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016), (Mercola, 8/27/2016), & (Winick, 2016)



(Source: seniorsoralhealth.org)
(Source: seniorsoralhealth.org)


 “Pathogens are now being recognized as resident microbes that are out of balance … (T)he same bacteria that keep us alive can have a pathogenic expression when disturbed.

“I have been tooting the horn about getting out of the ‘pesticide business.’ I’m also speaking about natural pesticides. Not just triclosan, clorhexidin and those synthetic types, but also tea tree oil, tulsi oil, oregano oil and other antimicrobial oils that … have a potent disturbing effect on the oral microbiome.

“In the mouth, you don’t want to have a ‘scorched earth policy,’ nuking all bacteria and hoping the good bugs come back … (G)ood bugs basically have a harder chance of setting up a healthy-balanced microbiome when you disturb them, denature then, or dehydrate them with alcohol-based products.”

– Biologic dentist Gerry Curatola, DDS (quoted in Mercola, 8/27/2016)





“(T)housands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease.
‘Inflammation is known to be a disease-causing force leading to most chronic illness, and gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation that can have a deleterious effect on every major organ system in your body.
‘Oral disease can therefore contribute to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few. Advanced gum disease can raise your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times. And, according to Curatola, if you get a heart attack related to gum disease, 9 times out of 10 it will be fatal.
‘There’s also a 700 percent higher incidence of type 2 diabetes among those with gum disease, courtesy of the inflammatory effects of unbalanced microflora in your mouth.” (Mercola, 8/27/2016


(Source: www.australiadental.com.au)
(Source: www.australiadental.com.au)


For more information on oral health, see these earlier posts:

Oral Health and Overall Health

Oral Health, Thermography and Inflammation

Is Antiseptic Mouthwash Harming Your Heart?

Vitamin C for Tooth Pain

Root Canals and Breast Cancer

For more information on how ionic toothbrushes work, see:

The Science Behind Ionic Toothbrushes




Many thanks to Anne Mercer Larson and Morrie Sherry for suggesting I write on this topic as a follow up to my Root Canals and Breast Cancer post.


(Source: healthybodylife.com)
(Source: healthybodylife.com)





American Dental Association. (2016). Eating Disorders. See: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/eating-disorders

Axe, J. (2016). Coconut Oil Pulling Benefits & How-to Guide. See: https://draxe.com/oil-pulling-coconut-oil/

Blodgett, K. (2015). Is Mouthwash Bad for You? Blodgett Dental Care. See: http://www.blodgettdentalcare.com/blog/is-mouthwash-bad-for-you/

Critchlow, S.B. et al. (2014). The oral health status of pre-treatment head and neck cancer patients. British Dental Journal, 1:216. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24413141

Felts, L. (2014). DETOX YOUR MOUTH: 9 HOLISTIC TREATMENTS FOR ORAL HEALTH. See: http://thechalkboardmag.com/detox-your-mouth-9-holistic-oral-health-treatments

Hardin, J.R. (3/14/2014). Is Antiseptic Mouthwash Harming Your Heart? See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/03/14/antiseptic-mouthwash-harming-heart/

Hardin, J.R. (2/16/2014). Oral Health and Overall Health.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/02/16/oral-health-overall-health/

Hardin, J.R. (2/16/2014). Oral Health, Thermography and Inflammation.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/02/16/oral-health-thermography-inflammation/

Hardin, J.R. (7/31/2016). Vitamin C for Tooth Pain. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2016/07/31/vitamin-c-toothache/

Hardin, J.R. (8/22/2016). Root Canals & Breast Cancer. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2016/08/22/root-canals-breast-cancer/

Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. (2015). Dental Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Research Update. See: http://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/arthritis-news/ra-news/dental-health-and-rheumatoid-arthritis-a-research-update/

Life Extension. (2016). Periodontitis and Cavities. See: http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/peandca.html

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Oral health: A window to your overall health. See: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475

Mercola, R.  (8/27/2016). For Optimal Health, Mind Your Oral Microbiome and Avoid Fluoride, Harsh Mouth Rinses and Amalgam Fillings. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/08/27/optimize-your-oral-microbiome-avoid-fluoride.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160827Z1_B&et_cid=DM117251&et_rid=1638888152

Parker, K. (2016). The Science Behind Ionic Toothbrushes. See: http://www.holistic-healing-information.com/ionic-toothbrushes.html

Whiteman, H. (2013). Alzheimer’s disease linked to poor dental health. See: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264164.php

Winick, R. (2016). Five Steps You Can Take to Naturally Promote Healthy Gums and Prevent Disease. Dentistry for Health NY. See: http://www.dentistryforhealthny.com/PromoteHealth




© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Oral Health and Overall Health


Numerous studies have identified three ways oral disease can affect the health elsewhere in the body:
  • Pathological bacteria in periodontal disease can enter the body’s circulatory system through inflamed gums and travel throughout the body. As these bacteria travel, they may cause secondary infections or contribute to a disease process already underway in other tissues and organs.
  • Pathological bacteria in the gums enter the saliva. Each time you inhale, you aspirate bacteria laden water droplets into your lungs, potentially causing pulmonary infections and pneumonia – a serious problem for the elderly and people with generalized weakened immunity. Inflammatory mediators called ‘cytokines’ found in inflamed gums can also enter your saliva. They too get aspirated into the lungs, where they have inflammatory effects on the lower airway, contributing further to pulmonary complications.
  • Inflammation associated with periodontal disease can stimulate a second systemic inflammatory response somewhere else in the body or complicate other disease processes originating from inflammation, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, orthopedic implant failure and complications of pregnancy. (Oral Systemic Connection, undated)
 A systemic inflammatory response can develop, weakening the entire immune system.

Illustrated by Zach Turner – Medical Illustrator – Blue Motion Studios LLC

Untreated tooth decay and gum disease can interfere with breathing, tasting, eating, swallowing, sleeping, speaking and language development and can contribute to emotional stress as well.  (Hein, 2012)
Pathological bacteria building up on the teeth make the gums prone to infection. The body’s immune system detects the infection and moves to attack it, causing inflammation in the gums. Over time, unless the infection is removed, the inflammation becomes chronic and releases chemicals that eat away at the gums and bone structure holding the teeth in place. Severe gum disease is called periodontitis and has deleterious effects throughout the body.  A recent study found that people with serious gum disease were 40% more likely to have a chronic condition as well. (Barker, 2014)

Oral Health and Diabetes

People with the metabolic disease diabetes have high blood sugar levels, either because the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or because cells don’t respond adequately to the insulin that is produced.  (Wikipedia, 2014)
Insulin is the hormone responsible for converting sugar into energy for the body. Periodontal inflammation in the mouth impairs insulin utilization and produces a two-way relationship in which high blood sugar provides ideal conditions for oral and other infections to grow. Fortunately, this means managing gum disease can help bring diabetes under control – and vice versa.  (Barker, 2014)

Oral Health and Heart Disease

Inflammation in the mouth and heart disease are often found together.  Approximately 91% of people with heart disease also have gum disease, compared to 66% with no heart disease. Inflamed blood vessels also allow less blood to get from the heart to the rest of the body, raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of fatty plaque breaking off a blood vessel’s wall and traveling to the heart of brain, causing a heart attack of stroke. (Barker, 2014)


Oral Health and Fetal Development

Premature and low birth weight infants often have serious health problems, such as lung and heart conditions, learning disorders. Poor oral health may play a role in this – infection and chronic inflammation seem to interfere with fetal development. (Barker, 2014)


Oral Health and Osteoporosis

Periodontitis erodes the jawbone while osteoporosis affects bone mass in the long bones of the body, yet studies have noted that women with osteoporosis have gum disease more often than those who do not.  The thinking is that inflammation triggered by chronic gum inflammation weakens bones in other parts of the body. (Barker, 2014)


Oral Health and Other Conditions

Other mouth-body interactions are also currently under study (Barker, 2014):
  •  Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treating gum disease has also been shown to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lung Conditions: Gum disease increase the amount of pathological bacteria in the lungs and may exacerbate pneumonia and chronic-obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Obesity: Studies have found that gum disease progresses more quickly in the presence of higher body fat.

Magnitude of the Problem