215 Upper Richmond Road (Inside Daley Fitness), Putney, London SW15 6SY

Your teeth a window to your health!

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The eyes may be the window to your soul, but your teeth are very much a window into your health.

My wife is a Dentist (here) and I train a Dentist (here), so I know a lot of Dentists. In a moment of quiet time, I thought I’d leverage this resource and pick my wife’s brains on how your oral health can give the game away!

There are a number of things humans judge health and ultimately attractiveness on. The two main ones are:

1. Waist-hip ratio - for men and women

2. Teeth

Oral health is a major contributor to the perception of health and therefore attractiveness. Subconsciously we can tell so much from someones' mouth, dentists get to see really what’s going on and it’s hard to hide health issues in your mouth.

So what really affects your oral health and what can a dentist see that you can externally hide with good grooming and makeup?

Here are some common issues -

Fad diets - Tooth wear, erosion, bone issues, plaque - case in point the Beyonce diet (maple syrup and coffee is really going to knacker your tooth enamel and leave you with cavities not to forget ketone breath)

Dentists may ask you about your sugar consumption and what you say may be a lie (or bending the truth) but looking at your mouth it is easy to spot erosion, cavities and if left, others notice too. Dentists can often tell before anyone else, people who frequently follow fad diets, and sadly sometimes these people look immaculate but have problems when you look in their mouths.

The truth is we can look good on the outside by camouflaging the signs of poor choices (smoking, fad diets, starvation, high sugar intake, bulimia, alcohol consumption by fake tanning, using makeup, breath freshener, perfume. Those professions where your image is part of the job are particularly at risk (models, actors) but more and more men are affected in a society that is increasingly image conscious.

The reality is that we could look good in passing but in the gym, underlying issues could be masked such as low lean muscle, bone density (osteoporosis), low energy levels and high levels of fatigue - on top of this you feel rubbish and it cannot be sustained

If you’re a fizzy drink diehard, your teeth are the battlefront. Even sugar-free carbonated drinks are shown to leach calcium out of bones and change the acidity of the mouth.

Gum disease causes bad breath which in turn tells a dentist about your diet and gives insight into issues with your metabolism and predisposition to heart disease and diabetes. Interestingly dogs are now being trained to detect cancer by smelling your breath with a great deal of success.

Teeth reveal a lot about you. Dentists see a lot of people who have a love-hate relationship with their body. This could be enjoying excess (smoking, drinking, comfort eating) to extreme dieting methods.

London, an epicentre for people who live to work, and work at an intensity which is at the expense of health, produces a larger number of patients who grind their teeth - a sign off stress, anxiety and over-working.

So what are the risks of poor oral hygiene?

  • Gum disease - Dentists never get a truly healthy individual with bad teeth.
  • Finding a partner - Teeth are a mark of attractiveness and good health
  • Your dentist can be a first line of awareness to help control diabetes - when diagnosed early, it's easier to control if you control gum disease. Gum disease can be an early warning of susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.
  • Stress shows up in the mouth - clenching in the daytime - 20% of London adults are affected - more than in other part of the country - surprise, surprise
  • Vitamin deficiencies - iron, folate
  • Inflammatory bowel disease- Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis
  • People with gum disease are more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Dementia - linked to obstructive sleep apnoea "snoring"
  • Snoring is linked to grinding of teeth at night time - about 8-10% of the population are affected
  • Heart attacks - poor cardiovascular health is linked to untreated gum disease - even when other socioeconomic factors are excluded

Sport Performance

Other than looking good and maintaining your health what are the athletic benefits of seeing the dentist?

It has been shown that a correct bite (occlusion) has been shown to improve athletic performance.

Healthy teeth and gums = healthy individual, which means more performance. Your true athletic potential is not a consequence of pushing harder than the competition it’s about building the most balanced, healthy body that which allows you to practice the skills at a high level and intensity and that means you can recover fast to do it consistently!

What Advice can we take away?

  • Read labels, make a note of food's sugar content.
  • Eat whole foods -meal replacement last option, if too good to be true then it’s probably not good for you
  • Don’t drink carbonated drinks to fill up.
  • Diet drinks just as acidic - same pH as normal coke - drink plenty of water if you are thirsty. Move away from ‘treating yourself’ with fizzy drinks.
  • See a hygienst every 3-6 months and your dentist every 6-12 months at least- it’ll cost less in the long run as they will help to prevent problems before they begin and in dentistry prevention is always better and cheaper than cure.

Dietary recommendations:

  • No carbs between meals
  • Brush first thing before breakfast not afterwards, (salvia becomes acidic, encourages tooth decay)
  • Floss once a day - floss before you brush - you get a better clean and it makes you form the habit of doing this every day because you can't forget
  • Brush last thing at night and try to not to eat or dink anything acidic or containing sugar for two hours before bed time

Your dentist is a key part of your health team. See them as part of your team, alongside your doctor. Working with them means that when you start working with Hounds of Health we can build on a healthy foundation to give you the tools to fit health into every day, eat for fatness and hit your fitness goals in the healthiest way.

Paul Bassett & Dr Liz Bassett

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