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Dr. Steven Lin debunks myths about dental health

Given the amount of knowledge we have about our teeth, and the fact that GIYF (Google Is Your Friend), it’s surprising how many misconceptions we still have about teeth. Dr. Steven Lin, author of The Dental Diet, visited the set of KTLA 5 Morning News to tackle some of our wrong assumptions.

1. Kids must have braces to grow up with good teethDr. Lin, who is based in Sydney, believes nutrition has a bigger impact on dental health than anything else. He admits there’s an increase in crooked teeth, calling it “the biggest health epidemic the human race has ever seen”. It has led to extensive developments in orthodontic braces, include our very own Invisalign, a set of ‘invisible braces’.

Dr. Lin suggests crooked teeth are actually a developmental problem. Kids eat industrial food that doesn’t allow their jaws to grow wide enough, so when their teeth erupt, they can’t fit so they get squashed and look crooked. These small jaw bones are caused by deficiencies of Vitamins A, D, and K2. He says poor spacing is a nutrition issue, not an orthodontic one. Feed your kids right and they won’t need braces.

2. Brushing and flossing are the best forms of repetitive dental careThe doctor compares brushing and flossing to washing a car that has mechanical problems. Instead of going to the car wash, he says, you need to look under the bonnet. Brushing and flossing treats the surface of the tooth, yet tooth decay comes from deeper down. Teeth rot when their tissues and nerve systems receive inadequate nutrients.

‘Bad food’ also causes bacterial imbalances in the mouth which promote tooth decay. Brushing and flossing are great, but they are superficial solutions. The best approach is to eat foods that maintain a healthy pH in your mouth, thus preventing tooth decay (and bad breath). Then you can maintain your healthy teeth with daily oral care.

3. Impacted wisdom teeth and crooked dental formulae are geneticKids with crooked teeth and young adults with misaligned wisdom teeth are all experiencing spacing issues. These issues come from improper nutrition, which leads to smaller jaws that can’t fit all their teeth. Dr. Lin says 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted in America every year. However, the jaw is made of muscle and bone so if we exercise them, they will grow.

By eating the right foods and chewing adequately, our jaw muscles can grow just like any other skeletal muscle set. Good foods for jaw growth include raw carrots, meat on the bone, and collagenous foods. We’ve taken these foods off our plates, and we need to put them back.

4. Bleeding gums are purely a dental problem. Rather than an oral health problem, bleeding gums are triggered by immunity issues. 80% of our immunity is controlled by our gut. Our stomachs are full of bacteria that communicate with our immune systems. When something goes wrong with those stomach bacteria, bleeding gums are one of the first symptoms.

To keep your gut happy, eat more vegetables, fibres, probiotic foods, and fermented products that are good for your microbiomes. That will stop your gums bleeding. The bacteria in our mouths are actually intended to stop tooth decay. Give them a healthy environment by eating the right food. This helps them do their work.
To dispel more dental health myths, or to get help for your dental issues, call our dentists in Parramatta on 02 8004 0055.

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