By Michael Gelb, DDS, MS
Fascinating and new information about our brains is being uncovered at an unprecedented rate. Applying this research to our daily lives and routines, you can achieve a sharper mind, better working memory, and improved learning ability. And it starts with two surprising aspects of dental health.
The medical community is realizing that inflammation is the root cause of many illnesses. When the body is dealing with chronic inflammation, the brain suffers first. The brain requires a lot of energy to stay in tip-top shape, so if your body is struggling with factors that cause inflammation you’re likely to experience brain related issues, such as:
You can improve your day-to-day brain health by reducing your overall inflammation load, starting with targeting known causes. This is why your airway and oral health should be a priority.
Airway issues are a relatively new problem for our species. Over the past few decades our jaws have begun developing more narrowly and are recessed, making our profiles less pronounced. These structural changes have made it more difficult for us to breathe at night while we sleep. It’s the same reason so many of us have to have our wisdom teeth out.
Many patients I see have small airways, so their breathing is negatively affected. A small airway disrupts sleep breathing, causing systemic inflammation, and impairing important nightly repair and detoxification processes in the brain. When sleep-disordered breathing is corrected, inflammation is reduced and the brain functions well.
If you are struggling with issues such a brain fog or anxiety, you may want to consult an airway-focused dentist. Have your airway checked and do a home sleep test because an estimated 80 percent of the population is affected by airway issues.
Did you know that when you brush your teeth, pathogens are released in the blood? This is why some people with heart conditions have to take antibiotics before dental work. Every time you brush or receive dental care, oral pathogens are released and travel throughout the body, sometimes finding their way to the brain.
This is a startling realization for many. It’s an indicator that oral health must be taken seriously if we want to keep our brains healthy. If the oral pathogens are periodontitis-causing strains, they can wreak havoc on other systems and your overall health. Oral pathogens are associated with several diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you’re struggling with brain fog or other cognitive health issues, you should consider both oral pathogens and your airway. Opening the airway is one of the most important things you can do to reduce inflammation and improve brain health. It’s why addressing sleep-disordered breathing is a must in the protocol for fighting Alzheimer’s disease.
The mouth-brain connection is very real and very powerful. By addressing these two factors, you can make sure your mind is sharp throughout your entire life.
Michael Gelb, DDS specializes TMJ and Sleep and Breathing issues. He practices in New York City and White Plains, NY.
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