In this podcast, Dr. Nammy Patel explains the importance of oral health care. She outlines the basics you should always do, and then, she talks about how good oral health care can improve full body health.
John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health, and author of the best-selling books, Age with Style, Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living, and Total Wellness: Understanding the Link Between Your Teeth and Your Health.
Today, our topic is the importance of oral health, tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy mouth. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Thanks for having me, John.
Most Important Oral Health Habits
John: Sure. So Dr. Nammy, what are some of the most important factors in maintaining good oral health, and how can patients incorporate these habits into their daily routines?
Dr. Nammy: The most important factors for maintaining good oral health is flossing and brushing and scraping your tongue. Those are the key things. Actually, let me add one more, which is avoiding a bunch of marketing caca, mouthwashes that have a ton of alcohol, so let’s add that to our repertoire as well. Really honestly, it’s just really doing the basics and doing it really well.
John: Now, tongue scraping is something that a lot of people maybe don’t do. Talk a little bit about that and why you need to do that.
Dr. Nammy: Tongue scraping is really important because your body actually detoxes through the tongue, believe it or not. I feel like it’s super cool to realize when we actually did the innervation of the tongue, it is the most vascular area. So what that means is there’s a lot of blood flow through it. So, when there’s a lot of blood flow through the tongue… And if you lift your tongue up and go look in the mirror, you’ll see it.
You’ll see a bunch of arteries and veins right there. So, your body is actually releasing the toxins out because it needs an area to actually take them out. That’s why, for example, we sweat and things like that. So that when you tongue scrape, you actually remove all the bacteria or the excess bacteria that is in the mouth. And it’s super important to maintain a healthy microbiome.
Best Tongue Scraping Tool
John: And do you recommend a certain tongue scraping tool?
Dr. Nammy: My favorite, Dr. Tongues has a really good one. I tend to have the ones from India. They’re probably like, I don’t know, a dollar in India, or a rupee in India, which is probably close to like 10 cents. And it does not matter what you use. Even a toothbrush works just fine. It just depends on what feels comfortable for you. So, if you like a toothbrush, use a toothbrush. If you like a scraper, use a scraper, but just clean that tongue.
How to Avoid Oral Health Problems
John: And what are some common oral health issues that patients might face, and what are some steps that they can take to prevent and treat those problems?
Dr. Nammy: The most common, of course, we look at cavities and gum disease. For gum disease, the most important thing is flossing, using an electric toothbrush. Those are really, really, really key components. And avoiding mouthwash with alcohol, and things of that nature. And with cavities, it’s really using the wrong type of toothpaste, or having a lot of snacking all day long and then having an acidic environment in the mouth.
Those things will cause cavities. And those are really common things that we see. The other one that’s a real big nuisance for patients, honestly, is cold sores. They are horrific and painful. They are no fun. So if that happens, the best thing to do is… Usually, cold sores happen because you’re getting stressed out, or canker sores. Those are usually from stress. So number one, stress management, super important. The other is vitamin B. Vitamin B is wonderful at really helping with the cold sores. So, I would say those two things are really wonderful to be able to prevent.
The Role of Diet and Nutrition
John: Okay. And how can diet and nutrition impact your oral health? And what foods and supplements can help improve the health of your teeth and gums?
Dr. Nammy: My idea of nutrition is that I would rather not give you any supplements. My preference is that your microbiome or your oral cavity is self-sustainable. And the less pills I give you, the better it is. Honestly, if we keep it simple, which is really awesome, floss, brush your teeth, scrape your tongue, you can add coconut oil on your gums before you go to bed at night, nose breathe, those are biggest things that you can do that’s going to actually really have a big long-term effect on your mouth and your overall body.
I would say if there was something that I was going to recommend for you, the things that I would probably recommend would be, number one, I would recommend a prebiotic, which actually is like green smoothies and things like that. Those are really fantastic. There’s also a great oral lozenge called Prodentis, P-R-O-D-E-N-T-I-S. That’s really wonderful. You can use that twice a day. It’s just keeping the good bacteria in the mouth. And it’s like a nice breath mint, which is wonderful too.
And then, the other supplement that I would probably recommend is going to be nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is really great, because that’s what your body needs for anti-aging purposes, and also to fight cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, what have you. It’s the best way that your body can help protect itself. So those would be the two supplements that I would recommend if I had to. When you sustain a good oral microbiome, your gums and teeth will be healthy too. And that’s the reason I really focus on a good healthy oral microbiome through the probiotic that I recommended and also through the nitric oxide.
Importance of High Quality Dental Care
John: Okay. And how can patients ensure that they’re receiving high quality dental care? What role do regular checkups and cleanings play in maintaining good oral health?
Dr. Nammy: Maintaining your oral health is really important. Every three months is actually what I recommend to go to the dentist, every three to four months. The main reason for that is we’re now realizing more and more and more, as more research is coming out, how important the oral microbiome is. And the reality of life or the way that life works is that there’s always going to be good bacteria and bad bacteria, that’s just a given. And in fact, we need bacteria to live. We have them on our skin, we have them on our hair, we have them on our face, we have them everywhere.
And so, in the mouth it’s a little different, because we have the oral cavity, and we are swallowing five gallons of bacteria every day, because we’re swallowing five gallons of saliva every single day. So, it’s really important that the bacteria are balanced in the mouth. And there’s going to be things you can do at home, obviously, which is brushing, flossing, things like that. But really, as we realize the importance of the oral microbiome, and also nitric oxide, and also saliva, it’s really important to go in every three months so you can keep the healthy bacteria in place.
Why You Should Avoid Alcohol-Based Mouthwash
John: Is that why you don’t recommend mouth washes, because that indiscriminately kills all of the bacteria in your mouth, whether it’s good or bad?
Dr. Nammy: Yes, absolutely. When you have anything alcohol based, it is going to kill all the good and the bad, and we want to avoid that. We only want to kill the bad, let the good ones survive. And that’s what we really want is when the good ones live, everything stays in balance. It’s like the garden. When the weeds overgrow, you have a problem. But if you keep taking out the weeds and you garden on a regular basis, you don’t have a problem. You have a beautiful luscious garden that you can enjoy.
John: Right. But you wouldn’t just burn your whole lawn just to get rid of the weeds.
Dr. Nammy: Exactly, exactly.
John: Right. All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: Absolutely.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com, or call 415-433-0119.