The Nine Essentials of Health #7: Brush and Floss!!!

You can decrease the chances of everything from the common cold to a heart attack by brushing and flossing twice a day at least.

What in the world does a chiropractor know about brushing teeth and flossing gums?  Enough to know that everyone of us should brush and floss twice a day.  I have a set of teeth and gums, like you do (hopefully).  I learned the value of brushing and flossing way back in kindergarten, when the local dentist visited our class and had us chew on red pills that stained my teeth and showed us where plaque lived (for me, it looked like it lived all over my mouth).

Remember this early childhood trauma?

As I aged and became a carefree teenager (yeah, right..), I was the hapless recipient of six years’ worth of braces.  I learned the value of keeping my gums free of food particles through the horror of bleeding gums and bad breath.  For me as a teenager, the thought of my peers thinking I had nasty breath and gross gums was enough to make me convulse.

As I aged into my twenties and thirties and became increasingly interested in health living, I learned that diet has a lot to do with oral health.  There was a dentist named Weston Price who founded and chaired the research institute of the National Dental Association (which became the American Dental Association) from 1914-1928.  In in 1939, he wrote a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, in which he details his research of  tooth cavities and gum degeneration among cultures all over the world, with particular emphasis on their diets and nutritional intake. In his book, he correlates our adoption of processed fats and carbohydrates in our Western culture to not only tooth and gum decay, but many health problems in our society.

Weston Price

He also emphasizes in the book that the proper structure of the face during human development – influenced by proper nutrition – lends itself to the health of the body, because when the jaws develop properly the teeth have room to grow in the mouth. There is an organization called the Weston Price Foundation, founded in 1999, that advocates a farm-to-table dietary lifestyle, inclusive of animal fats and fermented vegetable proteins (for more information, visit

Dr. Price’s ideas are controversial in the dental and medical professions, but to me, as a chiropractor, they make sense (in chiropractic philosophy, whether you are a vegetarian or an omnivore, living and eating as closely to nature as possible makes sense).  In any case, any dentist will tell us that, unless we brush and floss at least twice a day, food gets stuck in the little nooks and crannies of our mouths.  The food breaks down thanks to bacteria in your mouth.

The foods we eat is also food to the bacteria; and we need the help of bacteria to break down the food in our mouths.  However, food is not supposed to stay in our mouths.  Our mouths are only the first stop along a long an adventurous trek through our digestive systems, all the way to our anuses and bladders.  Like any life form, bacteria proliferates where there is a favorable environment full of a steady food source.  So if we don’t brush or floss, this bacteria, whose job is to break down food into proteins, begins to break down our gums and teeth because – hey – they are made of protein!  Our gums and teeth are comprised of living protein, but when they get prolific and aggressive enough, they will kill our living protein to make food for themselves! Bacteria are very adaptable.

As the degeneration continues, the bacteria find their way to our blood systems through oral capillaries and tiny vessels.  Like a river, they find their way to the source, and get into the major arteries and veins and travel all over the body.

What do we know about allergies?  Allergies are immune responses to what the body considers are dangerous pathogens. Through their action, they cause inflammation of our mucus membranes, but they also cause inflammation everywhere they think there is a problem.

Our blood goes to almost every system of our bodies.  If our blood system is rampant with bacteria from our mouths, bacteria whose job is to break down proteins, living or dead, the immune system sets itself on overdrive to kill bacteria globally throughout the whole body.

Hello, allergies!  Hello, “fibromyalgia!” Hello, colds and flu!  Hello, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)! Hello, arthritis!  Hello, lung and heart disease! Hello, kidney and liver disorders! Hello, mysterious nerve disorders like multiple sclerosis (which is a symptom of a problem, not a disease, as I will detail in a later blog post). Hello, emotional disorders caused by interference to the endocrine systems via the nervous systems!

Here’s the gist of life, folks, if you haven’t already noticed from all these posts: everything we do matters.  The small stuff is the stuff that matters most.  Grandiose events that aren’t fatal, like car accidents and eating something we shouldn’t have eaten while on vacation, aren’t the problem.  The body can and will heal very nicely from these events if given the proper environment.  The stuff we do for our bodies every day – eating right; exercise; stretching; sleep; meditating; flossing; brushing; —  gives the body a fighting chance to heal itself when these things occur.

When we let these simple necessities go, nature will find a way to eliminate our chances of survival.  Making the right choices for our bodies is a necessity; not an option.  Nature favors those who show up for duty every day and do what they need to do for themselves every day.

We can’t hope to run a marathon when we’ve been sedentary for weeks and months. We can’t expect to live a happy, healthy life if we refuse to do the things we need to do to prepare for a happy, healthy life.

We have to be vigilant every day in every way.  It is not a chore to make the right choices every day if we love and honor our bodies and ourselves.  Putting what is necessary off until “tomorrow,” and the next day and the next, is condemning ourselves to an early, painful death.

It takes very little time to brush and floss.  Twice a day, morning and night, is minimum duty.  Also, go visit your dentist twice a year, for goodness sake.  I prefer holistic dentistry, but most dentists agree on the important health matters, so go to your favorite.

By the way, be critical of your fluoride use.  I’m not going to go full into it here – I’ll address this topic more in my next post, The Nine Essentials of Health #8: Drink Plenty of Filtered Water A Day.  Sufficed to say, read credible material on all sides of the argument as to whether or not fluoride use is a good choice for you.  Personally, I say no – but you have to make your own choice on the matter.

Until next time, good health!

Truthtime question:  When is the last time you flossed?


About Dr. Claire

CLAIRE FITZPATRICK is a Doctor of Chiropractic in New York City. Her specialty is helping women and men aged 30-55 eliminate signs and symptoms of early aging. She is owner of JOY! Health and Bodyworks, LLC a holistic, integrative network of holistic practitioners who specialize in health issues related to early aging. She is the author of the ebook, "The Nine Essentials of Health: A Must Have Guide for Healthy Living."

Posted on 12/28/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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