A hidden epidemic is lurking inside our mouths and the dental industry is finally waking up to it, according to a holistic health advocate.
Dr Ron Ehrlich, co-founder of Sydney Holistic Dental Centre and host of podcast Unstress recently spoke to author Dr Sandra Kahn about her new book Jaws: The story of a Hidden Epidemic.
In her book, Dr Kahn said that 95 per cent of the population had insufficient room for all 32 teeth and that it is influencing more than just our teeth.
Dr Ehrlich told Wellness Daily that having a squashed mouth had flow on effects that many people had never connected before.
“The significance of not having enough room for all teeth means you've got narrow mouth, which means you’ve got a narrow upper airway, which means you’re pre-disposed to sleep disorder and breathing problems, daylight breathing problems, upper respiratory infections, postural problems and a whole lot of other issues that no one has ever connected,” he said.
Dr Ehrlich said part of the problem with exposing the hidden epidemic was that it had become so ubiquitous.
“Literally 95 per cent of the population in western culture do not have enough room for all 32 of their teeth that they have evolved to have. That means they have crowded teeth and narrow jaws,” he said.
Like most issues with the body, the answer comes down to nutrition and Dr Ehrlich said the thinking behind nutrition needed to change.
“As a general principle, we should focus on a nutrient-dense diet. By nutrient-dense we need to incorporate healthy fats and we have demonised fats for the last 50 years and that’s been to our detriment.”
The importance of fats, like butter and olive oil, was to allow for essential vitamins to enter the system which play a part in mineral absobtion, said Dr Ehrlich.
“Unless you have those fat-soluble vitamins, you will not absorb your minerals and that leads on to poor mineral absorption, which effects bone health and tooth health,” he said.
Dr Ehrlich said that the dental industry was slowly recognising the role that the mouth plays in overall health.
“Dentistry in the 21st century has come to recognise that there is a role to play in the shape of the mouth as to how well you might breathe,” he said.
It is still an emerging area but Dr Ehrlich said he wouldn’t be surprised if soon we all looked more seriously at our mouths.
“You will always have the early adopters and the bulk of the profession will take a little longer to catch, but it is happening,” he said.