We are uncovering fascinating and new information about our brains at an unprecedented rate. Cutting edge protocols on preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are revealing steps we can take beyond preventing cognitive decline. We are able to take this research and apply it to our lives in order to achieve a sharper mind, better working memory, and improved learning ability.
You might be wondering why a dentist is talking about how to get a sharper mind. Well, research is clarifying concepts dentists have known for decades:
The mouth is the gateway to overall health.
In particular, two very important aspects of oral health are of particular interest for anyone looking to improve the sharpness of their mind.
- Airway function
- Oral pathogens that cause inflammation
The medical community is realizing that inflammation is the root cause of many illnesses. What that means for us is we can prevent a lot of conditions and improve our overall health (especially our brain health) when we reduce inflammation. So, It makes sense that to reduce inflammation, we should target known causes first. This is why your airway and oral health should be a priority.
When our bodies are dealing with chronic inflammation, the brain suffers first. Your 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:
- Brain fog
- Inability to distinguish subtle contrast in colors
- Poor memory
- Mental health issues
If you have chronic inflammation, there’s no doubt your brain is in some way suffering. You can improve your day-to-day brain health by working on different ways to reduce your overall inflammation load.
Breathe better and think better
Everyday I see patients who have small airways, so their breathing is negatively affected. I had one patient who had gone from doctor to doctor looking for the cause of her serious anxiety. Her general practitioner and other doctors couldn’t find the root cause of her fatigue, high heart rate, insomnia, and debilitating anxiety. Her psychiatrist diagnosed her with anxiety and prescribed her sleeping pills.
Sure, her symptoms seemed like they were a mental condition, but when I was working with her to fit her for a new retainer (because she had crushed her old one with her nighttime teeth grinding) I saw immediately that it was her airway that was causing her problems.
Her small airway was disrupting her sleep breathing, causing systemic inflammation, and impairing important repair processes that occur at night. Once we got her sleep-disordered breathing corrected, she experienced a reduction in all of her symptoms.
Airway issues are relatively new and unknown
The reason you probably haven’t heard of airway issues before is because they are a relatively new problem for our species. Over the past few decades our jaws have begun developing more narrowly and back, making our profiles’ less pronounced.
This has 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. If you are struggling with cognitive issues such a brain fog or anxiety, you should make an appointment with an airway focused dentist. Have your airway checked and a home sleep test done because it’s estimated to affect 80 percent of the population.
If your airway turns out to be a problem, there are numerous options for opening it for better breathing. Opening the airway is one of the most important things you can do to reduce inflammation and improve your brain health. It’s why addressing sleep-disordered breathing is a must in the ReCODE protocol for fighting Alzheimer’s disease.
Oral pathogens and your brain
Most people don’t realize this but teeth brushing is a relatively new concept. Our bodies aren’t used to the pathogens that are released in the blood by toothbrushing. This is why some people with heart conditions have to take antibiotics before dental work. Every time your brush, you release oral pathogens into your bloodstream.
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:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Diabetes mellitus
- Alzheimer’s disease
Oral pathogens have been found throughout the body, including in the brain. This is a startling realization for many. It’s an indicator that we must take oral health seriously if we want to keep our brains healthy.
Address your airway and oral pathogens and significantly improve your brain
Though it’s not mainstream knowledge yet, it’s no secret that airway and oral health are important for improving cognition. In the ReCODE protocol for stopping and reversing early cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s, dealing with sleep-disordered breathing due to a small or blocked airway is essential. Oral bacteria overgrowth are contributor to bodily inflammation and poor brain health. A good dental routine is also part of the Alzheimer’s disease protocol.
If you’re struggling with brain fog or other cognitive health issues, you should consider both oral pathogens and your airway. Bring up both concerns when you make your next appointment with your dentist. You should also consider making an appointment with a dentist who specializes in airway health.
I believe the dental community could help improve health overall by bringing attention to the vital connection between good oral health and overall health. Perhaps if we taught patients earlier in life how critical their airway and oral health is to their brain health, we would see fewer brain related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
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.