Hormones and Your Health: What You Should Know from a Dentist Perspective

Posted on: August 17, 2016

DentistAs a dentist, we are intimately aware of the huge role that hormones play in your health, especially when it comes to weight gain or loss. While it is often easy to blame your hormones for your weight problems, and even your dental problems, your hormones can actually do a great deal for you if you are willing to take the time to learn how to properly work with your hormones to control things like weight. As a dentist who understands the direct relationship between your weight and the health of your teeth, I want to make sure that you know the best way to use your hormones, and their natural functions, to your benefit.

One of the most used, and frequently ignored, hormones that can influence your weight is testosterone.  While many men involved in body building and other athletics fully appreciate the fat burning capability of this hormone, women tend to be wary of this. However, even the smallest amount of naturally released hormone can do wonders for your weight loss. In fact, there is literally no better way to build a little muscle and reduce a great deal of fat than with just a little bit of the body’s natural testosterone. Since keeping your body weight down is good for your dental health as well, we strongly recommend that you lift something heavy at least once a day to help release testosterone and keep your weight under control.

The second hormone you need to be aware of, especially if you find yourself having the midnight cravings is leptin. Leptin is commonly known as the “feel-full hormone” because its primary function is to send a signal to your brain when you have had enough food. Unfortunately, many studies have found that women tend to have lower levels of this hormone which gives them the munchies. A lack of sleep is the main cause for a depletion of this hormone, and a rise in Ghrelin which increases the appetite. If you start to feel an excessive need to snack, it may be a sign that you are simply not getting enough sleep. The best way to improve your health habits, drop some extra weight, and keep your teeth in better condition (apart from visiting our dentist office) is to start getting a full night of sleep.

Finally, you need to start giving your food the opportunity to sustain you for longer periods of time. In order to do this, some basic anatomy knowledge is needed. When you eat food, your body releases three hormones. These are cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and peptide YY, better known as CCK, GLP-1, and PYY. These three hormones have a very specific function, and that is to slow down the movement of food through your digestive tract. The slower the food moves, the longer you feel satisfied which helps to prevent overeating or indulging in snacks that could be harmful to your weight and your teeth. A study from the University of Cambridge demonstrates that the best way to increase the activity of these gastric slowing hormones is to eat a diet that contains 20-25 grams of protein with each meal, especially breakfast. As a dentist, I know that lean protein is also good for your teeth so this is a win-win for your physical and oral health.

We invite you to discuss your health in greater detail when visiting our dental office.

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