If you’ve ever tried to watch what you eat, you’ve probably tried more than one diet-curbing method. From food diaries to calorie counters, apps that remind you to drink water and watches that monitors your fitness levels, there are plenty of tools. While any healthy habit requires patience and discipline, most dietary tools are unreliable and inaccurate. But a new tooth-mounted sensor, invented by scientists at the Tufts University School of Engineering in Medford, MA, accurately gathers dietary data could help you watch what you eat.
The sensor is a tiny two-millimeter square and is flexible enough to adhere to the curved, textured surface of a tooth. Doctors and scientists have known for decades that a balanced diet is the key to a healthy life. Tools that can help people kick bad habits is of a growing importance to promote overall bodily health.
Holistic dentistry rests on this same principle, that our bodies and their different functions are all interconnected. This approach emphasizes that your teeth are an important functioning part of a system—and your entire body operates at its best when all its systems are working together. The tooth-mounted sensor could be a game-changer for holistic health.
How the Tooth-Mounted Sensor Works
The tooth-mounted sensor uses a bioresponsive layer to absorb and detect certain chemicals or nutrients in the foods or drinks that we consume, and in the chemical makeup of our mouths. The sensor can be programmed to pick up on certain data like sodium for example, or glucose. Its ability to detect certain chemicals and compounds is what allows it to “track” our diet.
The sensor could even report on stress levels, among other physiological states, by detecting certain chemicals in our saliva. Saliva is one of the most important restorative mechanisms the body employs. It replaces essential minerals to help teeth repair themselves when they’ve been compromised by acidic or sugary food and drink. Holistic dentistry leverages our body’s natural defense mechanisms, like the saliva remineralization process.
There are a few ways that this process can be interrupted or compromised. The first is proper hydration. Drinking enough water is important so the body can produce enough saliva for the mouth to remain hydrated but also functional. A diet rich in nutritious foods provides the body with the vitamins and minerals to create healthy saliva. Finally, sugar-rich foods feed destructive parasitic bacteria that prevents saliva from doing its natural defense duties.
The Future of Holistic Dentistry?
If the tooth sensor could monitor our hydration levels, our saliva salinity, and its ratio of good and bad bacterias, it’s possible that we could be one step ahead of declining oral health. The sensor could help curb damaging eating habits that contribute to poor oral health. Because saliva is also a natural antibacterial, the sensor may also be able to obtain accurate readings of a saliva’s effectiveness to help prevent the risk of gum disease.
While the tooth-mounted sensor still requires research to confirm its benefits, the invention is an exciting prospect for holistic dentistry. Any holistic dentistry approach will leverage the natural processes of the body while helping to eliminate negative influences and create positive lifestyle habits like a healthy diet.
At Top Down Dental, holistic dentistry is central to what we describe as our Top Down Dental approach. It helps us ensure your maximum health, both your oral health and your overall wellness. To talk to San Jose holistic dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian about your health and wellness, please call (408) 354-5600 for an appointment at Top Down Dental in Los Gatos.