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your look ● the smile dr
By Dr. Mark Falco
You might not actually know that
you’re suffering from a nutritional
deﬁciency, but a simple dental
exam can reveal plenty
G enetics inﬂuence a child’s growth and develop-
ment through interpretation of a parent’s DNA.
Did you know that the environment we live in
has a tremendous amount of inﬂuence on a
child’s growth as well? When developmental
problems occur during a child’s growth years, six major fac-
tors could have contributed to them. These are: 1) nutri-
tional deﬁciencies, 2) maternal substance abuse, 3) disease,
4) injury, 5) inadequate learning opportunities and 6) poor
socioeconomic status and living conditions.
Of these factors, nutritional deﬁciencies have been the
hardest to determine as a contributing factor, because there
are so many variables to any given condition, and only the
most severe deﬁciencies are detected early for treatment.
But nutritional deﬁciencies can eventually lead to diabetes,
heart disease, asthma and even cancer, albeit slowly over a
long period of time. There are so many variables because
there are only guidelines that exist for proper nutrition, but
not one of us is totally aware of what each of our body’s
need for optimum growth and development. Our bodies
take what they are given to eat and drink then manufac-
tures whatever it needs by whatever means possible. That’s
good, but not efﬁcient.
YOUR TEETH TELL ALL
Nutritional deﬁciency signs can be discovered through a
routine dental exam on a child. Dentists are not equipped
to treat these deﬁciencies, but we can aid in prevention and,
whenever possible, correct abnormalities that are indirectly
related to these deﬁciencies. Abnormalities due to nutri-
tional deﬁciencies in the mouth include dental cavities,
swollen and bleeding gums, and crooked teeth.
One of the most signiﬁcant body needs is oxygen. We
don’t think of it as a nutrient, but when we speak of nutri-
ent utilization by our bodies, adequate oxygen levels are
necessary to carry out these functions at the highest level.
If we don’t maintain good oxygen levels in our blood, we
run the risk of losing nutrients out of our body premature-
ly. We can lose normal oxygen levels for brief moments at a
time, extended periods at a time, or most all of the time.
Other than from a genetic trait, the condition of the
body during an illness, injury, disease, or other manifesta-
tion can determine if appropriate levels of oxygen in our
blood are maintained brieﬂy, for extended periods of time,
or most all of the time. The more we can keep levels at their
optimum, the more we can grow and develop normally with
the proper nutrition. Oxygen acts like fuel to create the en-
ergy to run all the body’s systems.
Secondly, and again not deﬁned as a nutrient, adequate
amounts of water are needed to move nutrients and their
byproducts through the chain of body functions. We get
thirsty because our body warns us of losing too much water.
We need water to balance the body’s equilibrium. When
not in equilibrium, the body reverts to sickness mode. The
sickness can be brief, extended or most all of the time. The
proper balance created by water aids in our recovery from
sickness, but also in the prevention of sickness. Water acts
like a lubricant to create the normal functioning of the parts
needed to run our body’s systems.
TAKING YOUR VITAMINS SERIOUSLY
Our bodies rely on vitamins and minerals for proper nu-
trition. A vitamin is an organic compound found in plants
and animals required for normal growth and nutrition in
small quantities that cannot be manufactured within our
bodies. A mineral is an inorganic compound required for