Oral Systemic Health

#215: Steven Lin, DDS: Gut Health, Breathing and the Oral Systemic Connection

by Deanna Mutzel, DC



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Dr Steven Lin is a board-registered dentist, writer, and speaker with work published in The Sydney Morning Herald and The British Dental Journal. He has also written for MindBodyGreen and About.com and given talks as part of the TEDx program.


Dr. Lin’s article on Weston A. Price https://www.drstevenlin.com/the-mystery-of-activator-x-a-confusing-history-of-vitamin-k2/

Related Nutrition Videos: Making Low-Carb Breads (That Are Actually Healthy)

Learn how to make Microbiome Friendly and Ketogenic breads, crackers and wraps:

Books Mentioned

The Dental Diet: The Surprising Link between Your Teeth, Real Food, and Life-Changing Natural Health

Sleep Strips by SomniFix – Advanced Gentle Mouth Tape for Better Nose Breathing, Improved Nighttime Sleeping, Less Mouth Breathing, and Instant Snoring Relief – Pack of 28

Six-Foot Tiger, Three-Foot Cage: Take Charge of Your Health by Taking Charge of Your Mouth


Show Notes

5:52 Crooked teeth are not genetic. Cranial/facial growth is a problem caused by what we feed our jaws and how we function. Nearly our entire population do not fit their teeth. We can intervene with young children before they lose their first baby teeth.

06:59 People with higher pallets have crooked teeth. The messages that you send to your jaw, especially the maxilla, upper jaw, determines how your jaw grows. These functional messages are from nasal breathing. This releases nitric oxide and expands the maxilla and nasal sinuses. Nearly every child today has a narrow V-shaped pallet. Ancestrally, our pallets were shallow, flat and U-shaped. A high pallet displaces your nasal sinuses. This deprives us of the ability to breathe through our noses.

08:22 Jaw development is also impacted by tongue function. The tongue needs to press against the pallet. Breastfeeding of an infant helps to expand the maxilla and pallet. We can expand the pallet even in adulthood.

09:54 Tongue position causes crooked teeth. When the tongue is low, their mouth is open and they are breathing through their mouth, it gives children a long narrow facial profile and crooked teeth. The Tongue is connected to the entire cranial/facial system at the base of the skull. It is connected to 6 or 7 cranial nerves

10:58  Expansion therapy is effective for adults of nearly every age. Face shape changes.  The maxilla and mandible remodel and the orbits remodel, leveling the eyes. The sphenoid bone, sitting behind the brain case, remodels, which changes the autonomic nervous system. This can help people with deep sleep issues. Big changes can happen in just 6 months’ time.  After age 12, bones are less malleable.

11:05 You can expand your jaw by pushing your maxilla with your tongue and breathing correctly. With mouth taping, some crooked teeth correct themselves. The tongue and the connection to the maxilla changes the shape of the throat and its connection to the larynx in the first 3 to 4 months of an infant’s life.

12:03 Extracting teeth takes away airway volume, also changing posture and facial profile. Braces will make your teeth look good, but the airway has not changed. The head forward posture helps to hold open the airway. With the change in posture, force is distributed differently and can lead to back, neck and lower back pain. They don’t sleep well. They don’t breathe well at night.

14:10 Seventy million Americans have a sleep disorder of some sort. Sleep apnea is linked to heart attack, blood pressure issues, Alzheimer’s and is a core issue with our neurological system.

17:42 The work of Weston A. Price was profound and prophetic, but not fully understood until now. Dr. Lin has written an article on this and the link is above.  Through Price’s work, Dr. Lin determined that the epidemic of malocclusion was a diet-related problem.

20:05 Price’s Activator X = Vitamin K2: It wasn’t until 2007 that Price’s Activator X was determined to be vitamin K2. K2 is linked to all of the factors of bone growth. It affects the cartilage development in the nose. As many as 20% of us have deviated a septum. During development, the nasal cartilage calcify because the body cannot manage its MGP proteins. The minerals are not being taken out of soft tissue. With a deviated septum, you cannot breathe through your nose, the beginning of malocclusion/crooked teeth. It is a vitamin K2 issue.

21:45 Ninety-nine percent of us do not get enough K2. K2 impacts growth signals and growth hormone in the body. It stimulates the release of testosterone.  A, D and K2 all work together. All of the standard dietary recommendations are wrong.

23:30 Nearly all chronic disease can be linked to the mouth. If your jaws do not develop properly, you are at risk of long term disease across the spectrum. Eighty-five percent of the people who have heart attacks, have gum disease. Gum disease develops over a lifetime and it is connected to the gut.

26:37 Dental care is healthcare, though it is not regarded as such. Dental treatment is expensive to provide and highly technical to provide. Dental treatment is 7 times as expensive as prevention. Treating end stage disease is our healthcare model.

28:05 Prevention starts at home. Every meal you eat, how your child functions and breathes, and how your family sleeps can create long term dental issues.

29:35 Your microbiome synthesizes vitamin K2. A mother’s fat soluble vitamin level is passed to the child through breast milk. Vitamin deficiencies are passed along as well. Breast milk seeds a child’s oral microbiome and then the gut microbiome. It is easy to intervene in the oral microbiome. Dr. Lin sees the oral microbiome as the body guard.

32:12 Vitamin K1 and K2 Vitamin K1 impacts your blood coagulation cascade. We are rarely deficient in K1. K1 converts to K2 in the body. K2 activates proteins that mineralize bones. A sign that you are not getting enough vitamin K2 is a buildup of plaque behind your two front teeth. This happens because your body cannot place calcium. Cardiologists now use a coronary calcium score as a marker of cardiovascular health. Arteries are calcifying because we are not appropriately directing the minerals

33:39 There are two types of K2.  MK-4 is from animal products. MK-4 is processed quickly by the tissue and will go to your testes and brain for cell messaging. MK-7 is bacterially derived, formed in the gut and from fermented foods. MK-7 travels to the liver and the bones. Both MK-7 and K1 convert to MK-4 in your body.

35:49 Every tooth has an immune system. You have the osteo immune system, which creates cells that become an odontoblast and sit in the dental pulp. They are activated and fueled by vitamin A and D. They spit out vitamin K activated proteins to formulate an immune response. They protect your tooth against the oral microbiome.

36:47 Dentin can repair itself, to a certain extent, though enamel cannot. It is a function vitamins A, D and K2. The most important thing a parent can do to prevent tooth decay in their kids is make sure they are eating a quality diet which provides vitamins A, D and K2.

38:00 Our judgements about facial beauty are really about assessing the other’s biological health. Dental health should be the model for shaping nutritional guidelines. If your body cannot maintain and manage your teeth and bones, you are in crisis.

39:42 Toothaches hurt so badly because your body knows that, ancestrally, you are having a life-threatening crisis.

40:18 Chronic illness and neurological issues need to be addressed at the mouth first.

41:45 Long-term mouthwash use increases the risk of pre-diabetes. By using a supermarket mouthwash, you are decreasing oral microbial diversity, impacting the ecology downstream. Type 2 diabetes has a characteristic gut microbiome. Fluoride and mouthwash are antibacterial. We hardly know anything about the oral microbiome.

43:46 Tooth decay is not a bacterial infection. Tooth decay the result of long-term dysbiosis caused by a nutrient deficiency impacting the workings of your immune system. We have the ability to defend against tooth decay. Dental plaque (biofilm) has a biological function. A probiotic species of bacteria build plaque to survive. This probiotic species in the mouth protect you from tooth decay. They inhibit the release of acids that inhibit strep mutans, one of the primary bugs that actives in tooth decay

44:40 Getting a dental cleaning for tooth decay is tantamount to taking your car with an engine problem to the carwash.

47:18 Airway dysfunction induces a stress response. Teeth grinding, digestive issues, depression, anxiety, poor sleep, cold hands/feet are symptoms of autonomic nervous system dysfunction. We have pressure sensors in our airways. When you go to sleep, your muscles relax. When you have increased pressure, your brain gets information that you are choking and kicks your brain into sympathetic mode. Most of us will not awaken when this happens, but we will pull our jaws forward. This often the cause of teeth grinding.

48:57 We only diagnose sleep apnea at its most severe form. It is now epidemic. The core problem is poor jaw growth. Upper airway resistance syndrome, where your brain gets signals from your airway pressure sensor that you are choking, is not captured on a polysomnograph.  .

49:33 Upper airway resistance syndrome: Often you will sleep on your stomach to open your airway. You might grind your teeth and/or have afternoon tiredness. Kids will have bags under their eyes. They will have a long face and sleep with their mouth open. Kids also won’t behave well. They are going through crucial brain development and their brain is starving of oxygen.

49:48 In the stages of deep sleep the blood brain barrier relaxes and lets the cerebral spinal fluid in to replenish and remove metabolites. In you are not getting into the deep stages of sleep and breathing deeply (engaging the autonomic/circadian rhythm), we get blood brain barrier dysfunction. With this, you cannot regulate your sleep/circadian rhythms. This leads to blood pressure issues and heart attacks. Long-term it leads to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

51:09 Bad breath or dry mouth in the morning shows that you are not breathing adequately, and there is a dysfunction in your microbiome. Not being able to breathe through your nose is a sign that you will not breathe well at night.

51:47 Daytime tongue posture, tongue to pallet, holds your airway open and strengthens your tongue muscles to keep your deep airway muscles activated while you sleep.

52:18 Our ancestors had an upright posture and large necks. They had strong active tongue muscles. Singing and humming with your tongue at the roof of your pallet, bring you into diaphragmatic breathing.

53:49 Make a video of yourself sleeping. You shouldn’t move at all while you asleep. There are apps that monitor how active you are when you sleep and use that information to track your levels of sleep. Restless leg syndrome is a symptom of upper airway resistance syndrome. The autonomic nervous system is in fight/flight. Blankets askew in the morning is a sign that you are not getting into deep levels of sleep.

54:54 You get nitric oxide when you breathe deeply through your nose. If you mouth breathe you don’t get it. The balance of nitric oxide in your body is crucial for mitochondrial health. We absorb less than half of the oxygen in the body if nitric oxide has not mixed with the air in the paranasal sinuses. Nitric oxide is a nutrient in itself.

57:11 Dr. Lin’s Morning Routine: He recently began morning fasting, augmented with Bulletproof coffee. He tries to do a deep breathing exercise and meditation. Eating lunch slows him down and is now fasting until dinner.

01:00:15 Ketogenic diet gives us a better relationship with fats. The neurological impacts are remarkable. Focus upon nutrient dense foods.

01:02:05 Dr. Lin’s desert island nutrient is vitamin K2. His favorite source is butter.

01:03:317 Dr. Lin’s elevator pitch is to build nutritional guidelines around the mouth and dental health.  Up to 40% of us have tooth decay. Over 75% of us have gum disease. Over 75% of us have crooked teeth/wisdom teeth impactions. These are all signs of other chronic diseases. Preventing dental disease is a primary way to prevent other conditions. Eating for healthy teeth fixes the entire system.






  1. Brilliant message. Enjoyed this reconfirmed message of Weston Price but taken forward with info on maxilla and how profound the impacts of this bony structure is on our everyday function and health. Despite many consults with the top functional med physicians and multiple different protocols I haven’t been able to conquer an inability to tolerate supp form k2 (MK7 or MK4) and as am dairy free with a soy allergy (no gouda, edam or natto) am stumped about how to get sufficient quantities of this superstar fat soluble Vitamin.

    Thank you Mike and Steven.

  2. I want to thank you so much for this interview. I am a mom of both a 13 and an 11 year old. I feel so fortunate to be able implement such (relatively) simple strategies for them that will impact their lives forever. This interview truly ties together the holistic approach to health. I will never look at the mouth in the same way again. I can’t wait to read the book.

    Thanks again….from Canada,

  3. Fascinating. This builds in all that we’ve been learning in the last few years so sounds very logical. I’ll try the basic mechanical things mentioned improve my breathing.

  4. Hello
    Love your podcast.
    Around 10 minutes before the end Dr Lin mentions someone that sounds like ‘Sasha Godneck’, and you both enthused over her sleep apnea work but I’ve looked and can’t find anyone of or resembling that name.
    Please could you clarify the name.
    Many thanks

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