We MUST Live in a Petri Dish
Our Immune System

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 4, 2020 [printfriendly]


We MUST Live in a Petri Dish


I get up early every morning. Even before taking a shower and making my coffee, I turn on the TV to my favorite newscast. Some would say that turning on my TV is the worst thing I could do. But I want to be informed – even if there is so much bias and hype out there in the media.


So, this morning I woke around 6AM and first tuned into my favorite live broadcast. The seasoned anchor said, “We certainly don’t want to put our kids back in school because school is like a petri dish.”


My guy was referring to children being exposed potentially to the COVID-19 virus in a closed-in, body-to-body contact area of a bunch of kids. Kids who are sneezing, drooling, touching their noses, and touching one another are prime carriers and spreaders of infectious diseases.


Did this morning journalist mean that we should put our kids instead in a sterile bubble to prevent the spread of all contagious diseases? Where do you fall on the continuum between living in a sterile sphere and comingling with highly contagious people?


Let me stop you here. I am not in favor of putting my child, my wife, myself, or anyone in a contained area of people who are highly contagious with a deadly disease. Common sense must prevail. Extremes generally are not the answers on either end of the pendulum.



Human Physiology

We must understand human physiology and our DNA blueprint. The human body learns over time to biologically defend itself from specific contagious diseases. One essential way is by being exposed to microbes with varying degrees of virulence that are all around us all the time. This is as it has been since the beginning of time.


During this time of the pandemic, we have to allow our medical scientists to develop a means to destroy the COVID-19 virus. At least they need to make it less contagious and destructive to our body.


But we must become proactive to improve our natural disease fighting capability. Our future health depends on this. The solution for health and wellbeing has never been a pill or a shot. That would be treating the symptoms but never addressing the causes.


Our natural defense mechanism against contagious diseases is our immune system. We were created and have evolved over thousands of years to survive and thrive. No one could survive if our immune system did not exist, or if our immune system was ineffective at fighting infectious diseases on its own. We can only thrive if this system is functioning at peak efficiency.


We eventually develop a strong immune system by being exposed to the world around us. If we lived in a sterile dome, our immune system would never learn to defend us from all the microbes from which we are exposed every minute of every day. Each of us will survive only because each of us has successfully been exposed to antigens slowly over time.


“SLOWLY” is the operative word. Being thrown continuously into a sea of deadly and contagious microbes will overwhelm the immune system and could cause death. But slowly becoming exposed in our germ-infested environment will build our defenses and develop our immunity over time. Our innate and adaptive immune system will learn correctly to mobilize our internal armed forces, which are collectively called our immune system.



Our Immune System

Most of us have an inefficient and dysfunctional immune system. How can I say that? Statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest we are generally unhealthy: 60% of US adults have a chronic disease; 70% of American deaths is caused by a chronic disease; and 72% of our population is overweight. Our society is drowning in an epidemic of chronic illness. These facts are the results of an immune system that is not doing its job. Our immune system is compromised and ill prepared to fight for our life.


About 70-80% of our immune system resides in our gut. The cells of the immune system and the gut bacteria regulate and support one another. If the garden of healthy gut bacteria becomes overgrown with harmful bacteria, then the balance between the gut bacteria and the immune system can become severely compromised. In addition, if the gut barrier membrane becomes damaged, unhealthy toxic substances will leak out from the gut lumen into the blood system. The toxic reaction in the bloodstream is called metabolic endotoxemia, which then leads to chronic system inflammation. This spread of inflammation throughout the body via the circulatory system could lead to the manifestation of various chronic and autoimmune diseases.


Our complex immune system is made up of two active mechanisms working in tandem: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.


Innate Immune System: The innate system is activated quickly whenever a foreign substance is detected in our body.  The defense mechanisms include physical barriers such as the epithelial barrier of the gut, chemicals in the blood, and immune system cells that individually attack foreign elements entering the body. The innate immune response is immediately activated by an invader’s specific chemical properties, called antigens.


Adaptive Immune System: The adaptive system is an antigen-specific defense mechanism. Once an antigen is detected, processed, and recognized, the adaptive immune system creates an army of immune cells specifically designed to attack that antigen. In addition, a unique and highly effective response by the adaptive immune system is to store “memory” cells for that specific antigen. Memory cells create “immunity” for future attacks from that exact antigen. If our body is attacked again by that invader, memory cells will create an onslaught of antibodies that will go to work against that antigen.


So, it is vital for the gut to be healthy in order to have an efficient and effective immune system.



Enhancing the Immune System

Diet and lifestyle choices affect the health of the gut, and therefore affect the health of the immune system. We must enhance our immune system by making necessary choices. Here are seven specific actions under our control that we must understand and strive to accomplish:


  • Eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods
  • Restoring and maintaining a healthy gut
  • Acquiring restorative sleep
  • Performing efficient exercise
  • Reducing emotional stress
  • Exposing our skin to sufficient sun exposure for the production of natural vitamin D (or consuming supplements if necessary)
  • Cleaning our mouth properly


It is critical for our survival to avoid continuous, highly contagious, potentially life-threatening pathogens. It is also critical for our survival to have a robust, efficient, and effective immune system. Our petri dish, which is the world around us, is part of the teaching mechanism that allows our immune system to defend itself. Our diet and lifestyle provide the essential elements to allow our immune system to do its job.


Taken all together, this is the path to health and longevity. We owe it to our body to be proactive.



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Return From The Edge

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

March 16, 2020 [printfriendly]


Return from the Edge


At this time with the coronavirus pandemic upon all of us, my Unconventional Cancer Protocols are even more critical for me to follow. I am in the highest risk category for this virus to cause me harm. I’ve already returned from the edge of death. Now I am striving to stay ahead of this mysterious and potential killer virus.


My Return from the Edge

At 10 PM on August 21, 2019, I was at home brushing and flossing my teeth in my bathroom. I turned to my left to throw the used floss into my trashcan. My right foot was planted on my bathroom floor. As I twisted ninety degrees to my left, I heard a snap. In that instant, I fractured my right femur in half and collapsed onto my floor’s ceramic tile. Pain was excruciating! I screamed for my wife who was in the other room. Crumpled on my bathroom floor, I believed that the edge of death was near. My diagnosis in September 2018 was incurable bone marrow cancer called IgA Kappa Light Chain Multiple Myeloma. And I knew I already had outlived my oncologist’s original prognosis by six months.

EMS arrived within minutes and transported me to the ER.

I understood after being diagnosed that my skeleton was fragile, but I had no idea how fragile I was. Still, I was progressing well since my diagnosis while following my unconventional cancer protocols to maintain a quality of life. Then came this disaster in my bathroom.

My right femur broke like a chicken bone; 2 right ribs were broken, and my right humerus was fractured in half. I was heavily sedated. The surgeons repaired my right femur because the bone fragments could have pierced my femoral artery. My right humerus was left unset. A couple of days later, I was transported to a Hospice facility to die. I was at the end of my life.

To make matters worse, a hurricane was bearing down on Charleston, SC, on September 4, 2019. My city was preparing for a direct hit, and the Hospice facility was ordered to evacuate. The hospital had no place to send me; so, my wife scampered to find a hospital bed to be delivered ASAP to my house. I was then transported by ambulance to my home.

Basically, I was immobile, catheterized, requiring a bedpan, and lying in a hospital bed in my living room. My level of narcotic sedation made me constipated and groggy. When the hurricane hit, the power in my area went out for about 12 hours. Hospital beds are electric; so, now the bed was immobile too. No lights, no air conditioning, no phones – everything was working against me.


On the Mend

My wife, immediate family, and a few hospice nurses helped me at home. Once the hurricane passed, I had to make a decision – would I stay in Hospice or would I fight to survive? And I needed to get off all sedation meds.

My wife is an amazing woman. As an intensive care nurse, she knew of death and how to deal with those at death’s door. She saved my life. Her strength and determination helped me realize I could recover. My wife was the light at the end of the tunnel. She helped me return from the edge of death.

She arranged for an in-home nurse and a physical therapist to change my path from dying to healing. Within weeks I was able to get out of bed and then get rid of that damn catheter. My wife also helped me wean off all narcotics and related meds. By the end of September, I returned to my cancer protocols to heal my body.

With the help of my in-home physical therapist, I also was able to walk using a “rollator” not only inside my home but also outside. My recovery was rolling along amazingly well.

My oncologist was surprised and pleased with my recovery. In early October 2019, he suggested I consider two immunotherapies recently approved by the FDA for multiple myeloma, which I researched and incorporated into my cancer protocols. These were not chemotherapy drugs. They were targeted human-derived monoclonal antibodies to strengthen my bones and destroy my malignant plasma cells. Innovative medicine meets natural healing.

Then on October 16, 2019, I had another major setback when I fractured the lesser trochanter in my left femur. However, it was not as severe as my fracture in August. To help heal and recover from this fracture, I entered in-hospital physical therapy and did well. For the most part, I am a miracle on the mend both physically and mentally.


A Work in Progress

Shortly after recovering from my left femur fracture, I learned about the benefits of a Carnivore Diet for cancer patients. Once again, I delved into the science. Published case studies described how the Carnivore Diet could help patients with incurable cancers to heal. That was enough for me. So, on January 1, 2020, I changed my diet from an autoimmune Paleo-type diet to the Carnivore Diet.

I am a living example of an unfolding experiment. And I am a work in progress. All my previous events guided me to where I am today. My current blood chemistries and CBC are encouragingly positive. Specific blood tests to evaluate my malignant plasma cells also are showing significant improvement. My hope over the next few weeks is that this bone marrow cancer may go into remission. From there, who knows? I even might be able to eventually claim, “I am cured!”

As I stated at the beginning of this article, I am one in the highest risk category for the coronavirus. Importantly, I took a test two weeks ago to determine if I have increased intestinal permeability in my gut barrier membrane. “Increased intestinal permeability” is also known as a “leaky gut”. In my opinion, this is a vital test because a leaky gut is the gateway for chronic systemic inflammation and a compromised immune system. Chronic systemic inflammation and a compromised immune system are factors in the development of cancer as well as many other chronic diseases. One of the critical arenas for health, which my cancer protocols address, is the gut. Specifically, the gut’s microbiome, its mucus layer, and outer epithelial barrier must be functioning efficiently. If there is damage to my epithelial barrier, then my immune system would be compromised. I must have total control over this contingency.

The test is called the PEG 400 Permeability Test, which is not available in the US but is available in the UK as well as in Hungary. I used BioLab Ltd[1] in England for the test. I’ll have the results in another week or two, and I will write a Blog about the test, its interpretation, and my path going forward.

Physically, my life has turned around. I’m walking outside about one mile every other day. I’m also doing half-squats and modified pushups. And I’ve been able to walk up my stairs to the room-over-the-garage where I am able to use my NordicTrack Cross Country Skier once a week. I’m not going to win any athletic medals, but I am getting to move my body in healthy ways.

Based on what my oncologist tells me, there is no other patient with multiple myeloma who has done what I have done with my unconventional cancer journey. I’ve often said that I am a study of N=1. Perhaps my protocols have been successful because they provide a “shotgun approach” to get my body prepared to heal overall. My cancer protocols enhance various vital activities of my body: efficient nutrition and digestion, gut health, immune support, bone metabolism, and mitochondrial repair. I offer a PDF of my most updated cancer protocols to anyone who would like it. If you would like a copy, email me (Dr.Danenberg@iCloud.com). Caveat: My Cancer Protocols have never been proven to cure cancer. My personal research suggests that these protocols may have a positive effect on my body’s ability to heal itself. I make no other claims except this is what I am doing for myself.

[1] https://www.biolab.co.uk/docs/peginst.pdf


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Mouth Ulcers
some get them; some don’t

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

March 2, 2020 [printfriendly]


Mouth Ulcers


Hippocrates was a Greek physician who lived over 2000 years ago. Today, he is known as the “Father of Modern Medicine”. Reportedly, he succinctly stated: “All disease begins in the gut.” And most often, mouth ulcers can be traced back to problems in your gut.[1]

It is critical to realize that the mouth is not an island unto itself. Whatever happens to one cell in the body ultimately can affect every other cell in the body. As a matter of fact, the mouth may be one of the first visible areas of the body which can show signs and symptoms of many systemic diseases.


Your Gut

Your gut has more beneficial bacteria than you have human cells in your body – about 38 trillion bacteria cells and about 30 trillion human cells. The microbes in your gut perform so many tasks that help you survive and thrive. The bacteria stimulate and enhance the immune system, prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, manufacture various vitamins, and produce short-chain fatty acids from the fermentation of various amino acids and dietary fibers.

Short chain fatty acids are vital to your health. They are a source of energy for the cells making up the wall of the colon (colonocytes). They assist in sugar metabolism, curb your hunger, and help with weight loss. In addition, short chain fatty acids improve the absorption of minerals, reduce systemic inflammation, and improve overall intestinal health. All this is accomplished by the short chain fatty acids that are created by the beneficial garden of bacteria that live in your gut.

But what would happen if these bacteria got out of balance and bad guys began to overgrow?


Gut Dysbiosis

The result, which is called “gut dysbiosis”, would be havoc. Havoc in the gut, havoc in the blood system, and havoc in your mouth and other areas throughout your body.

Harmful cascading events occur when there is gut dysbiosis.

The epithelial barrier, which is the outer wall of the gut, starts to break down. This barrier is made up of only one cell layer. These cells are held together by “tight junctions”, which are like hinges that hold a door in place. These “tight junctions” become weakened when there is gut dysbiosis and become unhinged, creating opening between cells. Stuff in the gut that should never leak into the blood system starts passing through these unhinged openings and contaminating the blood system. This is called a “leaky gut”.

At the same time, the unhealthy growing mass of gut bacteria stimulates the immune system leading to an explosion of inflammation. If gut dysbiosis is not treated quickly, the inflammation continues and spreads throughout the body affecting every cell and organ system in the body.

Chronic diseases and autoimmune diseases have their origin in this untreated and unhealthy gut. Some of the specific diseases associated with gut dysbiosis are ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, allergies, systemic lupus erythematosus, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, food intolerances, cancer, periodontal disease, and mouth ulcers – just to name a few!


Mouth Ulcers and Lesions

Have you had sores on your tongue, sores on the inside surface lining of your cheeks, sores on your gum tissues, or sores in the corners of your mouth? Many of these ulcers and lesions are painful. Some are red and inflamed, some look like white lines, some appear to be clear “pimples”. But all are signs of your body reacting to something going wrong in your immune system. Most of the time, gut dysbiosis is the source of these disturbances. These ulcers and lesions have different names. Examples are aphthous ulcers, angular cheilitis, glossitis, lichen planus, etc. These ulcers and lesions may heal and disappear if the health of the gut is restored.



To heal mouth ulcers and lesions, which have resulted from a disturbance in the healthy garden of bacteria in the gut, the gut must be healed. To do this, whatever factors that caused gut dysbiosis also must be understood and corrected. If the causes are not identified and removed, then the gut could never heal.

For example, if you had a splinter in your finger, the area could not heal until the splinter was removed. Likewise, if there are irritants or “splinters” causing your gut to become unhealthy, there would be no way to return to a healthy gut until all the “splinters” were eliminated.

The gut microbiome and the epithelial lining of the gut become damaged from many different irritants. Some of these irritating influences are:

    • Stresses on the body (including emotional, physical, or chemical)
      These could be serious but unrecognized causes. A significant chemical stress to the gut is glyphosate herbicide (Roundup) that damages the DNA in human cells; inhibits the growth of healthy bacteria, and directly causes leaky gut. In addition, stress to the immune system from metal ions leaking from titanium implants placed in the body and chemicals leaking from breast implants can cause chronic systemic inflammation, damaging the gut microbiome. Also, failing dental work; toxic dental materials; and oral infections in the gum tissues, teeth, and jawbone could be significant factors.


    • Other lifestyle and environmental stresses to the body
      Included are heavy metal toxicity, over exercising, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation and sleep apnea, continuous exposure to dirty electromagnetic fields, excessive blue-light exposure especially in the evening, smoking, alcohol consumption, and lack of proper sunlight that is essential for the production of vitamin D3.


    • Processed foods
      Overly processed vegetable and seed oils, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats and oils, packaged prepared foods, processed sugars and carbohydrates, or other junk and chemicals in foods will have a harmful effect on the gut.


    • All plant foods
      Plants have the potential to irritate the gut by way of their anti-nutrients. Substances like phytates, oxalates, and lectins that exist in plants could damage the gut bacteria and intestinal barrier. Eliminating all plant foods for a period of time could assist the gut in healing itself. Then, plant foods could be reintroduced individually and slowly later. The Carnivore Diet could be used as an elimination diet to allow the gut to heal.


    • Specific medications
      Over-the-counter and prescription medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, alcohol, narcotics, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, hydrogen peroxide, and birth control pills could result in leaky gut.


    • Low dose ionizing radiation
      X-rays have a cumulative harmful effect. In our society, excessive dental and medical x-rays over the course of time can cause damage to the gut bacteria and the epithelial lining.


At the same time that irritants to the gut are removed or avoided, the healthy garden of gut bacteria must be restored, and the gut epithelial barrier must be repaired. I have prepared two PDFs that I give to my patients: Dr. Danenberg’s 30-Day Transition to the Carnivore Diet and a Protocol to Restore Normal Gut Bacteria.


From Me to You

Recently, I was asked to write a chapter for a peer-reviewed medical textbook tentatively titled, “Digestion, Metabolism and Immune Health”. My chapter is titled, The Etiology of Gut Dysbiosis and its Role in Chronic Disease”. It will be one of 25 tentatively scheduled chapters for the book. My chapter has been accepted by the publishers. The tentative date of publication is the end of 2020 or early 2021. However, I have prepared an extensive paper that I titled, Your Gut is Killing You, which is based on my chapter. As more research comes to my attention, I have been updating this paper regularly. Currently, it is over 12,200 words in length and includes 260 cited peer-reviewed references.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6834154/



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Melatonin & Periodontal Disease
– A Curious Connection –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

February 10, 2020 [printfriendly]



What do you know about melatonin?


When I asked several friends that question, basically they said, “It’s a supplement that helps you go to sleep.” That would have been my response before learning the numerous and diverse functions of melatonin in the body – especially the curious connection with periodontal disease. Another unusual fact is that melatonin is not only produced in the brain; it’s also independently synthesized in the gut?


Let me guide you down the path to understand some of the fascinating functions of melatonin in your body. Then, I’ll suggest some ways to improve your levels of melatonin naturally.




Melatonin is the “sleep hormone”, but it’s so much more than that.


The pineal gland produces melatonin. This gland is a small structure located near the center of the brain. Melatonin is generally known for the regulation of your sleep cycle (also called the circadian rhythm). Your pineal gland begins secreting melatonin around sundown and peaks around 2 – 4 AM. As melatonin increases in your brain and then your circulation, your body begins to prepare for sleep. You will become tired. However, if you use artificial light at night, your body will slow down its production of melatonin. Falling asleep could become a problem. That’s when many people turn to melatonin supplements to help them fall asleep.


Supplements are available in a natural form or a synthetic form. If you do take a supplement of melatonin, the long-term use could cause your pineal gland to reduce its production of melatonin or even shut down its production if you’re using a high dose for an extended period of time. A better option might be to eat foods high in tryptophan, an amino acid that is the precursor to melatonin. To help your body produce more melatonin naturally, I’ll summarize some ideas at the end of this article.


Melatonin has many other functions other than affecting sleep. It turns out that melatonin has been identified in the gut. And its synthesis in the gut is independent to the production of melatonin by the pineal gland. As a matter of fact, the gut contains at least 400 times more melatonin than the pineal gland. The creation of melatonin in the gut is not related to the sleep cycle or light exposure. It appears that melatonin production in the gut helps with all healthy gut functions.


Another function of melatonin is that of an energy hormone. When melatonin levels increase, your energy level goes down. Conversely, when melatonin levels decrease, your energy level goes up. Melatonin is also an effective antioxidant. It might function in the body as a cancer-preventing biochemical. In addition, melatonin has positive effects on the function of your brain, heart, gut, circulatory system and your immune system. That’s a lot of work coming from the simple hormone called melatonin.


Two major effects of melatonin are to protect mitochondria and to repair dysfunctional mitochondria. The mitochondria are the batteries of your cells creating the necessary energy that every cell in your body must rely on to function efficiently. Mitochondria are like the batteries in a flashlight. When the batteries start to run down in a flashlight, the light will dim. Eventually, if the batteries lose all their power, the light from the flashlight will go out. Likewise, if the mitochondria are functioning less than they should, the cellular tissue cannot function properly, and it will slow down. If the mitochondria fail to create the necessary ATP for the cell, the cell could ultimately die. However, melatonin has potential to recharge weakened mitochondria and restore its ability to continue to produce ATP efficiently for the cell.


Melatonin also works with Vitamin D to prevent diseases which are intimately and intricately affected by the status of vitamin D and melatonin in your body.



Melatonin and Periodontal Disease

There are so many biological functions for melatonin as I already described. But this hormone also is necessary of periodontal health.


A medical trial published in 2013 reported that patients with active periodontal disease had reduced levels of melatonin compared to healthy individuals. And as early gum inflammation progressed to more advanced periodontitis, the levels of melatonin in the saliva and the gum tissues decreased.


Since melatonin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory actions in general, a study was designed to evaluate melatonin’s targeted effects on periodontal disease. Participants in the study consisted of those who had active periodontal disease and diabetes. Healthy subjects were used as controls. The researchers used a topical solution of melatonin and applied it to the gum tissues of those with active periodontal disease and those with healthy gums. The results of the experiment were published in 2015 and showed that topical melatonin would help heal the gums of those patients with active periodontal disease. Specifically, gum bleeding and pocket depths decreased as well as systemic biomarkers of IL-6 and CRP decreased.


To delve a little deeper, a detailed study was published in 2016. This study investigated the effects of melatonin on the virulent bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) and the severe inflammation caused by this bacterium. P. gingivalis is one of the most pathological bacteria involved with periodontitis – the aggressive form of periodontal disease that destroys the jawbone surrounding the roots of the affected teeth. The investigators showed that melatonin could inhibit the growth of P. gingivalis and its surrounding biofilm. The takeaway message from this study is that melatonin could be used as adjunctive treatment for patients with active periodontal disease.


Another study published in 2014 proved that melatonin can help bone grow. This is important since active periodontitis causes bone loss in the bone surrounding the infected teeth. If melatonin will help bone grow, it might be beneficial during the treatment of periodontitis.


So, melatonin has the potential (1) to repair mitochondria that become dysfunctional in periodontal disease, (2) to inhibit the pathological growth of P. gingivalis, (3) to decrease inflammation, and (4) to potentially assist with bone repair.


It appears that your natural production of melatonin can prevent periodontal disease or help heal the body from periodontal infection. However, if your sleep cycle is disturbed because of use of light at night (especially blue light from computers and artificial lighting), working the night shift, or disease of the pineal gland, then you will produce significantly less melatonin and be more susceptible to periodontal disease and bone damage. Also, if your gut is not healthy, then the production of melatonin in the gut could be compromised.



Natural Ways to Increase Melatonin

Eat nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory foods and especially avoid processed foods which contain chemicals and other harmful substances.


  • Include foods high in tryptophan (ex. chicken, eggs, cheese, fish, turkey).
  • Try to sleep between 7 to 9 hours per night.
  • Stop drinking caffeine or eating caffeine foods after 2PM.
  • Don’t eat shortly before bed.
  • Avoid exercise before bed.
  • Sleep in a dark and cool room. (Electronic devices like a computer screen, a cell phone, and a TV will emit blue light, which greatly suppresses melatonin and prevents you from getting sleepy. If you must use an electronic device, use the adjustment for “night shift” to filter out the blue light.)
  • Use relaxation techniques like meditation before bed.



The impact of melatonin on our body is impressive. Its relationship to a healthy mouth is one more reason to be sure your sleep cycle is healthy so that it produces melatonin efficiently. But also, the fact that the gut produces its own melatonin is another compelling reason to maintain a healthy gut through diet, efficient exercise, stress reduction, and restorative sleep.



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Periodontal Disease
Could Be Killing You

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

December 30, 2019 [printfriendly]




Periodontal Disease Could be Killing You


Periodontal disease could be killing you. It is often considered a causal factor for many chronic diseases. But you need to know the complete story – not just part of it. While periodontal disease could be a nidus for chronic systemic inflammation and spread of infection, this is only part of the story. The story has a Beginning, a Middle, and an Ending. Let’s start in The Middle.



The Middle

Dental plaque is healthy until it’s not healthy.[1]


Periodontal disease develops from unhealthy dental plaque. Unhealthy plaque results when healthy plaque is transformed into unhealthy dental plaque because of an underlying compromised immune system and unhealthy food choices. It’s fundamental for you to appreciate that a compromised immune system has its roots in unhealthy changes in the gut (i.e. gut dysbiosis) [2],[3], which causes chronic systemic inflammation.


A compromised immune system and unhealthy food choices could allow the hundreds of bacteria in dental plaque to get out of balance and become unhealthy.[4],[5] Then, unhealthy bacteria could proliferate and cause the progression of advanced gum disease[6].


One of the most virulent bacteria in periodontal disease is Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis).[7],[8] Among other self-protective measures, this bacterium produces a biofilm, which is resistant to the body’s immune defenses.[9] As the body continues to fight the resistant P. gingivalis, additional chronic inflammation results. This chronic inflammation can cause the tissues surrounding the infected gum spaces to break down allowing their toxic elements to leak into the general circulation. Additionally, autoimmunity may play a role in the progression of periodontal disease.[10]


It is important to remove unhealthy plaque through an efficient personal oral hygiene protocol performed daily. However, it is also critical to understand that gut dysbiosis leads to pathological changes in the healthy community of bacteria in the mouth. Therefore, gut dysbiosis must be treated to restore oral health, along with removing unhealthy dental plaque. I must emphasize that it is unhealthy to indiscriminately kill bad bacteria as well as good bacteria in the mouth by using antimicrobial mouthwashes or antibiotics on a daily basis.[11]


It also is vital to be aware of periodontal disease because its prevalence is at epidemic proportions. In 2010, a published paper demonstrated that 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gingivitis.[12] And in 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their results in the Journal of Dental Research. The report was recently updated in 2015 in the Journal of Periodontology.[13] It showed the prevalence of periodontitis was estimated to be 47.2% for American adults (approximately 64.7 million people). For adults 65 years old and older, the prevalence jumped to 70.1%. These findings were the result of the most comprehensive periodontal evaluation performed ever in the US.


So, statically you most likely have some form of periodontal disease, and it must be treated completely. Otherwise, once periodontal disease is established in the mouth, its pathological byproducts can seep into the bloodstream, lymph fluid, and bone structures to cause spread of infection and inflammation to all areas of the body. This mechanism of seeping into the body’s circulation is similar to the way that an unhealthy gut causes leakage of toxic elements into the bloodstream (i.e. leaky gut) – both creating chronic systemic inflammation.


The eventual result of chronic systemic inflammation is chronic disease.[14],[15],[16] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 60% of Americans live with at least one chronic disease, and chronic diseases are responsible for 70% of deaths each year in the United States.[17] Therefore, periodontal disease could be a source of degenerative chronic diseases originating from chronic systemic inflammation.




The Beginning

Interestingly, there are three human research studies that showed a healthy diet alone can improve the health of the mouth. These studies also determined that removing dental plaque by brushing and flossing was not essential to improve oral health as long as diet was corrected. Specifically, the investigators demonstrated that changing from a diet abundant in high-processed-carbohydrate and inflammatory foods to a diet excluding high-processed-carbohydrate and inflammatory foods will decrease signs of gum inflammation.[18],[19],[20] However, active periodontal treatment will be necessary if gum inflammation progresses into periodontitis, which destroys the jawbone surrounding the teeth.


In February 2019, a medical research article was published in Biomedical Journal[21] entitled, “Association between periodontal pathogens and systemic disease”. The authors describe the correlation between periodontal disease and various chronic diseases and outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer, diabetes and insulin resistance, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory tract infections, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. The authors go on to state that there are conflicting studies, which try to prove causal relationships. However, there is significant research to show a strong correlation.


In another article published in August 2019 by Hashioka et al[22], the authors reviewed medical research that indicates a causal relationship between periodontal disease and various neuropsychiatric disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, major depression, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, as well as the neurological event of ischemic stroke. The initiating cause of these neurological diseases is neuroinflammation, which is induced by chronic systemic inflammation. Periodontal disease causes chronic systemic inflammation by the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the invasion of periodontitis bacteria (specifically P. gingivalis) along with their inflammatory components (lipopolysaccharide or LPS) into the systemic circulation. Chronic systemic inflammation will activate the microglia, the immune cells in the brain, creating neuroinflammation.


But I want to emphasize again that systemic chronic inflammation is the result of a leaky gut from gut dysbiosis in most cases.


In essence, my research suggests that periodontal disease is not the seed of all systemic disease. As I suggested above, periodontal disease is just one of many chronic diseases occurring on the continuum of the spread of chronic systemic inflammation that starts in the gut. Since the mouth is visible and easy to examine, the mouth may be the first clinical area where disease is diagnosed. And as I mentioned earlier, the prevalence of periodontal disease is at epidemic proportions.


Once systemic disease spreads, a vicious cycle begins because all tissues affect all other tissues in the human body. All mucosal tissues use “crosstalk” to communicate with other tissues.[23],[24],[25]


I should point out that unhealthy bacteria in the mouth in turn can interact further with unhealthy bacteria in the gut, and vice versa.[26]  In the case of periodontal disease, treatment for cascading chronic diseases must include healing both the unhealthy gut and the unhealthy mouth. But for the most part, the origination of mouth disease is in the gut before becoming visible in the mouth and other areas of the body.



The Ending

To stop periodontal disease and prevent this infection from entering the systemic circulation, the infection must be treated efficiently. Treatment may often consist of a dentist, hygienist, or periodontist removing irritants that have become lodged under the gum tissues and initiating inflammation and infection. Removing these irritants will assist the body in healing.[27] In more advanced stages, surgical procedures may be necessary to arrest this disease. Whatever treatment is necessary, an effective oral hygiene program should be instituted at a frequency based on the patient’s ability to take care of his or her mouth. The individual also must have a personal oral hygiene protocol to maintain a healthy mouth.


But whatever periodontal treatment is required, complete treatment must include repairing the gut, restoring the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, and avoiding unhealthy processed foods and inflammatory foods.



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4132376/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5892391/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5937375/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28476771

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5126660/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3653317/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4744328/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276050/

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4925967/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1016%2Fj.autrev.2016.09.013

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28353075

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=20437720

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4460825/

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5520251/

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359961/

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28835673

[17] https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/center/index.htm

[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19405829

[19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962497/pdf/12903_2016_Article_257.pdf

[20] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1111%2Fjcpe.13094

[21] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2319417018302634?via%3Dihub

[22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6695849/

[23] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cea.12723

[24] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1016%2Fj.cyto.2017.01.016

[25] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266996/

[26] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5028810/

[27] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31849397



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Manuka Honey & Mouth Health

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

December 16, 2019 [printfriendly]


Manuka Honey & Mouth Health

It’s not just anecdotal; it’s medical science. Raw honey, especially manuka honey, has unique qualities that make it an amazing medicament for the mouth – not to mention the rest of the body.[1] Several recent peer-reviewed articles describe the newest research and come to the same conclusion: manuka honey is at least an adjunctive medicine for the mouth.[2]

Manuka honey wears many hats, especially for wound healing.[3] It can be a toothpaste, an antibiotic, an antiviral, an antifungal, a regenerative agent, an anti-cancer substance, an antioxidant, a prebiotic, an anti-inflammatory, and so much more. I’ll discuss what it is, how it works in the mouth, how to use it, and brands to buy (including the one I use personally).


What is Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is a single flower honey, which comes from the manuka tree. It is native to New Zealand and southeastern Australia. To make manuka honey, beekeepers introduce European honeybees to areas that have a large concentration of wild growing manuka trees during their 6-week blooming period. Manuka trees are grown in a relatively pollution-free environment without exposure to industrial chemicals or pesticides.

Manuka honey looks and tastes differently than other honeys. It is thicker than other honeys because of high levels of specific types of proteins. Typically, it has a dark cream or dark brown color, and the flavor is considered to be “more earthy” than other raw honeys.

As with almost all honeys, Manuka honey is roughly 80% sugars and 17% water, with the last bit being comprised of minerals, organic acids, enzymes, etc. Its sugar content is made up of about 31% glucose, 38% fructose, and a mixture of more complex sugars that are harder for the body to breakdown.  Honey contains 4% to 5% fructo-oligosaccharides, which are excellent prebiotics to feed beneficial bacteria in the gut.

All honeys contain about 200 biologically active chemicals. These raw and unfiltered honeys are a good source of amino acids, B vitamins, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous, but Manuka honey has up to four times the nutritional content of all other flower honeys. Most of the pharmacological effects of honey come from polyphenols, which are found in large concentrations in honey.

But Manuka honey has concentrations of a unique compound. Manuka has non-peroxide bacteriostatic properties that are the result of methylglyoxal (MGO).[4] This biologically active compound is not present to any great extent in other honeys, and it enhances wound healing and tissue regeneration by its immunomodulatory properties.

In 2017, Niaz et al published a review of the tissue regenerating effects of manuka honey.[5] The authors stated that their research showed, “Manuka honey can inhibit the process of carcinogenesis by controlling different molecular processes and progression of cancer cells.”


Oral Benefits

More than 100 systemic diseases and more than 500 medications have oral manifestations, with 145 commonly prescribed drugs causing dry mouth. And honey, especially manuka honey, can have beneficial effects on these oral manifestations.

For those of you who are fact-checkers, here are a few peer-reviewed papers proving honey has significant medical applications when used in the mouth:

  • Honey exerts antibacterial effects on nearly 60 species and prevents the development of resistant strains of bacteria. [6],[7],[8]
  • Manuka honey is effective in preventing growth of biofilm organisms, reducing the production of acids, and reducing gingivitis.[9]
  • Randomized controlled trials indicate honey helps prevent dental caries and gingivitis following orthodontic treatment.[10]
  • A double-blind, randomized controlled trial demonstrates that manuka honey and raw honey are as effective as chlorhexidine as a mouthwash.[11]
  • Manuka honey controls odor and inflammation in wounds secondary to squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity.[12]
  • Tualang honey has cytotoxic effects on cultured oral squamous cell carcinomas.[13]
  • Multiple reports indicate honey is beneficial in the treatment of radiation induced mucositis in people undergoing curative radiotherapy for their head and neck cancer.[14]
  • Honey is helpful in treating radiation induced xerostomia in people undergoing curative radiotherapy for their head and neck cancer.[15]
  • Honey enhances wound healing in non-healing or recurrent wounds in the head and neck area after radiotherapy.[16]


Practical Applications

Because Manuka Honey is thicker than regular honeys, you probably will use smaller amounts.

Toothpaste: Put about 1/2 teaspoon of manuka honey in your mouth and spread it around all your teeth using your tongue. Then use an electric toothbrush as you would normally brush.

Healing oral soft tissue lesions: Swish 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of honey around your mouth for a minute or so, and then swallow. Use as often as necessary.

Lips and corner of mouth: Apply manuka honey to dry lips and sore corners of mouth as needed.

Systemic benefits: Eat about 1/2 teaspoon of honey 2-3 times a day for systemic benefits like improving a cough and cold symptoms from upper respiratory infections, preventing gastric ulcers, and improving digestive symptoms.

A mouthwash: If you feel you need to “freshen” your mouth, swish with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of honey and then swallow.

Dry mouth: If you have dry mouth or xerostomia, swish with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of honey as needed and then swallow.


Purchasing Options

The New Zealand government’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) created the first global standard and scientific definition for manuka honey in early 2018.[17] This is the only government-regulated and approved standard for manuka honey in the world.

As of February 5, 2018, all honey labeled as manuka honey and exported from New Zealand is now required to be tested to show that it meets the MPI standard before it can lawfully be exported. The test results from the certifying lab must accompany the export documents for the manuka honey ensuring that product packed in New Zealand is genuine.


Brands of Manuka Honey

(NOTE: I do not receive any compensation from any company whose products I recommend.)

My favorite is “Manuka Honey KFactor16” from Wedderspoon[18], which I use personally.

There are other manuka honeys that I have not personally tried but are highly rated by others. They are:

  • Kiva Raw
  • Manuka Doctor Bio Active
  • Comvita Premium
  • Happy Valley Honey
  • Manuka Health 100% Pure
  • Pacific Resources Fancy Grade

Raw honey – especially manuka honey – has been shown to be an effective adjunctive medicament for the mouth. It seems that Mother Nature may know best. Give it a try. I have, and I have been very pleased with the results.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4837971/

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1349007918300975?via%3Dihub

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28901255

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18210383

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28901255

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Honey%E2%80%93a+remedy+rediscovered+and+its+therapeutic+utility

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=The+antimycobacterial+effect+of+honey%3A+an+in+vitro+study

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6034044/

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3220139/

[10] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1013905214000327

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855267/

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25734464

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2949736/

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Topical+application+of+honey+in+the+management+of+chemo%2Fradiotherapy-induced+oral+mucositis%3A+A+systematic+review+and+network+meta-analysis

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=The+effectiveness+of+thyme+honey+for+the+management+of+treatment-induced+xerostomia+in+head+and+neck+cancer+patients%3A+a+feasibility+randomized+control+trial

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=The+treatment+of+chronic+wounds+in+the+head+and+neck+area+after+radiotherapy+with+medical+honey

[17] https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/17374-manuka-honey-science-definition-infographic

[18] https://wedderspoon.com/pages/frequently-asked-questions



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Put the Brakes on Dental Disease

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 11, 2019 [printfriendly]




Put the Brakes on Dental Disease


In my Blog that I posted on 11/5/19, I described how dental disease starts in the gut. I suggested that readers email me for my detailed Protocols to eat a healthy diet, to restore healthy gut bacteria, and to clean your mouth efficiently. I am providing those Protocols as my way of “giving back” and “paying it forward”.


In this article, I help you understand exactly what you and your family are eating and how to make healthier choices as necessary.



Then & Now

Our primal ancestors rarely had dental diseases. In fact, primal societies living today in various parts of the world rarely have dental diseases and rarely have chronic systemic diseases. So, what changed for us in this modern world?


Processed foods increasingly have replaced real, organic foods. We eat foods made from processed sugars and processed grains at almost every meal. We also frequently drink beverages like soft drinks and sports drinks, which are extremely sweet and acidic. Sugars, grains, acidic drinks, and the chemicals that have been added to these foods have changed the biology of our mouth and our gut. These “foods” have encouraged pathogenic bacteria in the gut and in the mouth to overgrow and cause tooth decay, gum disease, and various chronic diseases.



Unhealthy Food choices

  • Free-sugars[1] are sugars that are added to foods plus sugars that are concentrated in the form of processed honey, syrups, and fruit juices. These allow unhealthy bacteria to grow in the gut as well as the mouth. Pathogenic bacteria can produce acid levels below pH 5.5 around the tooth surface, causing tooth decay and gum disease.[2],[3]
  • Grain products have compounds (called phytates) that bind to nutrients in the saliva and on the tooth surface thereby increasing the potential for tooth decay.[4],[5] They also contain lectins and other proteins that can cause an increase in pathogenic bacteria in the gut, irritation to the gut lining, and chronic inflammation throughout the body. All these changes can compromise the body’s immune system and the health of the mouth.[6]
  • Sodas are very acidic – well below a pH of 5.5 – and also feed decay-producing bacteria with free-sugars.[7] Sugar-free sodas do not have added sugars but do contain artificial sweeteners, which can irritate the gut and create unhealthy types of bacteria.[8] Be aware that many “healthy drinks” include added sugars or artificial sweeteners and would be just as unhealthy or acidic as traditional sodas.



Healthy Food Choices

Specific nutrients present in foods support a healthy mouth as well as a healthy body. Examples are:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (ex. healthy fish like salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, shellfish)
  • Vitamin C (ex. citrus, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli)
  • Vitamin D (ex. cod liver oil, herring, rainbow trout, pastured eggs, wild caught sockeye salmon, shiitake mushrooms)
  • Vitamin A (ex. liver, cod liver oil, king mackerel, salmon)
  • Vitamin K2 (ex. natto, raw cheese, butter from grass-fed cows, egg yolks, dark chicken meat)
  • Antioxidants (ex. dark chocolate, berries)
  • Fiber (ex. fruits, vegetables)
  • Magnesium (ex. dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, seeds)




Organic is Important

Ideally, foods should be organic. For a product to be certified organic, it’s required to meet these requirements:

  • Organic crops cannot be grown with synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or sewage sludge.
  • Organic crops cannot be genetically engineered or irradiated.
  • Animals must eat only organically grown feed (without animal byproducts) and can’t be treated with synthetic hormones or antibiotics.
  • Animals must have access to the outdoors, and ruminants (hoofed animals, including cows) must have access to pasture.
  • Animals cannot be cloned.



Organic is important for three main reasons:

  1. Non-organic foods contain residues of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, and you eat them. These toxic substances could cause unhealthy changes in your gut and your immune system, which ultimately would affect your mouth.
  2. When a plant is not exposed to bugs and stressors in its environment, the plant’s internal immune system will have no reason to strengthen. The result is that the plant is rendered weaker. The immune system of the plant (phytonutrients) is what makes the plant a healthy food source for us. So, plants that are exposed to chemicals to ward off bugs and other environmental stressors will be less nutritious than plants that are grown organically.
  3. When animals eat plants that are tainted with chemicals, the toxic elements in the plants are incorporated in the animals’ tissues. When we eat animal products that have eaten these toxic-laden plants, we eat those toxic elements that have been concentrated in the animals’ meat, fat, and other tissues.



3-Day Food Journal

Removing unhealthy food choices and substituting healthier foods can reduce current dental disease and prevent future dental decay and gum disease. So, to help YOU learn what you and your family are eating, I suggest that each member of your family complete a 3-Day Food Journal. In this simple daily journal, you and each of your family members will be able to see exactly what you are eating and what you are not eating. Then, you could make decisions to replace unhealthy food choices with healthier ones as well as add foods that you should be eating but presently are not.


If you would like, I will send you a PDF of my 3-Day Food Journal with instructions including how to fill it out, how to decipher it, and a table of recommendations to replace unhealthy choices with healthier selections. Email your request to me: DrDanenberg@iCloud.com




[1] https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/92/11/14-031114.pdf

[2] https://cjdr.quintessenz.de/cjdr_2017_04_s0193.pdf

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29190114

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7042578

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9062561

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705319/pdf/nutrients-05-00771.pdf

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29063383

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25231862



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Dental Disease Starts in the Gut
– Who’d A Thunk It? –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 5, 2019 [printfriendly]




Dental Disease Starts in the Gut


Tooth decay and gum (periodontal) disease are the major dental diseases afflicting all of us. The prevalence of these diseases is staggering. About 93% of US adults have had tooth decay during their life. And about the same percentage have some form of active gum inflammation. These statistics suggest there is an epidemic of dental disease in the United States.


So, why is dental disease at epidemic proportions? Is dental plaque not being removed completely from around teeth?


Dental plaque is not the only reason. Although it is important to clean your mouth appropriately.



Dental Plaque

We only need to look at our primal ancestors for some answers. If you were to examine human dental jaws from 10,000 years ago to 20,000 years ago, you would find there are minimal tooth decay and minimal damage in the bone around the teeth. In other words, there is little evidence of dental disease.


However, these jaws show there is a great deal of tartar (i.e. calculus) at the tooth-jawbone margin. Calculus is mineralized dental plaque. Therefore, our primal ancestors rarely had tooth decay or periodontal disease, but they had huge amounts of dental plaque.


So, it’s not healthy dental plaque that is the culprit for tooth decay or gum disease. Science suggests that it is unhealthy dental plaque causing dental disease. Then the question becomes, “How does healthy dental plaque become unhealthy dental plaque?”



The Gut

The answer lies in our gut and in our immune system. Our immune system is responsible to keep us healthy. It is also responsive to the health of the bacteria in the gut. These “gardens of bacteria” in our gut play many critical roles for the overall health of our body. When the gut microbiome becomes out-of-balance (i.e. gut dysbiosis), then the immune system becomes compromised and gets out of-whack.[1]


Once the immune system is compromised, all mucosal tissues in the body are affected. This includes the microbiome in the mouth. When the oral microbiome becomes unbalanced, the composition of dental plaque becomes unhealthy. Pathologic forms of bacteria expand. The pathological bacteria overgrow and result in unhealthy dental plaque. This unhealthy dental plaque is the culprit for tooth decay and periodontal disease.


Specific foods like added sugars and over-processed carbohydrates can encourage pathological forms of bacteria to continue to proliferate in the mouth. Also, these foods can aggravate and worsen gut dysbiosis. Now, there is a vicious cycle in play that promotes ongoing disease.


Several studies have shown that replacing an unhealthy processed food diet with a nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet will improve the bacterial dental plaque. Even without brushing and flossing, the bacterial plaque will become healthier, and pathologic bacteria will become balanced among the approximately 700 species of bacteria in the plaque. And these three human studies show that it will only take 30 days for this to occur. (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE)


Proper diet will accomplish much. But frequently, you can include several supplements in your daily routine to improve the diversity and quality of bacteria in the gut. My protocol to improve the gut bacteria includes these supplements:


  • MegaSporeBiotic to repopulate the gut bacteria with healthy and diverse strains
  • MegaPrebiotic to feed the good bacteria in the gut
  • MegaMucosa to improve the mucous layer in the gut the lines the epithelial barrier, which keeps the bad stuff out of the blood system and allows all the necessary nutrients to enter the blood stream.



Bottom Line

So, to obtain the best health in your mouth, you should:

  • Clean your mouth appropriately
  • Eat nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods
  • Repopulate the healthy bacteria in your gut
  • Feed the healthy bacteria in your gut with necessary fibers
  • Assure the mucous layer in your gut is healthy


If you contact me by email, I will send my protocols for (1) a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, (2) how to clean your mouth, and (3) how to restore healthy bacteria in your gut. Send your request to: DrDanenberg@icloud.com


[1]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567014/  



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Newest News:
Gut, Periodontal Disease, & RA

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

October 7, 2019 [printfriendly]




Newest News


Dentists need to be aware; medical doctors need to be aware; patients need to be aware.


The newest news and research are uncovering an important truth. The truth is that a healthy gut and its healthy microbiome are critical for the avoidance of most – if not all – chronic diseases. And a damaged gut could be the source of many diseases. It’s interesting that over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates was reported to say that “all disease begins in the gut”. Maybe he knew something that we are just beginning to comprehend and to prove.


As you know, I have written about the gut microbiome and the importance of restoring it to a healthy state. The food we eat, the substances we avoid, and our overall lifestyle affect the gut. Specifically, these affect the bacteria in the gut, the gut’s protective mucosal layer, and the all-important epithelial layer that separates the lumen of the gut from the rest of our body. The healthy gut lining is the gatekeeper that allows nutrients that our body requires to enter our bloodstream and protects us from all the other junk in the gut that the body does not need.


Many scientific articles have been published that prove the direct causal effects of the gut microbiome on the health of various organ systems.


A 2019 medical article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reviews the newest research and discusses the potential connections between periodontal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and the health of the gut.


In essence, this paper supports the theory that periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis may have their beginnings in an unhealthy gut. Yes, the gut!


If this theory is correct, then effective treatment should include the restoration of a healthy gut as well as specific treatment modalities for both periodontal disease (PD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).



Periodontal Disease

PD is the most common cause of tooth loss and one of the world’s most prevalent chronic inflammatory diseases. Pathologic bacteria around the tooth margins at the gum line penetrate the tissues and create a cascading progression of inflammation in the soft tissues. Often this leads to bone destruction around the roots of the teeth. The causes of this chronic disease are considered to be multifactorial. Genetic predisposition and a compromised immune system are two major factors that allow an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth to progress to PD.


Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is a chronic autoimmune disease. Patients with RA experience synovial inflammation and hyperplasia leading to irreversible damage of the cartilage and bone in the joints, loss of function, chronic pain and progressive joint disability. The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are multifactorial like periodontal disease, and these causes are similar to those of PD.



Gut Connection

Unhealthy changes in gut bacteria will create a series of changes in the immune system. These changes will cause specific bacteria (P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans) to proliferate. Both of these bacteria can lead to local protein alterations by process called “citrullination”. Citrullination is the conversion of the amino acid arginine into the amino acid citrulline. Evidence suggests that increased citrullination may participate in tissue destruction associated with periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Citrullination may be a key mechanism allowing both PD and RA to affect one another.


Treating an unhealthy gut will not automatically treat periodontal disease or rheumatoid arthritis. But a healthy gut could be an important therapeutic result for an inclusive treatment plan for both diseases.


I have developed a Protocol to Restore Normal Gut Bacteria, which I could send in a PDF. Email me at Al@DrDanenberg.com, and I will send it to you.



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3 Failures in Dentistry

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 6, 2019 [printfriendly]


3 Failures in Dentistry


Dentists help repair or remove broken, damaged, and diseased teeth. Dentists also help replace missing teeth, correct bite and airway problems, and create beautiful smiles. And dentists help treat the results of many acute and chronic infections in the mouth. Unfortunately, dentistry fails the public in several other critical areas.


Here is my take on 3 Failures in Dentistry:


  1. Not informing patients of potentially toxic elements that are used in dental treatment and their potential consequences in the body.
  2. Not educating patients adequately and in-depth about the obscure and underlying causes of dental diseases.
  3. Not emphasizing the causal relationships between the gut, the mouth, and the overall health of patients.


I know I will get quite a bit of blowback from my comments in this blog. My intention is to bring to the forefront the weaknesses of my profession so that dental professionals and dental educators can improve the delivery of oral healthcare, which ultimately affects overall health. Also, my intention is to help the public understand the failures I’ve stated and ask intelligent questions to their healthcare professionals.




If dentists were successfully treating and preventing dental diseases, then the prevalence of periodontal disease and tooth decay should be very low. However, dental diseases are at epidemic levels.



Prevalence of Periodontal Disease Today

In 2010, a published paper revealed that 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gingivitis.[1]


In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their results in the Journal of Dental Research. The report was recently updated in 2015 in the Journal of Periodontology.[2] It showed the prevalence of periodontitis was estimated to be 47.2% for American adults (approximately 64.7 million people). For adults 65 years old and older, the prevalence jumped to 70.1%. These findings were the result of the most comprehensive periodontal evaluation performed ever in the US.



Prevalence of Tooth Decay Today

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported from its most recent data approximately 91% of U.S. adults aged 20–64 had dental caries in permanent teeth.[3] The prevalence increases to 93% for those above 65 years old.[4]


The World Health Organization has stated that dental decay is one of the most infectious, non-communicable diseases globally.[5]



Addressing the 3 Failures

1: Understand potential toxicities

Many dental materials, medicaments, and procedures are used routinely in the dental office. And many of them have been shown to be potentially toxic to human cells. Of course, toxicity usually depends on the dose and the frequency of exposure. But if a toxic element is in the mouth 24/7, then its presence could be potentially harmful.


As you may know, I am treating my aggressive form of multiple myeloma through various unconventional protocols. I believe my bone marrow cancer was directly related to my excessive exposure to various toxic elements in dentistry – especially my continued exposure to mercury and ionizing dental radiation while in dental school and during my early years in practice. Yet, there is no way I can prove this.


I’ve listed a few of the substances and procedures that are frequently used in the dental office that might be toxic for some patients and the dental team. I also have provided links to peer-reviewed articles that go into detail about their toxicities:


  • Methacrylate[6]
  • Mercury amalgams[7]
  • BPA in some composite materials[8]
  • Fluoride products[9]
  • Titanium[10]
  • Nitrous oxide[11]
  • Chlorhexidine[12]
  • Antimicrobial mouthwashes[13]
  • Peroxide at-home bleaching[14]
  • Ionizing dental radiation[15]



2: Learn about obscure causes of dental diseases

Three human studies clearly show that nutrition is the critical element to a healthy mouth – Baumgartner (2009)[16], Woelber (2016)[17], Woelber (2019)[18]. I have described these results many times. Each of these studies determined that removing dental plaque by brushing and flossing was not critical to improve oral health as long as diet was corrected. Specifically, the researchers demonstrated that changing from a diet abundant in high-processed-carbohydrate and inflammatory foods to a diet excluding high-processed-carbohydrate and inflammatory foods will decrease signs of gum disease.


In a paper published in the Journal of Dental Research in 2015, Aubrey Sheiham summarized many peer-reviewed research articles, which clearly showed that free-sugars were required to cause tooth decay.[19] And the removal of free-sugars from the diet greatly reduced or eliminated tooth decay.



3: Study the causal relationships within the body

Detrimental lifestyle, toxic elements in the environment, toxic substances accumulating in the body, and inflammatory foods are major factors that can damage the gut and create unhealthy gut bacteria (gut dysbiosis). Leakage from a damaged gut into the bloodstream and into the lymph fluid can cause systemic chronic inflammation and a compromised immune system. Both systemic chronic inflammation and a compromised immune system can cause havoc in other body tissues including the mouth.


In the mouth, these may cause an overgrowth of pathological bacteria. Unhealthy food choices will continue to feed the pathological bacteria. As you know, unhealthy bacteria will cause periodontal disease and tooth decay. Dental diseases potentially could affect all other areas in the body causing a vicious back-and-forth cycle between the mouth, the gut, and other tissues of the body.




The 3 failures in dentistry should be addressed and corrected. Dentists need to (1) inform patients about potential toxicity from dental procedures and only use the most biocompatible materials, (2) learn about the obscure causes of dental diseases, and (3) become knowledgeable about causal relationships within the body.



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=20437720

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4460825/

[3] http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/DentalCaries/DentalCariesAdults20to64.htm

[4] http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/DentalCaries/DentalCariesSeniors65older.htm

[5] http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/149782/1/9789241549028_eng.pdf

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30099197

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466133/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25813067

[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27199224

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5216395/

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29859645

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28510277

[13] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11906-017-0725-2

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27091347

[15] https://fb.cuni.cz/file/5700/FB2013A0027.pdf

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19405829

[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962497/pdf/12903_2016_Article_257.pdf

[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1111%2Fjcpe.13094

[19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Diet+and+Dental+Caries%3A+The+Pivotal+Role+of+Free+Sugars+Reemphasized



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