Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS February 11, 2016
It’s common to hear from “experts” that you need to kill all the bad guys in order to avoid gum disease or tooth decay. That’s not completely true.
It is true that there are a variety of unhealthy bacteria that will cause tooth decay and gum disease and other serious diseases. But, these diseases only happen when the bacteria get out of control. These virulent microbes live among many very healthy bacteria in your mouth in a state of homeostasis. They behave. As a matter of fact, some so-called bad bacteria keep even worse bacteria at bay. HERE.
Homeostasis is a process where the body manages various complex interactions to maintain balance or return systems to healthy function within a normal range. The biochemical reactions to maintain homeostasis are not completely understood. However, the dental plaque around the teeth at the gum line should exist in a healthy state because of homeostasis. I wrote an article about this.
So, if you were to listen to some of those experts out there, they would have you believe that all bacteria need to be removed from your mouth. Some of these experts might be more specific and tell you that only the bad bacteria need to be removed. They might recommend chemicals or other products to kill all these bad guys.
Let’s talk facts.
If you have gum disease or tooth decay, bad bacteria are out of control. The offending bacteria need to be brought back into a balanced state. To do this, you might need to include specific treatment to reduce the numbers of the bad guys. But that is only the beginning of taking care of the problem.
If you only were to continue to kill these bad bacteria, you could cause other potentially unhealthy microbes to overgrow. You also could kill many good guys in your quest to kill the bad guys. In so doing, you would continue to disrupt homeostasis and unintentionally increase disease. In contrast, your goal should be to bring all the bacteria back into a state of well-being.
Once you bring balance back to your body, you need to do things for your body to keep all those microbes happy. You need to feed the 3.9 trillion cells of bacteria in your body with the foods they need to stay in balance. Vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds are part of their diet. In addition, healthy foods containing necessary nutrients help your 3.0 trillion human cells to stay strong and to function properly. (New research in 2016 determined the human cell to bacteria cell ratio.) You also need to give your body the proper rest and efficient exercise it needs to stay healthy. These things will improve your immune system so it can do its job of protecting you from outside invaders. Don’t forget that reducing stress wherever and whenever you can will enhance your immune system. I have written about these pillars of health.
An overall eating and living philosophy that supports a healthy body is embodied in a Paleo-type diet and lifestyle. You also want to clean your mouth properly. What you don’t want to do is kill the bugs that are necessary to make you as fit as you were supposed to be.