Are There Holes In Your Gut?

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     March 3, 2016   [printfriendly]

Holes in your gut?Bad things could be leaking from your gut into your bloodstream. It’s called a leaky gut or more correctly intestinal permeability.


You may not know if you have this problem. It’s not necessary for you to have obvious gut distress to confirm you have a leaky gut. You don’t have to have bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. In fact, most people with leaky gut do not have belly problems, but they have other problems in other parts of their body.


Sometimes, a leaky gut could result in thyroid disease, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, insulin resistance, neurological conditions, and various autoimmune diseases.


Interestingly, some mouth problems could be the result of a leaky gut. It is curious how this could occur.


Specific foods like processed grains and sugars (as well as other foods) could cause a change in the balance of bacteria in your gut. An overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut could cause inflammation and damage to the gut lining. This lining is only one cell layer thick, and damage could easily cause small holes to develop. Once this happens, toxic substances could leak into the bloodstream, which would cause various inflammatory reactions. Once in the bloodstream, inflammation could damage tissues in all areas of the body.


It is also noteworthy that the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut could cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the mouth. Here, Here. All of a sudden, a vicious cycle might begin. Here’s how:


The processed carbohydrates that damaged the gut are also the food for the bad bacteria that are now overgrowing in the mouth. The bad bacteria in the mouth continue to grow uncontrolled. Bad bacteria in the mouth could cause gum disease and tooth decay. Also, sores in the soft tissues of the mouth could pop up. As more problematic food is eaten, more damage occurs in the gut, and more bad bacteria proliferate in the mouth. The vicious cycle continues.


So, do you have holes in your gut?


While there is a blood test provided by Cyrex Labs (Array 2) that could help determine if you have a leaky gut, that would not be my first suggestion. The simplest solution would be first to remove all the offending foods that could be the source of damage.


An elimination diet is one that removes all the potentially harmful foods. Here is my 30-Day Reset diet, which is an elimination diet that lists all the bad foods to remove as well as those foods that are perfect to eat. I recommend this first step to my patients who need more in-depth exploration of the cause to their problem. At a later date, other functional medicine testing (including the Cyrex Array 2) could be prescribed if necessary.


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Gut Problems Causing Mouth Problems?:
Lab Tests for the Not-So-Obvious

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     February 21, 2016   [printfriendly]

Not-So-ObviousI recently wrote about gut problems that could cause gum problems and how functional medicine might shed some light on not-so-obvious triggers. In this article, I discuss some tests that could point to an underlying cause.


There are specific functional-medicine tests that may help put together the pieces to this puzzle. Unfortunately, no tests are 100% conclusive. Some are more accurate than others. However, many may give false positives as well as false negatives. Here are two examples of errors in testing:

  • A false positive: a test result that reported you had a specific unhealthy gut microbe possibly causing your gum problems, but in fact you did not have that unhealthy microbe.
  • A false negative: a test result that reported there were no out-of-whack gut microbes, when in fact there were some bad guys that could be the culprits.


While not 100% accurate, the tests below may help identify some not-so-obvious causes that could affect your mouth problems. Your doctor could order any of these for you if necessary:

  • Cyrex Labs has a number of blood tests that can suggest if you are sensitive to specific foods that you are eating, which could cause unhealthy immune responses in your body. Specifically, they are Array 3, 4, and 10. Combined, these tests can help narrow down specific foods that may be harmful to you. A blood lab draws your blood. Then, the blood technician sends the tubes to Cyrex for analysis.
  • Doctor’s Data provides a stool test that tries to identify specific bacteria, yeasts, or parasites, which might be the source of your mouth problems originating in your large intestine. The test consists of taking 3 stool samples on 3 consecutive days. You send the collection tubes to Doctor’s Data for analysis.
  • SIBO Center for Digestive Health offers a breath test that might suggest if there were bacteria out of control in your small intestine. This test uses a fermentable, non-absorbable sugar (lactulose) that you add to water and drink. Every 20 minutes you exhale into a collection device that collects your breath into a small vacuum tube. You do this for 3 hours collecting 10 separate samples of your exhaled breath. These are sent to the lab, which can determine the amount of methane and hydrogen gases that are in the collection tubes. These results may determine if there were unhealthy bacteria in your small intestine producing these gases.


This is important: These tests should not be the first thing to do to get to the bottom of your dental problems. The first thing to do is to rule out the obvious causes of gum disease such as unhealthy dental plaque, tartar under the gums, or excessive biting forces on your teeth. Most likely, addressing the obvious causes and then improving your oral hygiene as well as your overall diet will take care of all your gum problems.


However, the specialized tests I have described could detect some not-so-obvious causes starting in your gut that may be affecting the health of your mouth.


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