Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
June 16, 2016
Do you have a green thumb? Do you know how to make flowers grow in your garden? Simple! Provide water, sunshine, and necessary nutrients – and the flowers will please you with their blooms. Also critical: don’t add anything toxic that could kill them.
How about your gut? Do you know how to make the healthy bacteria in your gut grow and flourish? You need to feed them what they need. You also need to keep any toxic substances out. A healthy gut will help your mouth stay healthy. Remember, your mouth is not an island unto itself. A healthy gut will reward your body immensely.
A major food source for a healthy gut garden is fiber – various types of fermentable fibers. Basically, these fibers are abundant in fruits and vegetables. Bacteria ferment these fibers and produce many substances that benefit not only the bacteria but also your body. But, some foods can damage the critical balance of bacteria in the gut. Some foods could be toxic to the healthy growth of the garden in your gut.
Here is a peer-reviewed paper, which I discussed in past articles. It shows how the choice of food can make a difference in the bacteria living in the mouths of this group of people.
The Study: This report was published in the Journal of Periodontology back in 2009. It tells an interesting tale. Ten individuals in Switzerland were challenged to eat foods that were only available in that area of Switzerland 5,700 years ago. These foods obviously were not processed foods. They were foods that could be fished, hunted, and gathered from the immediate area. The experiment lasted 4 weeks. At the beginning of the trial, the types of bacteria around their teeth were cultured, the degree of gum bleeding around their teeth was noted, and the depths of gum pockets were measured. Oh, by the way, the participants could not brush or floss for the entire 4-week experiment. Guess what happened?
The Results: At the end of the investigation, areas of gum bleeding decreased and gum pockets decreased – all statistically significant. The accumulation of dental plaque grew to a large amount, but the types of bacteria in the plaque were not virulent. The bacteria that would cause gum disease and tooth decay declined! How could that be? (And by the way, the participants lost about 5-7 pounds each, and their average blood pressure declined.)
The Reasons: The bacteria in the gut were nourished by healthy foods and natural fibers, which these primal foods provided. There was no contamination by toxic substances in this diet or lifestyle. The healthy bacteria balance in the gut supported a healthy bacteria balance in the mouth, while the entire body benefited.
Take Home Message: There is a way to naturally feed the garden in your gut, which has a profound effect on the health of your body. Eating primal foods and avoiding processed foods make the difference.