COVID-19, Gum Disease, & Diet

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 18, 2020

 

 

You might be scratching your head and asking yourself, “What is he talking about? Is he just trying to catch my attention? Maybe even confuse me?”

 

Well, I’m talking about the correlation between COVID-19, Gum Disease, and Diet. That connection is our immune system. And yes, I want your attention so I can share my thoughts about this association, your overall health, and your well-being. I certainly don’t want to confuse you.

 

 

COVID-19

New research is suggesting that the COVID-19 virus could be life-threatening by initially damaging red blood cells[1] and causing hypoxia[2]. The theory goes like this:

 

  • The virus attacks red blood cells by attaching to the iron portion of its hemoglobin.
  • The virus oxidizes the iron and releases it into the bloodstream.
  • Then, the COVID-19 virus replaces the iron with itself in the red blood cell.
  • The virus controls the red blood cell, which now is unable to carry necessary oxygen to other cells and organ systems. This results in hypoxia.
  • The oxidized iron pours into the bloodstream causing severe oxidative stress, which causes systemic inflammation initiated by the immune system.
  • Zinc in the body mobilizes itself to offset the damage from the free-floating oxidized iron thereby depleting the body of its necessary levels of zinc. This can cause a loss of smell and taste among other effects.
  • The oxidative stress from excessive iron, severe systemic inflammation as a result of the immune system’s overproduction of inflammatory chemicals (cytokines), and hypoxia can cause the lungs and other organs to fail, possibly leading to death from COVID-19.

 

 

This is just a theory. So much is being learned about the virus day by day. But this theory makes sense. It could result in the clinical signs and symptoms of this pandemic that are being observed and documented throughout the world.[3]

 

 

Gum Disease

The gum tissues in your mouth are susceptible to chronic systemic inflammation. The oxidative stress occurring from an excess of unhealthy oxidized iron causes the immune system to create acute and chronic systemic inflammation. These physiological changes cause dysfunction in the immune system – especially if the immune system was already weakened or dysfunctional from emotional stress, environmental toxic substances, an unhealthy gut, or poor diet choices.

 

Active gum disease will increase as the immune system fails to control the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Periodontal infection will release virulent bacteria and inflammatory elements into the bloodstream complicating the already spreading systemic inflammation. Inflamed and bleeding gums will increase the potential for increasingly destructive forces occurring from the COVID virus.

 

 

Diet

A diet including inflammatory foods and lacking nutrient-dense foods will damage the gut’s garden of bacteria, its mucous layer, and its epithelial barrier. The result will be the leakage of toxic substances into the bloodstream from the lumen of the gut. The immune system attempts to gobble up these toxic substances by releasing various chemicals and cells to fight the invasion. These immune system actions create inflammation that spreads throughout the circulatory system to all organ systems. However, if you have periodontal disease and if the COVID-19 virus is present, then your immune system already could be overwhelmed.

 

 

Vicious Cycle

A weakened immune system, active periodontal disease, and unhealthy food choices continue to promote chronic systemic inflammation. If COVID-19 invades the body, the existing chronic systemic inflammation will exacerbate the potential virulence of the virus.

 

So, there could be a vicious cycle escalating exponentially.

 

Fortunately, the far majority of infected people will not succumb to death. Their body’s immune system will overcome the virus at a point where the virus is inactivated by the antibodies that are naturally produced by the adaptive immune system. Other negative feedback pathways will go into effect and reduce the immune system’s production of inflammatory chemicals. But there are proactive precautions that uninfected individuals could take to enhance their immune system.

 

I’ve talked about how to improve the immune system in previous blogs – especially HERE. But in summary, a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet along with lifestyle changes will enhance the health of the gut and provide the immune system with many of the necessary ingredients to defend your body.

 

Supplements of vitamin C, vitamin D, glutathione, and zinc have been suggested to help prevent or possibly treat COVID-19 infection. However, along with lifestyle changes, the nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diets I have recommended will provide most of these nutrients in their natural states as they exist in real, unprocessed foods.

 

Medical research will come up with an adequate treatment protocol to deal with the acute and life-threatening manifestations of the COVID-19 virus. Scientists also may develop an effective vaccine or an array of vaccines to protect people prior to the invasion of the COVID-19 virus. But your proactive efforts to support your immune system will also help with fighting the virus, preventing periodontal disease, and avoiding other chronic diseases. A healthy immune system will go a long way in maintaining your well-being.

 

 

[1] https://chemrxiv.org/articles/COVID-19_Disease_ORF8_and_Surface_Glycoprotein_Inhibit_Heme_Metabolism_by_Binding_to_Porphyrin/11938173

[2] https://www.hemob.org/covid19-news/2020/4/8/coronavirus-pneumonia-and-hydroxychloroquine

[3] https://www.jillcarnahan.com/2020/04/16/emerging-theories-that-may-help-us-solve-the-covid-19-puzzle/

 

 

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Put the Brakes on Dental Disease

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 11, 2019

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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Kathryn Won the Battle
But Not the War

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
February 4, 2019

x

Kathryn contacted me for a second opinion. Her problems are not unusual. She told me what she had gone through so far.

x

It started when her dentist told her, “You have a gum infection, which is due to bacteria living under your gum tissues. Let’s kill these bacteria, and we’ll cure your disease.” So, her dentist prescribed an antimicrobial mouth gel to place around her teeth to kill these bacteria. After several weeks, the gum bleeding was gone. Kathryn thought her disease was cured.

x

Then, several months went by, and she returned to her dentist for a dental cleaning. The hygienist told her, “Do you know you have active gum disease?” The dentist came into the room and confirmed that she had active infection. He recommended another round of antimicrobial gel.

x

Kathryn realized something didn’t seem right, so she contacted me for a second opinion. I told her, “It sounds like you won the battle but not the war.”

x

x

The Battle; The War

The “battle” Kathryn won was to end the acute infection in her gum tissues. Killing the bacteria stopped her gums from bleeding. Yet, she lost the war.

x

The “war” she lost was to identify the various causes of her gum disease and to treat the hidden sources of her infection.

x

The causes of periodontal disease are multifold. They relate to dysbiosis in the gut, chronic systemic inflammation, and a significant decrease in the immune response.  Stopping gum infection by killing oral bacteria is not a cure. It is not an effective means to restore overall health. It may be the first step when there is acute infection, but there is more to it. Indiscriminate killing of microbes is detrimental to the balance of bacteria throughout the mouth and the body. Indiscriminate killing of microbes can cause serious systemic problems.

x

To win the war, acute infection in the mouth needs to be treated first as I stated. In addition, all other factors need to be discovered and dealt with effectively and in a timely manner.

x

Most people don’t understand the importance of the gut and its relationship to disease. The gut needs to be treated and the resulting spread of chronic disease needs to be addressed. (I wrote a paper titled, Big Bang Theory of Chronic Disease. I’ll send the PDF article to you at no charge if you are interested. Please, send your request to my email: Dr.Danenberg@icloud.com)

x

x

Two Niduses of Infection

I explained to Kathryn that she has two separate niduses of infection – one in her mouth and one in her gut.

x

Her original nidus of infection started in her gut, which she is completely unaware of because she has no obvious gut symptoms. However, her gut problems created chronic systemic inflammation, which led to various chronic diseases. Gum (or periodontal) disease is just one manifestation of chronic disease.

x

Once she developed periodontal disease, which is an imbalance in the overall oral microbiome, the infection established itself deep under the gum tissues. This became Kathryn’s second nidus of infection. The infection and inflammation around her teeth could spread through capillaries under the gum and eventually enter the blood system. As they course through her circulation, they could affect other organs.

x

To treat this complicated disease, both the mouth and the gut must be treated to regain health. If only the mouth were treated, then out-of-balance bacteria in the gut would continue to be the culprit for further bouts of active periodontal disease and more.

x

x

My Action Steps for Kathryn

After I explained my opinion of what was going on, I made specific recommendations and provided action steps for Kathryn to consider.

x

  1. Do what is necessary to stop acute infection.x
  2. The dentist or the hygienist needs to do a deep cleaning under the gum tissues to remove tartar, which is irritating and acting like a splinter.x
  3. The dentist needs to treat decay, repair any broken or irritating tooth fillings, remove any toxic dental fillings or restorations, and extract any non-treatable teeth.x
  4. The dentist or the hygienist needs to demonstrate efficient tooth brushing, interdental cleaning, and tongue scraping. (How to Clean Your Mouth)x
  5. Kathryn needs to repair her gut by taking spore-based probiotics and specific prebiotics. (Protocol to Restore Normal Gut Bacteria)x
  6. Kathryn needs to change her diet to include nutritious foods that are anti-inflammatory and to remove foods that are inflammatory. (30-Day Reset Diet)

x

If you want the 3 Protocols I recommended to Kathryn (underlined above), send your request to my email: Dr.Danenberg@icloud.com

x

x

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Dr. Michael Ruscio
Interviews
Dr. Al Danenberg

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
July 4, 2018

 

 

 

Dr. Michael Ruscio Interviews Dr. Al DanenbergI met Dr. Michael Ruscio at the Paleo f(x) meeting in Austin in April 2018. Michael suggested we do a Podcast together. So, we made it happen.

 

Dr. Michael Ruscio is a chiropractor, clinical researcher, and author whose practical ideas on healing chronic illness have made him an influential voice in functional and alternative medicine. Michael also provides post-doctoral continuing education. His research has been published in peer reviewed medical journals, and he speaks at integrative medical conferences across the globe. Currently, he is a lead researcher in a pending IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) study.

 

In this interview, Dr. Ruscio and I discuss the profound connections between the gut, the mouth, mitochondria, and chronic disease. I talk about my Periodontal Disease Clinical Study that will be implemented following approval by the Institutional Review Board. We also discuss how improper flossing could lead to receding gums, new testing showing that mouth tissue is a window into your mitochondrial health, and how mouthwashes could lead to high blood pressure.

 

Tooth decay and periodontal diseases are chronic diseases. My research suggests that the gut could be the initial source for chronic disease to manifest. But, once oral diseases take hold, then both the gut and the mouth must be treated in order to gain control of chronic inflammation and further manifestation of chronic disease.

 

Listen to the Podcast. It lasts a little more than an hour, but I think you’ll find it loaded with “pearls” to take home and act upon immediately.

 

 

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Our Pets Have Dental Diseases!
WHY?

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
May 14, 2018

 

 

 

Our Pets Have Dental Diseases

 

We love our pets. But, our cats and dogs are prone to a common disease that we as humans also must deal with. Our pets often develop dental diseases (tooth decay and gum disease). Dental diseases can cause loss of teeth and can contribute to other chronic diseases. Interestingly, animals in the wild rarely have dental diseases. Why are our pets suffering from these life-threatening diseases while animals living in their natural, wild environments mainly avoid these devasting dental problems?

 

Imagine

Imagine for a moment an animal who lived 200,000 years ago. I’ll call her “Fluffy”.  Fluffy was a cuddly little creature who used her teeth to chew her food to gain the nutrition she required to survive. But, something happened to Fluffy and all of her brothers and sisters. They all began to develop tooth decay, pain in the mouth, and bleeding gums. Their teeth began to rot, get loose, and eventually fall out. Can you imagine what would happen to Fluffy and all her kind?

 

Sadly, they would become weak because of pain, infection, and lack of nutrients. Predators would take advantage of their weakness and eat them for lunch. Eventually, this species would be wiped out from the evolutionary line because of natural selection. Fluffy and her species would have died off and not be alive today.

 

Animals alive today who require teeth to chew their food were not designed to develop tooth decay or gum disease as a natural sequence of life. If so, they could not survive. It is no surprise that animals in the wild today rarely have dental diseases. So, why do our cherished cats and dogs have rampant tooth decay and gum disease?

 

The Food

Food is medicine. But, food can be poison, too!

 

Take a look at the ingredients in most commercial cat and dog food. The first several ingredients usually are a collection of grains, fillers, and other processed products. Then down the line in the ingredients’ list, you’ll find added chemicals, preservatives, unhealthy fats, and emulsifiers. This “food” is what we are feeding our beloved pets.

 

A cats’ digestive system is designed to eat meat. They are obligate carnivores. Dogs have a digestive system that wants to eat mostly meat. When we feed our much-loved pets products that their body cannot digest and does not need, then their immune system will become compromised. A compromised immune system is more susceptible to infections in addition to the manifestation of chronic diseases. Dental disease is one of many infectious, chronic diseases.

 

Humans have experienced the same scenario as our favorite pets. Our primal ancestors rarely had tooth decay or gum disease. However, today the prevalence of some form of gum disease or gum inflammation in US adults approaches 94% [1], and the prevalence of those who have had tooth decay approaches 92% [2].

 

Some foods like grains can damage the gut microbiome and the gut lining [3]. When these foods are combined with a slew of chemicals and are eaten several times a day, the gut never can get over the constant insult to begin healing from the previous meal.  Over time, chronic systemic inflammation can become the norm and not the exception. The ultimate result is the manifestation of chronic diseases.

 

In addition, added sugars in our foods will damage the gut, provide food for pathogenic bacteria, and initiate various forms of injury to other organ systems [4].

 

A Solution

Cats and dogs prefer a raw diet – cats require meat, and dogs require mostly meat. This is what their digestive systems were optimized to eat. In contrast, humans are adaptive and true omnivores.

 

Our body requires an organic diet including a variety of foods – nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and wild caught or pastured animal products from nose to tail.

 

No animals, including humans, benefit from chemicals, preservatives, genetically modified organisms, emulsifiers, or any artificial ingredients added to food.

 

So, why do our pets have dental diseases? Because the foods most domesticated animals eat are not healthy for their mouth as well as their entire body. Remove the junk and put it the good stuff! These steps will go a long way in avoiding dental diseases.

 

 

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Advice Given to Me

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
February 5, 2018

 

 

Advice

Advice can be found in the most unusual places.

 

I have been given advice by an astute dental scholar. He encouraged me to understand the science of evidence. There is only one problem. He based his science on the myopic view that the mouth is an island unto itself with little influence from anywhere else in the body. He is a throwback to the times when the Catholic Church ruled that the Earth was the center of the universe. Anyone who doubted that science could be put to death. As a matter of fact, in 1616, Galileo was accused of being a heretic, a person who opposed Church teachings. Fortunately, Galileo was acquitted of the charges.

 

So, what did this informed dentist have to say about evidence? He said that there is science that antimicrobial mouthwashes are safe and effective. Therefore, ‘nuff said! My concern is that there is better evidence that suggests that daily use of antimicrobial mouthwashes may damage the DNA of cells[1],[2]. In addition, daily use of these chemical mouthwashes might destroy some of the bacteria in the mouth that are critical for the conversion of salivary nitrates eventually into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is necessary for many bodily functions including blood pressure control, cardiovascular health, and even gum tissue health.[3]

 

To educate me further, this dental visionary stated that there was little evidence that diet had anything to do with caries and periodontal disease. The cause of dental diseases was improper brushing and flossing. Therefore, I guess I need to ignore these two human studies:

 

Study 1[4]

In this controlled experiment, ten individuals were not able to brush or floss for 30 days. For the duration of this experiment, their diet consisted of primal foods common to their area in Switzerland about 5,700 years ago. No processed foods were available. These participants had to gather and forage for the majority of their food. At the beginning and at the end of the study, pocket depths and bleeding-on-probing around the teeth were measured, and cultures of bacteria were taken from the plaque and from the tongue.

At the end of the study, there were a significant decrease in bleeding-on-probing and a significant decrease in pocket depths. Amounts of dental plaque increased greatly, but virulent bacteria did not increase in the plaque or on the tongue. Dental plaque and other oral microbes were in a state of homeostasis at the end of the four-week experiment.

Study 2[5]

In this recent study, fifteen people were selected. Only those who had signs of gum disease and were eating a diet heavily based on processed carbohydrates were selected. Ten individuals made up the experimental group, and five individuals made up the control group.

The experimental group had to change their diet. Their new diet consisted of foods low in processed carbohydrates, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and abundant in vitamins C and D, antioxidants and fiber. The control group did not change their eating habits.

As far as oral hygiene was concerned, all fifteen participants were instructed not to clean between their teeth with dental floss or interdental brushes. However, they did not have to change the way they brushed their teeth with a normal toothbrush.

The study began after each group had two weeks to acclimate to these changes I mentioned above. Then, the four-week study began. The signs of gum disease (bleeding-on-probing, pocket depths, degree of gingival inflammation) in all participants of this scientific project were recorded at the start of the four-week study and at the end.

At the conclusion of the trial, all disease parameters decreased significantly in the experimental group by approximately 50% from the starting point. In contrast, all inflammatory markers increased from the starting point in the control group.

 

Finally, this dental professional informed me that the dental profession is more than effective in treating dysbiosis, which is the cause of poor oral health. I totally agree that dysbiosis is the cause of poor oral health. But, dysbiosis begins in the gut and progresses to all parts of the body – including the mouth.[6],[7],[8],[9] Dysbiosis in the gut must be treated in conjunction with treatment of dysbiosis in the mouth. Just treating the mouth without addressing what is going on in the gut will not solve the overall problem. The mouth is not an island unto itself.

 

I always appreciate advice when given. Thanks for setting me straight!

 

 

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Dentists & Physicians
Have Gum Disease

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
January 8, 2018

 

 

Dentists & Physicians Have Gum DiseaseMany dentists and physicians, whom I know, have some degree of gum disease. How do I know? I can diagnose gum disease when I do a periodontal examination. Sometimes, I can see gum disease when a person smiles. Occasionally, I can smell gum disease on the breath.

 

There are primarily two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.

 

Gingivitis is inflammation and infection in the gum tissues, which do not involve the bone of the jaw. Sometimes, gingivitis can progress to the advanced stage of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis involves infection in the gum tissues as well as the surrounding jawbone that supports the teeth.

 

Cause of Gum Disease

So, why do these healthcare professionals have gum disease?

 

Occasionally, it is because they don’t brush and clean between their teeth properly. Just because a person is trained to be a healthcare professional, he or she doesn’t necessarily take care of his or her mouth correctly. However, there is an underlying cause of gum disease that is independent of how well a person cleans his or her mouth.

 

A change in the bacteria in the gut can change the bacteria in the mouth. Then, a give-and-take can occur between unhealthy bacteria in the gut and unhealthy bacteria in the mouth. [1] The change from a healthy balance of bacteria to an unhealthy level of pathogenic bacteria is called dysbiosis.

 

There are many factors that can cause an increase in unhealthy bacteria (or dysbiosis) in the gut. Some of these factors include poor food choices, chemicals in food, stress, poor sleep, some prescription and over-the-counter medications, low-level electromagnetic fields, over-exercising, and sleep apnea.

 

As I mentioned, medical research shows that dysbiosis of the gut microbiome and dysbiosis of the oral microbiome affect one another. Therefore, both the gut and the mouth must be addressed if a healthy result is the goal. If only the gut or only the mouth were to be treated independently, the other location of dysbiosis could continue to spread back and forth.

 

Prevalence of Gum Disease

Gum disease is not a stranger in today’s modern world. The prevalence of gum disease in the US is staggering, in my opinion.

 

A study was published in 2010 in the American Journal of Dentistry. This peer-reviewed paper demonstrated that 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gum inflammation or gum bleeding. [2]

 

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their results in the Journal of Dental Research. [3] It showed the prevalence of periodontitis was estimated to be 47.2% for American adults. For adults 65 years old and older, the prevalence jumped to 70.1%.

 

Be Proactive

I encourage everyone to evaluate their diet and lifestyle. The choices we make can improve our overall health and the health of the mouth. [4] From my point of view, dental diseases are frequently a sign that healthy bacteria in the mouth have gotten out of balance. Pathogenic bacteria have taken control, leading to dysbiosis.

 

Poor food choices certainly feed gum disease, tooth decay, and pathogenic bacteria. However, published science [5], [6], [7], [8], [9] suggests that the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the mouth is a direct result of (1) the friendly bacteria in our gut becoming overwhelmed by pathogenic bacteria, (2) the gut lining becoming damaged, allowing toxic elements to seep into the blood system (called “leaky gut”), and (3) our immune system becoming compromised.

 

Once gum infection is allowed to progress, toxic substances in the infected gum spaces could enter the blood system. Chronic systemic inflammation could result from a “leaky gum space” just as chronic inflammation could result from a “leaky gut”.

 

No one is immune to gum disease. My medical and dental colleagues certainly are not immune to gum disease. Since there is an epidemic of gum disease in the US [10] based on the prevalence of dental disease, it is no surprise that many dentists and physicians have fallen victims to this disease. The goal should be to regain homeostasis of the gut and oral bacteria along with practicing efficient oral hygiene.

 

 

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Bacteria, Mitochondria, Gum Disease:
A Critical Cycle

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
January 2, 2018

Critical Cycle

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Here is an account that unfolds like the best science fiction tale ever written. It’s the relationship between bacteria and mitochondria, and eventually gum disease. This relationship forms a critical cycle.

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A long, long time ago – about 4 billion years ago – life began on earth as a single-celled organism with no nucleus. [1] Fast forward 2 billion years.

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About 2 billion years ago, bacteria were among the first living organisms. Some of these single-celled bacteria fed on organic compounds to create energy. These bacteria created carbon dioxide and hydrogen as waste products. Other single-celled organisms in existence at the same time fed only on carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Then, an extraordinary and life-changing event occurred.

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A few of the bacteria producing energy from organic compounds successfully entered some of these single-celled organisms, which could not create their own energy from organic compounds. Eventually, these bacteria set up shop in their host cells. The invading bacterial cells created energy for their single-celled host organisms. Now the host cells, with a self-contained energy source from the resident bacteria, could evolve into multi-celled and more-complex entities. The gradual development of these structures eventually led to the makeup of our human cells, each with a self-contained energy-production machine. The origin of this energy-production machine was ancient bacteria. These organelles are called mitochondria.

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Every cell in our body, with the exception of red blood cells, has mitochondria to create the energy to keep it alive. The mitochondria are embedded within the cytoplasm of our 10 trillion human cells. Some individual cells have only a few mitochondria; our most active cells (like heart muscle) may contain as many as 2,400 mitochondria per cell. If these bacteria-like structures in our body’s cells did not function properly, we would get sick – very sick – and eventually would die.

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Functions of Mitochondria

The mitochondria primarily are the batteries of the cell. If the batteries fail, the cell ultimately dies. However, energy production is not the only purpose of our mitochondria. [2] Mitochondria also produce heat as necessary, assist in calcium signaling within the host cell and throughout the body, and will induce cell death (apoptosis) when its host cell is damaged beyond repair. In addition, mitochondria regulate insulin in the cell, synthesize cholesterol and other steroids, and participate in other functions required by specialized cells. Another critical function of mitochondria is to interact intimately with other organelles of the cell, especially peroxisomes, to create cellular homeostasis. [3]

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As a waste product, mitochondria produce free radicals, which must be neutralized. If the mitochondria are damaged beyond repair, the cell would not be able to function as it was designed. For example, a liver cell would not be able to function as a healthy liver cell; a brain cell would not be able to function as a healthy brain cell; a gum tissue cell would not be able to function as a healthy gum tissue cell. In some situations, the cell might begin to replicate out-of-control and become cancerous.

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Gum Disease & Mitochondria

When everything is working correctly, the mitochondria are healthy and functioning at the top of their game. Problems develop when our mitochondria are compromised. Gum disease is one result of dysfunction in the mitochondria within gum tissue cells. [4]

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So, it appears that healthy mitochondria are critical for our oral health, for our cells’ health, and for our existence. Healthy mitochondria are supported by nutrient-dense foods, efficient exercise, restorative sleep, and reduction of stress. If mitochondria are not firing on all cylinders, disease will occur. In the past, I wrote about exercise and how it benefits healthy mitochondria. [5]

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Also, the gut microbiome is important for the health of mitochondria. The beneficial bacteria in the gut will produce butyrate, other short chain fatty acids, and lactate from fiber as well as urolithin-A from tannins in food. These metabolites from beneficial bacteria feed healthy mitochondria, support the cells that line the colon, and actually increase diversity in healthy gut bacteria. Since ancient bacteria were the precursors of our modern-day mitochondria, the needs of the mitochondria in our cells are similar to the needs of healthy gut bacteria. There is actually “cross communication” between our gut microbiome and our mitochondria.

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Another important nutrient in all of this is vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is produced by healthy gut bacteria. This vitamin is also available in some fermented foods, organ meats, egg yolks, and grass-fed dairy. Vitamin K2 appears to assist mitochondria by increasing their capacity to create energy.

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So, what will cause mitochondria to malfunction? Mitochondria can become damaged and dysfunctional when necessary nutrients are not available from the gut, when the energy created by mitochondria is less than the free radicals they produce, and when mitochondria are unable to repair themselves or increase their numbers in their host cell. Also, specific environmental elements and medications can be toxic to mitochondria. These include xenoestrogens (estrogen imitators) in the environment, acetaminophen (Tylenol), statins (anti-cholesterol drugs), glyphosate (Roundup), and heavy metals like lead, mercury, and aluminum.

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Kiran Krishnan, the microbiologist and Chief Science Officer of Microbiome Labs, created a webinar about the interplay between healthy gut bacteria, strong mitochondria, and vitamin K2. [6]

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My Protocol

Based on the research I have uncovered and the information Kiran Krishnan provided and documented in his webinar, I want to assist my patients who have gum disease. Supporting healthy mitochondria must be considered with gum treatment. Current research suggests that supporting the mitochondria’s ability to maintain homeostasis in the cell might be lifesaving. [7] To that end, clinical treatment of active gum disease along with supplements, which support healthy mitochondria, could be an ideal protocol to treat periodontal disease.

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I first treat active gum disease by removing local irritants from under the gum tissues and by teaching effective oral hygiene. When advanced gum disease has created jawbone damage, I use the LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) Protocol [8] to assist the body in regenerating new bone around damaged teeth. [9],[10]

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In addition, I encourage my patients to eat nutrient-dense foods and remove the foods that damage the gut. I’ve written about nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods and a primal lifestyle to support overall health. [11] I even discussed this as it applied to my personal life’s challenges. [12]

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Furthermore, I recommend three supplements to support healthy mitochondria – a probiotic called MegasporeBiotic [13], a vitamin K2 supplement called MegaQuinone K2-7 [14], and a mixture of prebiotic fibers to feed the healthy gut microbiome called PaleoFiber [15].

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Probiotic, Vitamin K2, & Prebiotic

MegasporeBiotic is a unique probiotic that can survive the stomach acidity and set up residence in the intestines. It will increase the population of healthy bacteria in the gut and increase the bacteria’s production of butyrate, urolithin-A, and lactate. This probiotic is supplied by Microbiome Labs.

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MegaQuinone K2-7 is a blend of vitamin K2 and several nutrients required by vitamin K2 to enhance the efficiency of the mitochondria. This K2 supplement also is supplied by Microbiome Labs. (Patients taking certain blood thinners may not be able to take this product.)

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PaleoFiber is a combination of fibers derived from fruits, vegetables, roots, seeds, and tree extracts to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. This product is supplied by Designs for Health.

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Dosing:

  • Take two capsules of MegasporeBiotic once a day about 10-20 minutes after a meal so that it can begin providing benefits in the upper intestinal tract. However, it might be necessary to take a smaller dose of the probiotic for a few days and work up to the ideal dose as your body gets used to the probiotic.
  • Take one capsule of MegaQuinone K2-7 with your first meal of the day that contains fat and then another capsule with your last meal of the day that contains fat.
  • Take 2-3 teaspoons of PaleoFiber per day with water or any liquid. You could take it at any time, and you could take more if necessary.

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My recommendation is to take these for at least 60 days. Then, determine the health of the gum tissues. It may or may not be necessary to continue to take these supplements in the future. Some people may want to take them on a regular basis for overall health and quality of life.

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Ben Weitz Interviewed Me:
Rational Wellness Podcast

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
September 26, 2017

 

 

Ben Weitz is the host of Rational Wellness Podcast. He interviewed me and posted the video on YouTube on September 25, 2017. It is a 42-minute discussion about gum disease, healthy dental plaque, unhealthy dental plaque, nutrient-dense foods, fluoride, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and a whole lot more.

 

Join Ben and me by watching the Podcast on YouTube

 

 

 

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