Mouth Bacteria & Blood Pressure

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
June 5, 2017 [printfriendly]



Mouth Bacteria & Blood PressureNew research is revolutionizing the way physicians and dentists will appreciate the beneficial role of healthy mouth bacteria. There is a relationship between killing good bacteria in the mouth and increasing the risk of elevated blood pressure. Medical and dental professions should help educate their patients to the dangers of killing good bacteria in the mouth.


Good Mouth Bacteria

I wrote an article in 2016 about the balance of bacteria in the mouth. In early 2017, I posted a blog titled, Want Healthy Gums? In this article I explained the importance about good mouth bacteria and a critical biological process where these bacteria help create necessary nitric oxide for the body. New medical research is proving there are harmful consequences to our blood pressure and heart health if these healthy mouth bacteria are destroyed indiscriminately.


“Nitrate to Nitrite to Nitric-Oxide” Pathway

Specific and naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria on the top surface of your tongue play a necessary role in overall health. These bacteria eventually initiate the development of a large percentage of nitric oxide throughout the body.


Here’s how it happens:


After you eat leafy greens that contain natural nitrates, your body absorbs these nitrates through your upper GI tract. About 25% of these nitrates are concentrated into your saliva. The normal anaerobic bacteria on your tongue change the nitrates in the saliva into nitrites. Then, you swallow the nitrites. Nitrites then move throughout your body and are further changed into nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is critical for overall health.


Some of the functions of nitric oxide are to reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve athletic performance, and improve gum health.


Review of Blood Pressure Research

In 2017, Nathan S. Bryan and coauthors reviewed the current research describing the importance of oral bacteria on the nitrate/nitrite/nitric-oxide pathway. The authors concluded,


With the loss of NO signaling and homeostasis being one of the earliest events in the onset and progression of cardiovascular disease, targeting microbial communities early in the process may lead to better preventative interventions in cardiovascular medicine.


The authors further stated at the end of their article:


  • Disruption of nitrite and NO production in the oral cavity may contribute to the oral-systemic link between oral hygiene and cardiovascular risk and disease.
  • It may be time to discourage the use of antiseptic mouthwash.
  • Therapeutically, then, perhaps an effective strategy to promote NO production and overcome conditions of NO insufficiency may “be targeted to” specific oral nitrate-reducing bacterial communities and increasing the consumption of nitrite and nitrate enriched foods and vegetables.
  • Because NO signaling affects all organ systems and almost all disease processes described to date, this novel approach to NO regulation has the potential to affect the study and treatment of many diseases across all organ systems.


Take Away Points

  • Don’t use antimicrobial mouthwashes on a regular basis.
  • Eat organic leafy greens daily that are high in naturally occurring nitrates (examples: Arugula, Spinach, Butter Leaf and Oak Leaf Lettuces, Swish Chard, and Beet Greens).



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You can stop gum disease

evolution rThis is a mighty big statement that requires an explanation.


First, think about this question: If there were a species whose only means of getting nutrition was by chewing food, and if this species had rampant tooth and gum disease causing the loss of those precious teeth, what would happen to that species over thousands of years of evolution? The answer: This species would die off, because it couldn’t survive over time.
Now consider this fact: Primitive man and woman from Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods did not have gum disease or tooth decay. Why is that?


Let’s step back and consider animals in the wild. They don’t develop dental decay or gum disease or degenerative diseases like modern-day humans, and they don’t get fat like modern-day humans, either. They may lose a tooth in combat, and they do gain weight intentionally to prepare for the cold, winter months or hibernation, but they use this storage naturally and lose it naturally. They eat food in the wild when their bodies tell them they are hungry, and they stop eating when their bodies tell them they are full. But get this: When chimpanzees and other wild animals are raised in captivity, they do have dental problems; they do get fat; and they do develop chronic degenerative diseases if they are not fed their natural diets.


The differences between wild animals and us are that there are no fast foods or sugary drinks or frozen dinners with a gazillion additives and preservatives in the wild. Wild animals don’t eat meat that has been artificially fattened with hormones and antibiotics. And they don’t eat genetically modified foods that have never been tested for long-term effects on their bodies. Wild animals eat what their bodies have been designed to eat for thousands of years. In contrast, we eat what has been processed, refined, hybridized, and genetically modified over the last several decades. Our bodies are rebelling.


Primitive man and woman were hunters and gatherers. They ate the foods that their environments provided for them. They did not eat the processed, refined, hybridized, and genetically modified “foods” we stuff into our bodies every day.


Today, over 95 percent of all gum disease and tooth decay is caused by harmful bacteria in our mouths. And harmful bacteria in our mouths are created by harmful bacteria in our gut. And harmful bacteria in our gut are increased by certain foods we eat—specifically dense carbohydrates and refined sugars—those highly processed, refined, hybridized, and genetically modified “foods” of modern-day lifestyles.


Current medical evidence suggests that many modern-day diseases, including gum disease, may have their root cause from the unhealthy bacteria in our gut. If we can transform the harmful bacteria in our gut into friendly bacteria, then many of our modern-day diseases might be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether. Wow! What a powerful possibility!


What do you think might happen to gum disease if we actually address the nutritional causes of the disease, and then treat it with the most cutting-edge method that is becoming the standard of care in dentistry today?


Here is what you could do: You could make healthier choices with your meals by eliminating the bad foods, specifically grains and grain products, as well as processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup and other refined sugars. In addition, you could include fermented foods like sauerkraut
and yogurt and kefir daily, which may help repopulate the good bacteria in your gut and replace the bad bacteria. Of course, this will take time. It won’t happen in just a few weeks. So be patient.


Along with improving the nutritional balance in your body, the source of major gum problems could be treated with the PerioLase® Laser, which kills the bacteria causing this disease without harming healthy cells and without using a scalpel or sutures. It also helps grow new bone.


Laser treatment results in better outcomes with less discomfort and quicker recovery times than traditional surgical methods. The laser treatment is called LANAP® (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure).


So here’s the bottom line. You can stop gum disease by:

  • Making healthier food choices
  • Repopulating the friendly bacteria in your gut by eating a variety of fermented foods
  • Eliminating unhealthy mouth bacteria through the use of evidence-based, patient-friendly treatment
  • Repairing any damage that has already been done in your mouth with necessary dental treatment
  • Maintaining a healthy body through healthy eating and a physically active lifestyle, incorporating effective exercise, proper sleep, and stress reduction.


(This article originally appeared in CH2)