Mouth Ulcers
some get them; some don’t

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

March 2, 2020 [printfriendly]


Mouth Ulcers


Hippocrates was a Greek physician who lived over 2000 years ago. Today, he is known as the “Father of Modern Medicine”. Reportedly, he succinctly stated: “All disease begins in the gut.” And most often, mouth ulcers can be traced back to problems in your gut.[1]

It is critical to realize that the mouth is not an island unto itself. Whatever happens to one cell in the body ultimately can affect every other cell in the body. As a matter of fact, the mouth may be one of the first visible areas of the body which can show signs and symptoms of many systemic diseases.


Your Gut

Your gut has more beneficial bacteria than you have human cells in your body – about 38 trillion bacteria cells and about 30 trillion human cells. The microbes in your gut perform so many tasks that help you survive and thrive. The bacteria stimulate and enhance the immune system, prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, manufacture various vitamins, and produce short-chain fatty acids from the fermentation of various amino acids and dietary fibers.

Short chain fatty acids are vital to your health. They are a source of energy for the cells making up the wall of the colon (colonocytes). They assist in sugar metabolism, curb your hunger, and help with weight loss. In addition, short chain fatty acids improve the absorption of minerals, reduce systemic inflammation, and improve overall intestinal health. All this is accomplished by the short chain fatty acids that are created by the beneficial garden of bacteria that live in your gut.

But what would happen if these bacteria got out of balance and bad guys began to overgrow?


Gut Dysbiosis

The result, which is called “gut dysbiosis”, would be havoc. Havoc in the gut, havoc in the blood system, and havoc in your mouth and other areas throughout your body.

Harmful cascading events occur when there is gut dysbiosis.

The epithelial barrier, which is the outer wall of the gut, starts to break down. This barrier is made up of only one cell layer. These cells are held together by “tight junctions”, which are like hinges that hold a door in place. These “tight junctions” become weakened when there is gut dysbiosis and become unhinged, creating opening between cells. Stuff in the gut that should never leak into the blood system starts passing through these unhinged openings and contaminating the blood system. This is called a “leaky gut”.

At the same time, the unhealthy growing mass of gut bacteria stimulates the immune system leading to an explosion of inflammation. If gut dysbiosis is not treated quickly, the inflammation continues and spreads throughout the body affecting every cell and organ system in the body.

Chronic diseases and autoimmune diseases have their origin in this untreated and unhealthy gut. Some of the specific diseases associated with gut dysbiosis are ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, allergies, systemic lupus erythematosus, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, food intolerances, cancer, periodontal disease, and mouth ulcers – just to name a few!


Mouth Ulcers and Lesions

Have you had sores on your tongue, sores on the inside surface lining of your cheeks, sores on your gum tissues, or sores in the corners of your mouth? Many of these ulcers and lesions are painful. Some are red and inflamed, some look like white lines, some appear to be clear “pimples”. But all are signs of your body reacting to something going wrong in your immune system. Most of the time, gut dysbiosis is the source of these disturbances. These ulcers and lesions have different names. Examples are aphthous ulcers, angular cheilitis, glossitis, lichen planus, etc. These ulcers and lesions may heal and disappear if the health of the gut is restored.



To heal mouth ulcers and lesions, which have resulted from a disturbance in the healthy garden of bacteria in the gut, the gut must be healed. To do this, whatever factors that caused gut dysbiosis also must be understood and corrected. If the causes are not identified and removed, then the gut could never heal.

For example, if you had a splinter in your finger, the area could not heal until the splinter was removed. Likewise, if there are irritants or “splinters” causing your gut to become unhealthy, there would be no way to return to a healthy gut until all the “splinters” were eliminated.

The gut microbiome and the epithelial lining of the gut become damaged from many different irritants. Some of these irritating influences are:

    • Stresses on the body (including emotional, physical, or chemical)
      These could be serious but unrecognized causes. A significant chemical stress to the gut is glyphosate herbicide (Roundup) that damages the DNA in human cells; inhibits the growth of healthy bacteria, and directly causes leaky gut. In addition, stress to the immune system from metal ions leaking from titanium implants placed in the body and chemicals leaking from breast implants can cause chronic systemic inflammation, damaging the gut microbiome. Also, failing dental work; toxic dental materials; and oral infections in the gum tissues, teeth, and jawbone could be significant factors.


    • Other lifestyle and environmental stresses to the body
      Included are heavy metal toxicity, over exercising, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation and sleep apnea, continuous exposure to dirty electromagnetic fields, excessive blue-light exposure especially in the evening, smoking, alcohol consumption, and lack of proper sunlight that is essential for the production of vitamin D3.


    • Processed foods
      Overly processed vegetable and seed oils, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats and oils, packaged prepared foods, processed sugars and carbohydrates, or other junk and chemicals in foods will have a harmful effect on the gut.


    • All plant foods
      Plants have the potential to irritate the gut by way of their anti-nutrients. Substances like phytates, oxalates, and lectins that exist in plants could damage the gut bacteria and intestinal barrier. Eliminating all plant foods for a period of time could assist the gut in healing itself. Then, plant foods could be reintroduced individually and slowly later. The Carnivore Diet could be used as an elimination diet to allow the gut to heal.


    • Specific medications
      Over-the-counter and prescription medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, alcohol, narcotics, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, hydrogen peroxide, and birth control pills could result in leaky gut.


    • Low dose ionizing radiation
      X-rays have a cumulative harmful effect. In our society, excessive dental and medical x-rays over the course of time can cause damage to the gut bacteria and the epithelial lining.


At the same time that irritants to the gut are removed or avoided, the healthy garden of gut bacteria must be restored, and the gut epithelial barrier must be repaired. I have prepared two PDFs that I give to my patients: Dr. Danenberg’s 30-Day Transition to the Carnivore Diet and a Protocol to Restore Normal Gut Bacteria.


From Me to You

Recently, I was asked to write a chapter for a peer-reviewed medical textbook tentatively titled, “Digestion, Metabolism and Immune Health”. My chapter is titled, The Etiology of Gut Dysbiosis and its Role in Chronic Disease”. It will be one of 25 tentatively scheduled chapters for the book. My chapter has been accepted by the publishers. The tentative date of publication is the end of 2020 or early 2021. However, I have prepared an extensive paper that I titled, Your Gut is Killing You, which is based on my chapter. As more research comes to my attention, I have been updating this paper regularly. Currently, it is over 12,200 words in length and includes 260 cited peer-reviewed references.





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