Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
March 27, 2017
Do I have bad bacteria in my own mouth? If I did, could they be out of control? I wanted to know.
A few weeks ago I wrote “Gum Disease: When Bad Bugs Revolt”. In that article, I described a unique saliva test, which could identify both (1) pathogenic bacteria that could cause serious disease and (2) a specific antibiotic regimen to eradicate them. I was curious about what might be living in my mouth. Could there be levels of bad bacteria in my own mouth that could be potentially harmful? I wanted to find out.
My Test & My Retest
To test the bacteria in my mouth, I provided a personal saliva sample like I described in my article “Gum Disease: When Bad Bugs Revolt”. I first used a Soft Pick made by GUM to loosen the dental plaque between my teeth. Then I spit into the sterile specimen jar supplied in the test package. Off it went to PathoGenius Lab for DNA testing.
In a few days, the results came back. To my surprise, I had a high percentage of Porphyromonas species. These could be potentially unhealthy in large numbers.
Many types of bacteria, including Porphyromonas species, are required for periodontal disease to progress. However, virulent species of Porphyromonas can live inside healthy cells around the tooth root. Also, they can cause a breakdown in the lining of capillaries and then infiltrate into the bloodstream. These species contribute to advanced gum disease and chronic inflammation. Inflammation circulating in the body is a major factor in most chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and many more labeled diseases.
Although I had no clinical manifestations of disease, I wanted to experiment on myself. I wanted to determine if I could reduce the concentration of these bacteria in my mouth. My personal clinical study consisted of a sample population of N =1. Certainly, this would not be a statistically significant trial.
To reduce these bad bacteria in my own mouth, I considered an antimicrobial program. But, I didn’t want to use an antibiotic that could damage the healthy microbes in my mouth and in my gut. I knew my pharmaceutical choices were limited. So, I chose a natural, biological route – raw Manuka honey with a 75% Manuka pollen count. I have written about the healing benefits of honey in the past, but here is a peer-reviewed article about Manuka honey, periodontal disease, and Porphyromonas gingivalis.
My Manuka Honey Regimen
I cleaned my mouth with Manuka honey in the morning and at bedtime. For 30 days, my treatment went like this:
- I dipped a Soft Pick into the honey and used it between my teeth. I not only was able to scrub off the plaque between my teeth, but I also was able to deposit the honey there.
- Then, I dipped my electric toothbrush into the honey and brushed into the gum margins around my teeth. This allowed me to get the honey where the bacteria could be hiding.
After 30 days of my daily routine, I provided another saliva sample, which I sent to PathoGenius. Then, I waited for the second report from the Lab.
The results were encouraging. However, as I mentioned above, the results are not statistically significant because the sample size was only “one”.
Specific Porphyromonas species in my mouth decreased from 18% to 8% without the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Importantly, friendly bacteria continued to flourish to maintain a healthy composition of dental plaque. Many species of bacteria must live in a balanced state within dental plaque in order to contribute to health. It is important to understand that dental plaque is healthy until it becomes unhealthy.
Published medical research shows Manuka honey to be effective in healing damaged tissues. Having selected this natural course, I avoided a drug that could have disrupted the delicate balance of my other healthy bacteria. I’m not going to use honey everyday because I don’t have active gum disease. But, I believe that Manuka honey might assist the body in healing disease.