Why Does Rick Have
No Dental Disease?

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

June 13, 2021

https://www.scu.edu.au/engage/news/latest-news/2017/the-first-of-our-kind-scientists-discover-the-oldest-homo-sapiens-fossils-at-jebel-irhoud-morocco.phpMeet one of your primal ancestors. He’s not your immediate relative, but he may be the origin of the human species. The picture above is his lower jaw (i.e., mandible).

This mandible is the oldest discovered remains of Homo Sapiens. It was dated to be about 300,000 years old and was unearthed in Morocco.[1]

Let me personalize this guy. I’ll call him, Rick.

Rick’s Dental Health

I don’t know how old Rick was when he died. But by looking at Rick’s teeth, I would say he is at least 25-years old. I may be way wrong. He may be much older! Here is my reasoning.

Rick has all 16 of his lower teeth. The third molars (i.e., wisdom teeth), which are the last teeth to erupt in human jaws, appear in the mouth between the ages of 17 to 21. The red arrows in the picture below point to the wisdom teeth. So, he is at least 17 – 21 years old.


In addition, all the mandibular teeth have significant wear on the chewing surfaces. The wear patterns occur from chewing hard foods for a long time. Because of this, my guess is that he is at least in his mid-twenties.

But there is a fascinating lack of dental disease in this jaw. Rick does not have any tooth decay or periodontal disease that I can see. How can I tell?

Look at the yellow arrows in the picture below …


The yellow arrows point to healthy jawbone surrounding the roots of the teeth. If Rick had periodontal disease, the bone around the teeth would be melting away from the infection associated with periodontal disease. And if he had tooth decay, I would see obvious break down in the enamel structures of the teeth, which is not evident on these photos.

So, the next big question is, “Why does Rick have no tooth decay and no periodontal disease?”

We know that Rick did not go to his dental cave to have his teeth cleaned every six months or to have fluoride applied to his teeth to prevent decay. We also know that Rick didn’t have a toothbrush or dental floss to keep unhealthy dental plaque from building up around his teeth.

Look at the blue arrows in the picture below …


The blue arrows point to some “junk” between the teeth at the bone level. I believe this is dental calculus (i.e., dental tartar), which is the calcified dental plaque that was present in his mouth while he was alive.

Yes! Dental plaque was present in Rick’s mouth, and he didn’t have tooth decay or periodontal disease.

How could that be? Doesn’t dental plaque cause tooth decay and periodontal disease?

Dental Plaque is Healthy, Until It’s Not

Diet and the health of the gut play important roles in the health of the mouth.

Rick did not eat the junk food which civilized societies eat today. Also, his food didn’t include chemicals which are abundant in our food supply. In addition, he primarily ate large animals, nose-to-tail. We now know this from the research that Dr. Miki Ben-Dor published in his March 2021 peer-reviewed article in American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Rick and his contemporaries had ideal nutrition.

Since their diet was healthy, their gut microbiome was healthy. I can assume their garden of gut bacteria was balanced and flourishing. A nutritious diet and robust gut allowed our primal ancestors’ immune system to function at peak performance. A healthy diet, a thriving gut microbiome, and an efficient immune system would create a balance in their mouth bacteria.

Essentially, all cells in the body communicate with one another in some fashion.

Rick’s healthy dental plaque around his teeth helped prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Healthy dental plaque is a natural biofilm, which provides three primary functions:

  1. The hundreds of bacterial species in healthy dental plaque together produce hydrogen peroxide to kill any invading pathogenic bacteria from getting into the gum crevices. If infection penetrated the gum margins around the teeth, it could lead to infection spreading under the gum, destroying the jawbone, and entering the blood system.
  2. Chemical buffers in healthy dental plaque help prevent acid levels from dropping below a pH of 5.5 around the teeth, which then could cause tooth decay.
  3. Healthy dental plaque acts as a gatekeeper allowing minerals from the saliva to enter the root surfaces 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to remineralize the tooth as needed.

In the US today, poor diets and gut dysbiosis are rampant. The result is a compromised immune system which leads to a leaky gut and chronic systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation affects the mouth bacteria negatively and allows potentially pathogenic microbes to overgrow. In this compromised state, dental plaque changes into an unhealthy biofilm that causes tooth decay and periodontal disease. And the overgrowth of pathogenic microbes are fed by a poor diet consisting especially of refined sugar.

I go into more detail about this in my mini-eBook, Is Your Gut Killing You? In it, I cite 295 peer-reviewed medical papers to support my conclusions about the gut microbiome and its relationships to periodontal disease and other chronic diseases.

Takeaway

Rick had no visible dental disease because:

  • His diet was nutritious and anti-inflammatory
  • His gut bacteria were in balance and supported healthy digestion, absorption of necessary nutrients, and an intact gut lining
  • His immune system efficiently defended him from outside invading microbes
  • His healthy biofilm around his teeth (i.e., healthy dental plaque) maintained an environment of protection from tooth decay and periodontal disease

If we were to change our diet and lifestyle, we could prevent dental diseases and most other chronic diseases from getting a foothold. This may sound like Pollyanna talk, but it is possible and doable. An effort needs to be made, but you can achieve it.

I could guide you if you needed one-on-one assistance. I am here for you. Here is a link to my 12-Week Coaching Program.

[1] https://www.scu.edu.au/engage/news/latest-news/2017/the-first-of-our-kind-scientists-discover-the-oldest-homo-sapiens-fossils-at-jebel-irhoud-morocco.php

 

Check out my training on the Better Belly Blueprint! You can watch it HERE.

 

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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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3 Failures in Dentistry

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 6, 2019

 

3 Failures in Dentistry

 

Dentists help repair or remove broken, damaged, and diseased teeth. Dentists also help replace missing teeth, correct bite and airway problems, and create beautiful smiles. And dentists help treat the results of many acute and chronic infections in the mouth. Unfortunately, dentistry fails the public in several other critical areas.

 

Here is my take on 3 Failures in Dentistry:

 

  1. Not informing patients of potentially toxic elements that are used in dental treatment and their potential consequences in the body.
  2. Not educating patients adequately and in-depth about the obscure and underlying causes of dental diseases.
  3. Not emphasizing the causal relationships between the gut, the mouth, and the overall health of patients.

 

I know I will get quite a bit of blowback from my comments in this blog. My intention is to bring to the forefront the weaknesses of my profession so that dental professionals and dental educators can improve the delivery of oral healthcare, which ultimately affects overall health. Also, my intention is to help the public understand the failures I’ve stated and ask intelligent questions to their healthcare professionals.

 

 

STATS

If dentists were successfully treating and preventing dental diseases, then the prevalence of periodontal disease and tooth decay should be very low. However, dental diseases are at epidemic levels.

 

 

Prevalence of Periodontal Disease Today

In 2010, a published paper revealed that 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gingivitis.[1]

 

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their results in the Journal of Dental Research. The report was recently updated in 2015 in the Journal of Periodontology.[2] It showed the prevalence of periodontitis was estimated to be 47.2% for American adults (approximately 64.7 million people). For adults 65 years old and older, the prevalence jumped to 70.1%. These findings were the result of the most comprehensive periodontal evaluation performed ever in the US.

 

 

Prevalence of Tooth Decay Today

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported from its most recent data approximately 91% of U.S. adults aged 20–64 had dental caries in permanent teeth.[3] The prevalence increases to 93% for those above 65 years old.[4]

 

The World Health Organization has stated that dental decay is one of the most infectious, non-communicable diseases globally.[5]

 

 

Addressing the 3 Failures

1: Understand potential toxicities

Many dental materials, medicaments, and procedures are used routinely in the dental office. And many of them have been shown to be potentially toxic to human cells. Of course, toxicity usually depends on the dose and the frequency of exposure. But if a toxic element is in the mouth 24/7, then its presence could be potentially harmful.

 

As you may know, I am treating my aggressive form of multiple myeloma through various unconventional protocols. I believe my bone marrow cancer was directly related to my excessive exposure to various toxic elements in dentistry – especially my continued exposure to mercury and ionizing dental radiation while in dental school and during my early years in practice. Yet, there is no way I can prove this.

 

I’ve listed a few of the substances and procedures that are frequently used in the dental office that might be toxic for some patients and the dental team. I also have provided links to peer-reviewed articles that go into detail about their toxicities:

 

  • Methacrylate[6]
  • Mercury amalgams[7]
  • BPA in some composite materials[8]
  • Fluoride products[9]
  • Titanium[10]
  • Nitrous oxide[11]
  • Chlorhexidine[12]
  • Antimicrobial mouthwashes[13]
  • Peroxide at-home bleaching[14]
  • Ionizing dental radiation[15]

 

 

2: Learn about obscure causes of dental diseases

Three human studies clearly show that nutrition is the critical element to a healthy mouth – Baumgartner (2009)[16], Woelber (2016)[17], Woelber (2019)[18]. I have described these results many times. Each of these studies determined that removing dental plaque by brushing and flossing was not critical to improve oral health as long as diet was corrected. Specifically, the researchers demonstrated that changing from a diet abundant in high-processed-carbohydrate and inflammatory foods to a diet excluding high-processed-carbohydrate and inflammatory foods will decrease signs of gum disease.

 

In a paper published in the Journal of Dental Research in 2015, Aubrey Sheiham summarized many peer-reviewed research articles, which clearly showed that free-sugars were required to cause tooth decay.[19] And the removal of free-sugars from the diet greatly reduced or eliminated tooth decay.

 

 

3: Study the causal relationships within the body

Detrimental lifestyle, toxic elements in the environment, toxic substances accumulating in the body, and inflammatory foods are major factors that can damage the gut and create unhealthy gut bacteria (gut dysbiosis). Leakage from a damaged gut into the bloodstream and into the lymph fluid can cause systemic chronic inflammation and a compromised immune system. Both systemic chronic inflammation and a compromised immune system can cause havoc in other body tissues including the mouth.

 

In the mouth, these may cause an overgrowth of pathological bacteria. Unhealthy food choices will continue to feed the pathological bacteria. As you know, unhealthy bacteria will cause periodontal disease and tooth decay. Dental diseases potentially could affect all other areas in the body causing a vicious back-and-forth cycle between the mouth, the gut, and other tissues of the body.

 

 

Summary

The 3 failures in dentistry should be addressed and corrected. Dentists need to (1) inform patients about potential toxicity from dental procedures and only use the most biocompatible materials, (2) learn about the obscure causes of dental diseases, and (3) become knowledgeable about causal relationships within the body.

 

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=20437720

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4460825/

[3] http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/DentalCaries/DentalCariesAdults20to64.htm

[4] http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/DentalCaries/DentalCariesSeniors65older.htm

[5] http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/149782/1/9789241549028_eng.pdf

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30099197

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466133/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25813067

[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27199224

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5216395/

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29859645

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28510277

[13] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11906-017-0725-2

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27091347

[15] https://fb.cuni.cz/file/5700/FB2013A0027.pdf

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19405829

[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962497/pdf/12903_2016_Article_257.pdf

[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1111%2Fjcpe.13094

[19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Diet+and+Dental+Caries%3A+The+Pivotal+Role+of+Free+Sugars+Reemphasized

 

 

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Tooth Decay
– 5 Things You May Not Know –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
August 27, 2018

 

 

Tooth DecayTooth decay is an epidemic in the civilized world today. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has determined that 92% of adults have had tooth decay! However, the fact is that teeth are not designed to rot.

 

Take a look at animals in the wild. Rarely do they have tooth decay. In addition, our primal ancestors rarely had tooth decay. When we examine the mouths of some isolated primal societies living today, it is rare to find tooth decay. The fact is that dental decay is predominantly the result of lifestyle factors that plague our civilized world.

 

 

Dentistry’s Answer to Tooth Decay

Several years ago, while I was working as a periodontist in a general dental office, I remember several parents who brought their children into the office. These parents asked, “Why do my kids have so much tooth decay?” The disconnect was that these parents were holding a bottle of “Mountain Dew”. For that reason alone, their families were at a high risk for tooth decay primarily because of bad food choices.

 

To offset the risk and damage of tooth decay, dentistry developed various “barriers” to coat the teeth to prevent and stop decay. Also, chemicals were discovered and created to kill bacteria in the mouth as well as to help remineralize teeth. These products could decrease tooth decay and possibly repair damage. Unfortunately, some of these barriers and chemicals could produce unhealthy effects in the body. While barriers and chemicals may help stop and repair decay, it would be more productive, less expensive, and healthier to prevent this disease naturally.

 

Fortunately, there are biological reasons for tooth decay that we can control. We just need to know. We need to be proactive. Here are 5 things that you may not know.

 

 

5 Things You May Not Know

  1. A healthy gut supports a healthy mouth: If you increase the diversity of healthy bacteria in the gut, you will increase the healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. More variety of bacteria in the mouth is healthy. Balanced bacteria in the mouth help to prevent tooth decay.
  2. A healthy immune system can prevent unhealthy changes in the bacteria in the mouth: The body is always fighting off unhealthy bacteria. If it didn’t, we would die as soon as we took a deep breath or got a cut on our finger. A healthy immune system is an important factor to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth.
  3. Saliva carries necessary nutrients: Saliva constantly bathes the teeth. Nutrients in the saliva can neutralize excess acids and can provide calcium and phosphate ions to remineralize the tooth surface 24/7.
  4. Dental plaque is healthy until it’s not: Plaque provides at least 3 beneficial effects to the tooth surface. The family of bacteria in dental plaque maintains a healthy acid level around the teeth, kills off other pathogenic bacteria that try to invade the space, and allows necessary nutrients to enter the surface of the tooth to repair early decay.
  5. Sugars feed decay-causing bacteria, and acids demineralize teeth: Sugars will feed unhealthy bacteria to produce acids that decay teeth. Also, drinking soda and eating highly acidic foods can damage the balance of bacteria in dental plaque. Unhealthy changes in dental plaque, which cause excess acids, will weaken the surface of teeth. The end result is tooth decay.

 

 

Be Proactive

  • Provide healthy food choices that don’t damage the gut and that don’t feed bad bacteria in the mouth. I have written about nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods many times in the past. Here is one article.
  • Learn the correct way to clean your mouth efficiently. Here is an article I wrote that explains how to do it.
  • Consider taking spore-based probiotics. These have been shown to survive stomach acid and improve gut health. Here is research published in 2017 that supports this benefit.
  • Schedule dental appointments regularly with a dentist who understands the biological needs of the mouth and practices preventive dentistry.

 

 

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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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Sugar Causes More Than Rotten Teeth

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
July 24, 2017

 

 

Sugar causes more than rotten teethI have written about soda and sugar’s effects on the mouth. Sugar alone is the major cause of tooth decay. However, sugar causes more than rotten teeth. It is the major cause of metabolic syndrome, which is the precursor to many chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

 

Metabolic syndrome, as a precursor to many diseases, is the name for a group of risk factors. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have at least three of these risk factors:

  • Large waistline
  • High triglyceride level
  • Low HDL-Cholesterol level
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood sugar

 

Unique Research

Robert Lustig, MD, and his co-researchers wrote two interesting papers, which were published in 2016. They studied 43 children with obesity and metabolic syndrome. The study lasted 10 days. At the start of the study, researchers recorded the children’s specific parameters for metabolic syndrome while on their normal diet. Over the course of the remaining nine days, the children were given meals to eat, which had all added-sugars removed. Basically, the children ate the same calories including the same protein and fat percentages as their normal diet. However, starchy foods replaced all added-sugar foods . The diet even included unhealthy processed foods, which did not include added-sugars. If the participants’ weight declined during the trial, the researchers increased the amount of food to sustain their weight without adding any sugars. At the end of ten days, the researchers again recorded the measureable markers of metabolic syndrome.

 

The results demonstrated that every aspect of their metabolic health improved, with no change in weight since weight was controlled. Blood pressure, triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance all improved. All this happened in only nine days by removing added-sugars.

 

In a further analysis and later publication of this study, there was an improvement in lipoprotein profiles, which indicated a reduction of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Specifically, there was a reduction in TG, apoB, apoC-II, apoC-III, apoE, and LDL-C. In addition, LDL size increased, small-sized HDL decreased, and the TG/HDL ratio lowered. Once again, these improvements occurred after removing all added-sugars for only nine days!

 

This study shows that sugar is a major causative factor for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk. The authors stated that this was the first human research project in obese children exhibiting metabolic syndrome that demonstrated that health detriments of sugar, and fructose specifically, were independent of sugar’s caloric value or effects on weight. The takeaway is that all of us can improve our overall health by just removing added-sugars from what we eat.

 

My Patients

I am concerned with oral health and overall health. Many of my patients want to change their nutrition and lifestyle to improve their overall health and their dental health. For those patients, I first suggest they fill out a 3-Day Food Journal. Their Journal will show them and me the foods they are eating that may be harmful to their bodies. Then, I isolate the most offending foods and suggest substitutions that may be healthier. Processed grains, all added and concentrated sugars, and unhealthy fats and oils are the most offending foods. That’s how I start my education program for all who want to be proactive with their health.

 

Primal societies eating their traditional diets rarely have dental decay, gum disease, or other chronic diseases. Here is a chart that speaks a thousand words, showing prevalence of dental decay for primal societies who eat their traditional diets compared to those who eat modern diets.

 

 

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Dental Disease
Stop with the labels; Get to the causes

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
November 21, 2016

 

 

labelsDental disease is a label. Just as cardiovascular disease is a label. Rheumatoid arthritis is a label. Multiple sclerosis is a label. Let’s stop with the labels, and get to the causes.

 

Disease Labels

The medical field puts labels on all disease states. These labels define how the disease manifests in the body. There are specific signs and symptoms that define specifically named diseases. However, the label says nothing about what really has caused this specific disease. Most of these diseases are chronic, meaning they (1) last a long time, (2) don’t resolve by themselves, and (3) frequently have various factors that give rise to the disease. Many chronic diseases are also autoimmune, which means the body’s immune system is attacking itself.

 

Dental diseases, for the most part, are chronic diseases. These includes gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease generally is further subdivided into gingivitis (gum infection) and periodontitis (infection that is destroying the jawbone surrounding the roots of teeth). However, the labels of gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay don’t identify what has happened to the body to cause these diseases.

 

The Gut

Science has shown that most of these chronic diseases originate from something that happens in the gut. Genetic factors may determine what kinds of chronic diseases eventually occur, but the first damage seems to be related to something that happens in the gut that is not supposed to happen.

 

Harmful bacterial overgrowth in the gut is one of the factors that occurs before chronic disease becomes a problem. Damage to the lining of the gut, which is only one-cell layer thick, is another factor that causes chronic disease. Almost all autoimmune diseases are ultimately related to damage in the gut before they emerge in the human body. Gum disease has been identified to some extent to be an autoimmune disease.

 

“Betrayal Series”

Dr. Tom O’Bryan and 85 other healthcare professionals have come together to create a series of videos about how autoimmune disease can be traced back to damage starting in the gut. It’s called the Betrayal Series. This is a great series, and it made its free debut on the Internet on November 14, 2016. The total viewing time for all 7 episodes is about 9 hours. Once the free viewing ends, they will become available for purchase. You could find more information about these videos on Betrayal’s website.

 

The bottom line is that (1) a compromised immune system and (2) virulent changes of the natural bacteria in the mouth can be traced back to damage created in the gut. Specific foods we eat and various toxic substances we ingest are instrumental in causing damage to the gut. Dental disease, including gum disease and dental decay, could be significantly improved if the gut’s damage is understood and lifestyle changes are implemented to heal the gut. The Betrayal Series is an excellent educational tool to help you understand the relationship between your gut and the rest of your body, including your mouth.

 

 

 

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Why Do I Have Tooth Decay?
4 “Whys” & 5 “Solutions”

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
October 17, 2016  


why-do-i-have-tooth-decayBeing a periodontist, my patients come to see me for gum problems. However, they often ask me, “Why do I have tooth decay?” Here are some specific facts about tooth decay:

  • Tooth decay is the most common infectious disease known to modern civilization. HERE.
  • Our human species evolved for about 2.5 million years with little or no tooth decay. HERE.
  • Many people who brush and floss daily still have tooth decay. HERE.

 

4 “Whys”

  1. Free sugars feed unhealthy mouth bacteria.
  2. These unhealthy bacteria overgrow around teeth and produce acids that cause tooth decay.
  3. You may not be cleaning your mouth properly. Therefore, you may not be removing unhealthy clumps of bacteria from around your teeth.
  4. You may not be eating a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, which would support your healthy mouth bacteria and would provide essential nutrients to strengthen your immune system and your teeth.

 

5 “Solutions”

  1. Eliminate (or drastically reduce) free sugars from your diet. Free sugars consist of sugars added to foods plus those sugars naturally present in syrups, fruit juices, and concentrates. Free sugars are the primary cause of tooth decay. HERE.
  2. Schedule an appointment with a dental hygienist to have a professional and thorough dental cleaning. This will remove harmful clumps of bacteria and calcified bacteria called dental tartar (dental calculus) from around your teeth. A cleaning like this will give you a clean and fresh start moving forward.
  3. Understand the importance of dental plaque. Dental plaque is a complex community of microbes that attaches to your teeth at the gum line. Dental plaque is not a bad thing. Healthy dental plaque plays an important role by fighting bad bacteria, remineralizing the tooth surface, and keeping acid levels stable. Your goal should not be to prevent healthy plaque from forming. However, free sugars feed certain bacteria in dental plaque and allow them to overgrow and become bad players.
  4. Learn how to effectively clean your teeth. Unhealthy plaque must be removed. Most patients I see think they are cleaning their teeth properly. But, when I show them how to do it correctly, they realize they were not doing a good job. I have written about how to clean your teeth HERE.
  5. Educate yourself about a healthy diet. A nutrient-dense diet will provide all the elements necessary to keep your teeth and immune system strong. I have written about nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diets HERE.

 

My Closing Thoughts

Free sugars cause tooth decay. They must be eliminated or greatly reduced. It is important to eat foods that support levels of healthy bacteria.

 

Much of the bacteria in your mouth serve an important purpose. You do not want to kill all bacteria in your mouth indiscriminately. However, it is important to remove unhealthy clumps of bacteria from around your teeth by cleaning your mouth properly.

 

Now you should be able to answer your question, “Why do I have tooth decay?” If you understand and follow my 5 solutions above, you will prevent tooth decay. The World Health Organization published a paper in 2015 about the horrors of free sugar in the human diet. You may find it informative. HERE.

 

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