Periodontitis and Metabolic Syndrome are manifestations of chronic inflammation. Could there be a causal relationship between the chronic inflammation of gum disease and the chronic inflammation of metabolic syndrome? The answer lies in the fact that practically all chronic diseases start with inflammation on the cellular level. If chronic inflammation could be brought under control, cells might have the potential to heal.
Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease where the gums are infected and the bone surrounding the teeth is breaking down leading to loss of teeth and spread of infection. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of disorders including high blood pressure, increased belly fat, high blood triglyceride, low blood HDL cholesterol, and increased blood sugar. These disorders lead to type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Current research has shown that there is a definite association between metabolic syndrome and periodontitis (Here and Here). A review paper published in April 2015 discussed the relationships between autoimmunity and various chronic diseases, and a paper published in May 2014 described the role of autoimmune responses in periodontal disease.
Possibly reducing the markers for metabolic syndrome will also reduce the prevalence of periodontitis.
- In a paper published in 2009, a Paleo-type diet reduced gingival inflammation, virulent bacteria around the gum tissues, and the depth of gum pockets.
- In 2012, Ian Spreadbury described how acellular carbohydrates (processed grains and sugars) as well as remnants of harmful bacteria (lipopolysaccharides or LPS) could pass through the intestinal lining to create chronic inflammation.
- In 2014, a Paleo-type diet was shown to improve the markers of metabolic syndrome.
Skeptics, and those who strictly adhere to the proof of randomized clinical trials, will argue that currently there is not sufficient long-term evidence to unequivocally verify a causal relationship between a Paleo-type diet and health. There is much research to be done and to be published in peer-reviewed journals before defined causation could be proven.
I don’t know how many years it will take for the scientific community to pronounce, “Now it is proven!” Personally, the current published research is enough to convince me. I believe a Paleo-type diet is part of the lifestyle to choose if you want to become and stay the healthiest your genetic code has designed for you. Embracing a Paleo lifestyle will not only help promote a healthy mouth but also assist in maintaining a healthy body. Heal one cell at a time, and your body will thank you. The backdrop for my conviction is the two-and-a-half million years of our species’ evolution.