Word of Mouth

Gum dis­ease and other oral health prob­lems can be a sign that your body is out of balance


Q My den­tist told me that poor den­tal/ oral health can in­crease the risk for other dis­eases. Is this just an ur­ban leg­end to gen­er­ate more den­tal busi­ness?

— Ryan K., Min­neapo­lis

a: No, it’s not an ur­ban leg­end at all. The link be­tween poor oral health and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease has long been es­tab­lished. And more re­cently, re­searchers have been tak­ing a great deal of in­ter­est in the gut- brain axis, which in­volves the con­nec­tion be­tween in­testi­nal health and men­tal health.

The good bugs that re­side through­out our bod­ies— in­clud­ing in the mouth— work in many ways, largely by help­ing to digest nu­tri­ents so they can be ab­sorbed, and also by help­ing to form en­zymes and neu­ro­trans­mit­ters, in­clud­ing adren­a­line, cor­ti­sol, sero­tonin, and GABA.

This del­i­cate balance of mi­crobes in the mouth and rest of the di­ges­tive tract can be thrown out of whack eas­ily, cre­at­ing a range of health prob­lems. For in­stance, there is a lot of mi­crofl oradis­rupt­ing junk out there pos­ing as “food.” I don’t want to sound judg­men­tal, but I’m al­ways shocked when I walk into a su­pers­tore and see aisle upon aisle of fl uff ed- up, GMO- laced corn- carbs with ar­tifi cial fl avor­ings. Pro­tect your brain! Don’t walk down these aisles.

Your Mouth Is Full of Bac­te­ria & Why It Mat­ters

The mu­cosa- cov­ered sur­faces in your mouth are prime tar­gets for bac­te­ria, and var­i­ous types can be found on the throat, tongue, teeth, and gums no mat­ter how healthy you are— es­pe­cially Strep­to­coc­cus, Neis­se­ria, Fu­sobac­terium, and Prevotella bac­te­ria. Re­cent re­search shows that Parkinson’s pa­tients are low in Prevotella bugs in their mouth and gut.

The mouth is sub­jected to con­stant en­vi­ron­men­tal changes, and any dis­tur­bance in the mouth leads to changes in mi­crofl ora. When con­di­tions are dis­rupted, and the help­ful bac­te­ria are outnumbered by path­o­genic bac­te­ria, dis­eases can oc­cur. Some of the same bac­te­ria that cause bad breath on the tongue will cause pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease be­tween the gum and the tooth sur­face.

To help re­store bac­te­rial balance to your mouth and throat, pro­bi­otic for­mu­las fea­tur­ing Strep­to­coc­cus sali­var­ius K12 are avail­able. These are de­signed to sup­port your body’s key nat­u­ral de­fense sys­tem. In ad­di­tion to pro­bi­otics, cal­cium, mag­ne­sium, sil­ica, zinc, vi­ta­min C, and CoQ10 are all im­por­tant for oral health.

What Else Can You Do?

Brush and fl oss your teeth twice daily. If your teeth are ir­reg­u­larly spaced, also con­sider water- pik­ing. Rinse your mouth out right af­ter eat­ing any­thing, even a small snack. Eat lively foods ( e. g., pick­les, yo­gurt, kim­chi) and raw foods daily. Go easy on an­i­mal products, or go ve­gan. Check it out. You might feel even bet­ter!

Emily A. Kane, ND,

LAc, has a pri­vate naturopathic prac­tice in Juneau, Alaska, where she lives with her hus­band and daugh­ter. She is the au­thor of two books on nat­u­ral health, in­clud­ing Manag­ing Menopause Nat­u­rally. Visit her on­line at dremi­lykane. com.

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