Periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and even dementia.
According to periodontist and functional medicine practitioner Dr Alvin Danenberg, simply changing diet and lifestyle habits hold the key to reversing this major health threat. In his opinion, a carbohydrate-rich diet, along with processed flour and sugar products, causes caries and gum disease.
Increased consumption of cereals has created a marked increase in plaque, while sugars in syrups, juices, sodas and concentrates produce acids that cause tooth decay. Dr Danenberg points out that this combination in our modern diets is due to many people remaining uninformed about oral care, increasing the risk of disease. Bottom line: poor nutrition, toxicity and chronic inflammation triggered by poor oral health puts our lives at risk, and all of this is avoidable.
Dr Danenberg strongly recommends ‘ancestral nutrition’ – simply the practice of consuming unrefined, unprocessed, whole, natural foods. He is against the use of antibacterial mouthwash products: ‘Bacteria in the mouth should not be killed, but “fed” to encourage the growth of beneficial micro-organisms. This is because mouth bacteria produce hydrogen peroxide that keeps harmful bacteria under control.’
I am interested in the recent research (2021 EBioMedicine study) around the change in oral microbiome of frequent cannabis users. They found unusually high levels of the bacterium Actinomyces meyeri, most likely caused by THC and not CBD. Mice orally exposed to A. meyeri for six months showed increased inflammation and more amyloid-beta proteins in their brains. These proteins are thought to be linked to long-term memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. An upcoming study will move beyond mouse models to humans with cannabis use disorder to see how changes in their oral microbiomes affect memory.
Oral health affects your mental health, but exactly what role does the microbiome play?
Editor's note: You may find this article interesting: Paleo vs Plant – a comprehensive response to an ongoing debate