Gum disease, something that a large percentage of Americans suffer from, is far more dangerous that people often think.
Porphyromonas gingivalis, the bacteria that causes gum disease also causes heart disease and inflammatory Alzheimer’s.
P. gingivalis has been referred to as a “guerilla” agent, able to invade a person’s cells, and prevent immune responses. Luckily there are good ways to prevent P. gingivalis from wreaking havoc in people’s mouths and bodies.
To make sure your body is healthy, you need to have a healthy microbiome—the ecosystem of bacteria in your body. Recently a lot has been said about gut health and probiotics, but the idea of supporting this microbiome affects more than what people may anticipate. The microbiome extends to outside the gut and includes the mouth, which means people need to be concerned about supporting the microbiome throughout the body, helping to have a balance of bacteria everywhere. This can lead to hampering P. gingivalis from causing problems.
Unfortunately, the western diet does not help to ensure a healthy microbiome. It is full of sugar and carbs, which only feed the bad bacteria and encourages their growth. A “healthy non-western microbiome” will prompt a stronger response to bad bacteria with fewer autoimmune consequences. But with how our diet is now, we have created an epidemic of autoimmune disease, while impairing our immune systems.
Many people have started using probiotics to help develop a healthy microbiome. However, doing this without other changes will yield little result. People need to adjust their entire diets to make sure they have prebiotics (food for the probiotics) and fibers, while also exercising regularly, which strongly influences the microbiome.
In addition to these changes, people need to start paying attention to their oral care by using preventive practices that can better combat the modern diet and take the battle to the bacteria on a micro, not macro (i.e. toothbrushing and flossing) level. The best way to work against bacteria like P. gingivalis is by using xylitol. Xylitol is a polyol, or natural sweetener, that works against bacteria on a micro level by 1) inhibiting them from sticking to teeth and gums. 2) breaking up bacterial colonies needed to flourish. and 3) encouraging salivation, the body’s natural cleanser for the mouth.
Oral care is more than just making sure you have sparkling pearly whites. It’s about making sure your whole body is healthy. The threat of oral germs spreading to other parts of your body and causing life-changing problems is real. Make sure you’re doing what is necessary to have a healthy body. Whatever inconveniences may come with the changes are well worth the benefit.