While often overlooked, your dental health can have a significant impact on your overall health. It's difficult to achieve high-level physical health if your oral health is ignored.
Dr.Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, has over 30 years' experience in biological dentistry. As Curatola notes, your mouth is your "gateway to total body wellness." Indeed, thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease.
Inflammation is known to be a disease-causing force leading to most chronic illness, and gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation that can have a deleterious effect on every major organ system in your body.
Oral disease can therefore contribute to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's, just to name a few. Advanced gum disease can raise your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times. And, according to Curatola, if you get a heart attack related to gum disease, 9 times out of 10 it will be fatal.
There's also a 700 percent higher incidence of type 2 diabetes among those with gum disease, courtesy of the inflammatory effects of unbalanced microflora in your mouth.
Caring for Your Oral Microbiome
When the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system it causes your liver to release C-reactive proteins, which have inflammatory effects on your entire circulatory system. So a major part of oral health is attending to your oral microbiome.
Achieving oral health is really about promoting balance among the bacteria in your mouth. Interestingly, probiotics do not work in the oral cavity, so it's not as simple as adding beneficial bacteria to your mouth. Instead, as an initial step, you need to cease killing microbes in your mouth. Curatola explains:
Pathogens are now being recognized as resident microbes that are out of balance … [T]he same bacteria that keep us alive can have a pathogenic expression when disturbed.
I have been tooting the horn about getting out of the 'pesticide business.' I'm also speaking about natural pesticides. Not just triclosan, clorhexidin and those synthetic types, but also tea tree oil, tulsi oil, oregano oil and other antimicrobial oils that … have a potent disturbing effect on the oral microbiome.
In the mouth, you don't want to have a 'scorched earth policy,' nuking all bacteria and hoping the good bugs come back … [G]ood bugs basically have a harder chance of setting up a healthy-balanced microbiome when you disturb them, denature them, or dehydrate them with alcohol-based products."