You leave your dentist’s office with the same advice every time… brush, floss and come back in six months.
What most dentists don’t realize is that good oral health takes more than a toothbrush and a piece of waxed string.
Good oral health is the key to great overall health. And that’s something to smile about.
Open Wide… What’s Really Going On Inside Your Mouth
You open and shut your mouth a thousand times a day. But do you ever give much thought to what’s going on in there?
Your mouth is swarming with bacteria — 20 billion at any given time. And that number jumps to 100 billion if you go 24 hours without brushing.1
But not all bacteria is bad.
In fact, there are quite a few beneficial bacteria competing for space inside your mouth. Your goal is to increase the “good guys” so they can crowd out the “bad boys.”
That’s where probiotics come in.
By now you’re probably pretty familiar with probiotics. Those tiny bugs that keep your gut in great working order. But did you know they also play an important role in oral health?
Ignoring Your Mouth Leads To More Than Bad Breath
Poor oral health develops into periodontal disease — or gum disease. And gum disease is connected to a whole lot of health problems. Problems that are a lot more serious than losing a tooth or bad breath.
- Cardiovascular diseases: The research connecting heart disease with gum disease keeps growing. Both gum disease and cardiovascular disease are chronic inflammatory diseases. Researchers say inflammation is the link between the two.2
- Diabetes: I’ve had many of my diabetic patients tell me that it was their dentist who first diagnosed their diabetes. Gum disease can make your blood glucose hard to control.3
- Alzheimer’s: An identical twins study found that a twin with periodontal disease was four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.4 High levels of mouth bacteria can increase inflammation. And inflammation is linked to Alzheimer’s.5
- Cancer: People with a history of gum disease have a 14% overall higher risk of having cancer. And for certain cancers, the risk jumped all the way up to 54%! 6
Nearly half of all Americans — 47% — have gum disease. In adults 65 and older, that number jumps to 70%.7 Luckily, there’s an easy way to improve your odds.
Fight the Bad Bugs
Think of probiotics as a huge army of tiny bugs that seek out and destroy bad bacteria. By eliminating the bad bugs, there’s more room for good bacteria to flourish.
But taking probiotics isn’t a one-time-only cure-all. You need to take them often. Every day. Otherwise, the bad bugs will take over again.
Don’t Do This…
Today probiotics are in much more than yogurt. Big Business has started adding probiotics to everything from tortillas to chocolate to toothpaste in an attempt to cash in. Monkeying with nature in ways we don’t understand.
But there’s no need to search out these specialty items.
Do This Instead…
Nature has provided you with all the probiotics you need. This is how it’s been done for generations. The best probiotics include:
- Buttermilk – Look for the word “cultured” on the label
- Sauerkraut – Avoid canned and look for raw fermented cabbage
- Kimchi – A Korean dish of fermented vegetables
- Unpasteurized cheeses – Like Gouda, Provolone, Gruyere, feta and cheddar
- Yogurt – Look for the words “live and active cultures” on the label
- Kombucha – A fermented tea
- Kefir – It’s kind of like drinking your yogurt
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Landers B. “Oral bacteria: How many? How fast?” RDH. 2015.
2. Demmer RT, Desvarieux M. “Periodontal infections and cardiovascular disease: the heart of the matter.” J Am Dent Assoc. 2006 Oct;137 Suppl:14S-20S; quiz 38S.
3. “Prevent diabetes problems: Keep your mouth healthy.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. September 2014.
4. Watts A, Crimmins E.M., Gatz M. “Inflammation as a potential mediator for the association between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2008 Oct; 4(5): 865-876.
5. Ide M, et al. “Periodontitis and Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease.” PLoS One. 2016; 11(3): e0151081. Published online 2016 Mar 10. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151081
6. Michaud D. “Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study.” Lancet Oncol. 2008 Jun;9(6):550-8. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70106-2. Epub 2008 May 5.
7. CDC: Half of American Adults Have Periodontal Disease. American Academy of Periodontology. September 4, 2012.