[Note from Katie: I've been happy to get to know Will and Susan of OraWellness and now use their brushing blend as part of my oral health routine, and as the "flavor" in my Remineralizing Toothpaste. I'll be posting my oral health story soon, but my most recent visit to the dentist confirmed that my teeth were much healthier, my beginning stages of gingivitis were gone, and a cavity had actually remineralized itself!]
Enter Will and Susan:
“As much as 50% in the reversal of cancer is in the mouth.”
-Burton Goldberg, expert in the field of alternative medicine
How can a two time cancer survivor and expert in alternative cancer treatments make such a statement? In this article we will explore the relationship between mouth health and the health of the whole body and see the clear links between what’s going on in the mouth and the health of the whole body.
In this first section of this article we will explore how the health of our mouth affects the health of the whole body. While this is a very large subject that could no doubt be a book itself, we will focus on one aspect of how our oral health impacts the entire body. The title of this article, How Oral Health Impacts the Health of the Whole Body, describes what we will discuss in this first section.
The second section of this article will explore what we can do to improve our overall wellbeing by improving our oral health. Here we will explore techniques and strategies of what we can do to create greater oral health and thereby create greater health for the whole being. It is our hope and intent that reading this article will assist you to create greater oral health in your life and the lives of your loved ones. If there were a title for this second section, it would be, How we can improve the health of the whole body by improving our oral health.
While many of us are aware of the negative impact of the bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay on our oral health, the impact that these same ‘bad bugs’ in the mouth have on our general health is less well known. In order to effectively discuss the subject, let’s start by establishing a baseline of foundational principles.
Stop putting toxins into the system…
Fundamental to any attempt at creating greater oral health as well as whole being wellness is to stop putting toxins into the system. Within the scope of this article, we want to draw attention to two main sources of toxins into the system.
- the toxins that the ‘bad bugs’ that cause gum disease dump or trigger in our system.
- the toxins that are inadvertently introduced to prevent disease through the use of oral hygiene products.
Prevent disease or create health… Which comes first?
These two concepts, to prevent disease and to create health, are central to the discussion of this article. We can see this debate most clearly in history with the example of Louis Pasteur, the ‘father’ of modern medicine and germ theory and Antoine Beauchamp, a contemporary of Pasteur’s who promoted a related theory but with a different focus called cellular (or terrain) theory.
Studying these two theories has led me to the realization that if we want to create optimal health, our primary focus must be to create health, then to secondarily address disease prevention. So, our primary intent must be on wellness protocols of creating health.
Therefore, we must be aware of introducing any toxins into our system as toxins are going to impair our immunological efforts to create health. This especially applies if the toxins we introduce to the system are under the guise of preventing disease. For, if we introduce toxins into the system by applying germ theory (prevent disease) approach, we are not addressing the primary focus, to create health.
(If you want more information on this interesting subject, here’s a video discussing this subject.)
With these foundations in place, let’s take a quick look why this information is crucial to our health.
According to David Kennedy, DDS and past president of the International Association for Oral Medicine and Toxicology, here are the facts:
- over 9 out of 10 adults over 30 years of age have some stage of active gum disease.
- 65% of 15 year olds already have active gum disease (yikes!)
The reason the negative impact of gum disease goes beyond the mouth is gum disease is an active bacterial infection that has access to the whole body via the bloodstream! The ‘bad bugs’ involved with gum disease are very mobile. They can and do swim upstream and colonize other areas of the body. In face, the plaque deposits from bad bugs in the mouth are the same types of plaque found in arterial walls in heart disease sufferers! Given the understanding that these ‘bad bugs’ in the mouth swim through the bloodstream, it makes complete sense.
Here is the official word on the increased risk of the main killers in our society if a person has active gum disease. My guess is the real numbers are probably much higher than the official word…
So these bad bugs colonize the mouth as their base, they are then able to access the rest of the body via the bloodstream. We view this situation most folks have with active gum disease similarly to having an enemy inside your gates slowly but surely eroding one’s health by poisoning the system.
The known risks of this common situation are two fold. First, these ‘bad bugs’ destroy flesh and bone tissue. They have even been caught under a microscope ganging up and killing white blood cells! They also dump toxins into the system. So, the first risk factor is the actual damage the bad bugs do to the body.
The second risk is how the body responds to this chronic bacterial attack.
How does the body respond to bacterial infection?
Our immune system recognizes the gum disease as the rampant bacterial infection it is. One way the body defeats an infection is to increase the inflammation in the local area of the infection in an effort to increase blood flow thus increase the number of white blood cells to fight the infections. Swollen, painful gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing are clear signs of an active bacterial infection in the mouth.
The problem arises when the infection is a chronic one, like with gum disease. In the case of chronic infection, the body’s infection fighting reaction becomes habit, thus creating a state of chronic inflammation.
Chronic infection = chronic inflammation
What about when the ‘bad bugs’ have traveled through the whole body? It is this system wide chronic inflammation that contributes to and sets the stage for all the diseases of modern society from arthritis and diabetes to heart disease and cancer.
An interesting correlation we have found from our studies of the Chinese longevity arts is as follows. According to Chinese medical theory, if you distill it all down, the only cause of disease is stagnation. Of course, the type of stagnation, where the stagnation is located, etc all contribute to how the stagnation shows up (what disease the person has). Chronic inflammation literally causes stagnation. Stagnation causes disease.
Thus, gum disease really is one of the main pathways, like a gateway disease, that helps support the conditions that allow system wide diseases to establish and flourish.
Now that we have rung the alarm about the risks of gum disease for the health of the whole body, we can discuss some solutions.
About the authors:
Will and Susan Revak are the founders of OraWellness. They began their journey to creating greater oral health in their own lives over 15 years ago. Check out Susan’s story of how she reversed the damage of advanced gum disease.
OraWellness offers tools and educational products to help you take control of your oral health using organic ingredients and inexpensive natural solutions. Chronic bad breath, bleeding gums, and other signs of oral imbalance can be a thing of the past. Whether you are looking for gentle, effective daily care or a complete solution to effectively address oral imbalances (even advanced gum disease!), OraWellness can help. Learn more at www.OraWellness.com