The Gum Disease and Alzheimer's Connection: Tips for Prevention
THE MOUTH-BODY CONNECTION
The recent news that gum disease is connected to Alzheimer’s dementia has gotten a lot of media coverage. And that’s a good thing. Because, of course your mouth is connected to the rest of you, including your brain, just inches away from your mouth.
But there’s more to the story to fully understand the mouthbody connection to chronic illnesses. Gum disease is also connected to diabetes. And diabetes is connected to Alzheimer’s. But that’s not all we know. We also know DDT is connected to Alzheimer’s, as well as to breast cancer. And we also know dioxin, an industrial toxin made infamous by its use in Agent Orange, causes amyloidosis, and amyloid plaque in the brain is connected to Alzheimer’s.
In the case of Alzheimer’s, we’re learning that a soup of pervasive environmental neurotoxins are coming together with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in ways that are challenging us humans to stay healthy. Not only are mouth and body connected, but also body and mind. The cumulative effect of all these environmental co-factors is a chronic disease epidemic, of which Alzheimer’s disease is just one chronic condition of many that are related.
So, if your goal is to prevent chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s dementia tomorrow, you’ll want to change your bodymindset about mouthbody health today. Reorient your thinking and behaviors about your mouth and its relation to the rest of you. Mouthbody care is as important as eating smart, hydrating, exercising and nurturing better gut health and natural immunity.
To be safe then, add gum infections to your list of warning signs deserving of immediate action. But don’t stop with just periodontal gum disease. Also look for chronic jaw infections from root canal teeth and invasive wisdom tooth extractions that heal over the top but leave hidden infections buried deep in the tooth socket. And look for recurrent tooth decay caused by caries bacteria. We’re having a caries epidemic too, not surprisingly, even among children, who are also getting juvenile diabetes, and suffering neurological disorders as never before. It’s all connected.
All these factors can stress the immune system and trigger chronic inflammation that, in turn, causes brain inflammation, especially if you throw multiple rounds of antibiotics at the problem. To make the situation worse, if gum disease develops along with diabetes, you can suffer repeated blood sugar spikes up and down that damage the brain over time, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s demential even more.
HOW TO PREVENT GUM DISEASE NOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF DEMENTIA LATER
If you’re told you have inflamed gums or periodontal disease, or you look in the mirror and see for yourself you do, or feel you do, pay attention. The sooner you take action to bring your mouthbody health back to balance, the better. The solution won’t be as simple as a mouthwash, although the right one can certainly help you, but simple solutions do exist, and I’m going to review them here. The key is to combine all of them to address the holistic needs we all have for mouthbody health.
One option is Essential Oxygen, a food-grade hydrogen peroxide product sold as a mouth rinse. The brand’s 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide mixed with distilled water in a 3% solution is one way to treat pathogenic bacteria in your mouth. Get up in the morning, scrape your tongue of all the bacteria and mucus that has cultured in your mouth overnight, and rinse with your hydrogen peroxide solution for 60 seconds before you drink water or eat anything. Then scrape your tongue again, and follow up with a shot of probiotic kefir like Inner-Eco Probiotic Coconut Water or any favorite kombucha drink.
Another natural remedy is a solution of ozone and distilled water for irrigating and rinsing the mouth. Ozone, or O3, is a natural antimicrobial agent used to kill pathogens not only in dentistry, but also in municipal tap water. You can buy an inexpensive Enaly Ozone Generator online for about $100.
Another inexpensive antimicrobial remedy for bacterial dysbiosis in your mouth is xylitol, a sweet sugar substitute made from the bark of birch trees or the shells of coconuts. The American Dental Association has published studies showing pathogenic microbes eat the xylitol, but can’t digest it, resulting in die-off. If we humans eat xylitol, however, it passes harmlessly through the GI tract, killing candida fungus in the gut along the way. And xylitol won’t spike your blood sugar like refined sugar, also helping to prevent diabetes and obesity.
It’s important to know how to use these natural remedies to beat chronic infections of caries and periodontal bacteria without using antibiotics, because overuse of antibiotics is one way to culture the wrong bacteria in your mouth and gut. Read my story about getting a gum infection and “Healing Without Antibiotics” using dental ozone.
You can also help yourself by buying the right toothpaste. A good toothpaste is free of chemical sudsers and industrial-grade fluoride, which makes your teeth brittle not strong, and calcifies your pineal gland. Two of my favorite natural toothpastes are Theraneem Neem Tooth & Gum Powder and Redmond Earthpaste. I switch between these two brands, one neem based, and one bentonite clay based. Both include xylitol in their ingredients. Using a tongue scraper first thing every morning to scrape off bacteria-filled mucus, and oil pulling a couple times a week with coconut oil or sesame oil, will also help restore better oral health.
However much flossing, brushing, rinsing, tongue scraping and oil pulling help culture better health in your mouthbody, what is really required to prevent gum disease are healthy changes in nutrition and hydration that feed a healthy mouth microbiome. And that’s the best prevention for gum disease. That means staying hydrated with clean filtered water that’s been remineralized, or spring water with the right balance of electrolyte minerals, and eating smart every day.
Eating smart for mouthbody and bodybrain health means eating more vegetables, fruits and good fats than carbs, meat and sugar. It means eating fermented probiotic foods as well as prebiotic foods that culture beneficial bacteria in the gut and mouth. Two good prebiotic supplements I use are Heather’s Organic Acacia Senegal Tummy Fiber Prebiotic and Dr. Gundry’s PrebioThrive Prebiotic.
Eating smart also means sourcing organic whole foods rich in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fats, and avoiding processed foods loaded with toxins like pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and growth hormones. We all need to eat smart because stable blood sugar protects brain health, and because none of us should be eating neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and bactericides if we hope to be well and stay well for a lifetime.
If you want information about other mouthbody connections that affect your overall health, download my ebook Mouthbody Care before you sit in a dentist’s chair. If you'd like to see the latest trends in mouthbody health as well as other self-care practices to prevent chronic illnesses, visit the self-care lists at The Healist.