The second claim being made by the Holistic Oral Health Summit docs is “Reversing gum disease can help with digestive problems”.
This claim actually makes sense to me at a certain level, but is a gross and perhaps dangerous and misleading oversimplification.
The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract and hence, what happens there would logically have some impact on what happens downstream.
Chewing properly is the primary digestive function of the mouth. Saliva, too, helps break down certain nutrients and provides lubrication facilitating the downstream movement of food. Gum disease presents a two-fold problem. The first is that it requires certain BAD BACTERIA, which can contribute to a host of overall health issues. The second is that these bacteria stimulate people’s immune systems to get turned on and even go into hyperdrive. INFLAMMATION is the current buzzword in medicine, and the most common source of inflammation is gum disease.
The BAD BACTERIA themselves can cause a problem. We now know that there’s a whole world in us and on us called the Microbiome that heavily impacts our health. Specific bacteria not only cause gum disease, but communicate with other bacteria affecting our digestive system. The mouth is NOT an ISOLATED ECOSYSTEM. Or, “What happens in the MOUTH, doesn’t stay in the MOUTH.”
If you have digestive issues, looking for the cause in the mouth might not be your first priority. While it certainly IS important, it’s not more important than diet, food sensitivities and/or other factors. Your mouth is just a part of the puzzle that is your overall health.
At Manhattan Dental Health, we’re committed to making sure your bacteria profile is not contributing to other health issues and that gum disease is resolved so that it too will not negatively impact your overall health. Reducing inflammation, which is usually indicated by bleeding under the gumline, is the goal.
The Holistic community’s hype and fear-provoking message, to me, is not helpful. Gum disease should be irradicated, but doing so alone might not help your digestive problems. Of course, it can’t hurt it either!
In my opinion, a more inclusive approach involving a primary care physician (PCP), a Gastroenterologist and a nutritionist would constitute a more comprehensive team approach. We’ll do our part, but I’m afraid you’ll need other players to win the digestion game.
To everyone’s excellent health and wellness,