Did you know that as many as 30 million people in the United States may have diabetes? It’s a serious health epidemic and unfortunately, one where the traditional medical establishment is lagging behind. Today we’ll talk a bit about the causes of diabetes, how it can impact dental health (and vice versa) and why at Blodgett Dental Care, we think it’s important to take a holistic approach to all health issues.

A  Holistic Perspective on The Causes Of Diabetes

Let’s forget everything that we’ve been told about diabetes and autoimmunity and try to take a common sense approach towards explaining systemic issues like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Traditionally, these (and other similar diseases) have been known as “autoimmune disorders”, where the body’s own immune system attacks healthy cells.

Does this make sense? Are our bodies so inefficient that they would literally turn on themselves?  In 2001, an acupuncturist wrote a thought-provoking article The Myth of Autoimmune Diseases.  It focused on the concept that “LPFs” (lingering pathogenic factors) could be leading to systems of the body being “attacked” by our body’s native immune system.  This makes a lot more sense than the body attacking itself– which really makes no sense at all.

Today, there is more evidence supporting the LPF theory of disease. The American Diabetes Association reports on a recent study that found several viruses (coxsackievirus B1, B3, and B6) were associated with an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

The Connection Between Dental Health & Diabetes Causing Pathogens

Clearly, evidence is emerging which shines a light on a more plausible and accurate description of why certain systemic diseases, like diabetes, occur. If we agree that it is possible for infection to lead to disease (which seems obvious), then it would be wise to recognize that the mouth is the only place in the body that is chronically bombarded by pathogenic bacteria that can easily get into the blood stream 24/7/365.

Even the simple act of chewing has been shown to increase exposure of the body to oral bacteria.

This theory is gaining widespread acceptance thanks to research from the National Institute of Health which “recognizes that oral infections, especially periodontitis, may affect the course and pathogenesis of a number of systemic diseases, including diabetes mellitus.” Additionally, Scientific American reported a fascinating article on how bacteria have evolved to enter the body through tissues in the mouth.

Why Does the Concept of “Autoimmunity” Persist?

Why do so many people continue to accept that diabetes and other systemic disorders are autoimmune in nature, when the entire concept of autoimmunity makes no physiological sense?  Do we really believe that the body is so poorly designed that it attacks it’s own healthy cells?  The presence of a stimulus, such as the LPFs previously mentioned, makes much more sense.

Unfortunately, to find a possible answer we must follow the money. Cui bono is Latin for who benefits? And in this case, the answer is Big Pharma, who make A LOT of money on auto-immune medications.

Just last year it was reported that there had been a 50% increase in prescribed autoimmune medications over the past decade. How did this happen? We are spending BILLIONS of dollars to fight against our own bodies’ natural defense system. This makes no sense, considering that our bodies are DESIGNED to have their own self-regulating, health-maintaining systems.

Chronic Infection Increases Risk of Diabetes

Bacteria Image

So what does diabetes have to do with dental care? As more and more research is pointing towards chronic infection increasing a person’s risk of diabetes, we must begin to think about common forms of chronic infection.

As a holistic dentist in Portland, I can tell you that periodontal disease is one of the most common chronic infections around. By reducing inflammation and infection in the mouth, you’re reducing your risk of diabetes.

When It Comes to Diabetes, Good Dental Health is a 2-Way Street

Treating and preventing periodontal disease (a chronic infection) reduces your risk of diabetes, but if you already have diabetes, reducing infection can actually improve your health! It’s like a positive feedback loop. The more care you take to maintain the health of your gums, the better your overall health will be!

Treatments like Perio Protect and LANAP regenerative gum therapy are great, minimally-invasive methods of fighting periodontal disease– whether you have diabetes or not.

What Should You Do?

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, have a family history of the disease, or simply want to take control of your oral health, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with me, Dr. Kelly Blodgett.

When we meet, we’ll discuss your overall health, your health goals, and how we can work together to optimize your dental health, and your overall wellness. There’s no time like the present!

Photo via Visualhunt