Nowadays, there is more and more scientific evidence that many chronic diseases are largely due to our Western way of life. Processed foods, eating too often or too much, too little exercise, too much mental stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, disturbed biorhythms … All these cause our bodies to lose their natural balance and result in a chronic inflammatory state. As a therapist, you know that this status of low-grade inflammation (LGI) is the basis of many diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, allergies, and their incidence is increasing year after year.
A highly underestimated cause of LGI are periodontal diseases which include gingivitis and periodontitis. They form as if there was an open wound in the mucous membrane barrier in which many pathogens thrive. If there is a chronic wound in the mouth, no matter how healthy you eat and how much you take care of your intestinal health, the oral pathogens will keep the immune system chronically in LGI.
Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease, initiated by the presence of a bacterial biofilm, called dental plaque, which affects both the periodontal ligaments and bone surrounding teeth. Eventually it can lead to osteoporosis and tooth loss (severe periodontitis). Several bacteria have been connected to the intensity and progress of periodontal inflammatory diseases including Porphyromonas gingivalis, a gram-negative oral anaerobe which is considered as one of the main etiological factors by producing a number of virulence factors and extracellular proteases such as lipopolysaccharide, fimbria, gingipain etc. resulting in destruction of periodontal tissues. The various surface components of P. gingivalis enable the bacterium to interact with the external medium and simplify its growth, nutrient gain, colonization, and formation of a biofilm that protects it against the host’s defense. The natural mucosal barriers and saliva are the main innate defense mechanisms against soft tissue bacterial invasion. So, if these are broken, a systemic LGI is created that puts the body under continuous immunological stress and leads to activation of HPA axis (stress axis), insulin resistance and metabolic suffering.
Good dental hygiene is therefore an important advice that a therapist should give to their clients. Dare to look in the mouth of your client! If the gums bleed when using a toothpick between the teeth, an inflammation is present. Brushing, flossing with a little brush between the teeth and possibly rinsing with a fatty substance (oil pulling) can be advised. Regular dental check-ups with complete cleaning of the teeth and avoidance of sugary food that can serve as a nutrient for the pathogens are also important. In short, the health of the oral cavity is an important basis for the health of the entire body.
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