Periodontal Disease and Gastro-Intestinal Disease

Periodontal Disease and Gastro-Intestinal Disease

Nobody is a fan of an upset stomach. When nature calls to someone with gastrointestinal disease, they rarely have time to answer, leading to awkward exits, loss of time, and embarrassment. The same kind of embarrassment and awkwardness can come from periodontal disease. No one wants other people to see their gums bleeding in the middle of dinner. Both situations are extremely awkward and create discomfort to whoever is suffering which disease. But, what if there was more connected to them? Is there something more to periodontal disease that affects the stomach, or visa versa? Doctors in both gastronomical circles and dental hygienists seem to think so.

The Nature of Bacteria

While a lot of people are aware of the existence of bacteria, wherever they come from or wherever they wind up. But a lot of them do not quite have an understanding of the very nature of bacteria itself. So, before we go any further, let’s take a good look at what we understand about bacteria.

Bacteria, as we know it, are single-celled organisms made of biological materials. All animal life as we know it is dependant on certain species of bacteria because they have the genes necessary to metabolize vitamins and nutrients on a cellular level. These single-celled organisms have no nucleus but still, contains free-floating DNA. They can also produce proteins from amino acid chains, which contributes to our own cellular structure. That means that there are so much bacteria in our world that it would be impossible to count all of them.

They are classified through their shape. Currently, there are 5 classifications of bacteria, and all of them can reproduce asexually through a process known as binary fission. Their life span ranges from 12 minutes to 24 hours. If they are in an environment where they can survive long enough to breed, it will create high populations in practically no time.

So, if bacteria is the cornerstone of life, then that must mean they are all good, right? Not exactly.

Some bacteria are beneficial because they can work with various nutrients and acids to produce something good with our bodies. Or alternatively, they could consume and succeed in removing harmful bacteria. Others, will either cannibalize good bacteria, overcrowd their environment or leave behind residue that can make people sick.

Bacteria and Gastro-Intestinal Diseases

Whenever a population of bacteria thrives in our guts or on our skin, they usually leave their own traces of their activity behind. Some residue, like the bacterial process in yogurt, is actually useful for our bodies. Others are toxic. And when too much bad bacteria leave behind their own toxins, people will get illness and infection as a result.

The two highest populations of bacteria reside on our skin and our guts.  Our gastrointestinal tract plays a huge role in our overall internal health. Our guts are home to tens of trillions of microorganisms. This includes at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes). And that environment constantly changes thanks to the rapid life cycle of bacteria in general and environmental influence.

That means that the air we breathe, the water we drink, the places we live, and the people we associate with literally dictates the genetic code in our guts. One of the major things that scientists are starting to realize is that the gut environment can be influenced by our oral health.

Periodontal Disease and its Connection to Gastro-Intestinal Disease

All of our food comes through our mouth. When we chew, we are introducing an energy source to the bacteria in our guts. However, our mouth is constantly exposed to harmful bacteria all the time. Specifically, the kind that makes our gumline inflamed. Periodontal disease is caused by the presence of the bacteria that is responsible for gingivitis, P. gingivalis.

When left untouched, these bacteria create a protective film of plaque and either dig deep into the gum line until it hits the bloodstream or attaches itself to food that makes its way down the digestive tract.  In either case, inflammation is inevitable.

And it will cause inflammation no matter where the location.

Various gastrointestinal diseases revolve around inflation. Even chronic conditions like Chron’s or types of stomach cancer crop up alongside a person who also suffers from periodontal disease.  And this is something that is just now getting a discussion in the medical and dental healthcare industry.

Your oral health might be a strong indicator of stomach issues in your immediate future. Take care of your teeth.

Scroll to Top