It starts in the mouth

Gail emailed me this interesting observation from her perspective as a dental hygienist:

I have worked as a dental hygienist for over forty years. For a long time, I have been saying that something is different with people’s oral health. When I began working as a dental hygienist back in the early seventies, we did not wear gloves and there was very little bleeding during a prophylaxis. If my patients had bleeding gums back in the seventies like they do now, I never would have put my fingers into their mouth.

Today, it is common to see five year old patients with heavy plaque and bleeding. When I listened to your talk on Red Ice Creations, something that you said caught my attention. You stated that the amylopectin-A from the modern wheat is highly digested by the enzyme amylase in the mouth into sugar much quicker than the ancient wheat.

Could this be the missing piece to the puzzle with our modern epidemic of periodontal disease? In the past year, I saw three patients who did not have plaque, calculus or bleeding. This is very unusual to see in the modern dental office. One was a seventeen year old boy, the other two were women in their forties and fifties. When I questioned all three of them, they told me that they were off of gluten products which means that they were not eating wheat. My question to you is: Has there been any dental research concerning the effects of the modern wheat on oral health? I used to blame the increase of bleeding gums on the high fructose corn syrup. I am now thinking that the modern wheat is also the culprit.

I have been telling many of my patients about your book. I find it hard to not talk about this subject when a patient mentions how they want to lose weight and cannot do it with conventional dieting.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

While there is, to my knowledge, no formal research connecting consumption of modern wheat with dental and gingival disease/decay, I am hearing this more and more often. People say, “My dentist says my teeth didn’t really need cleaning and that they looked the best they have in years.”

As Gail points out, the amylopectin A unique to wheat, different than, say, the amylopectin C from beans that is inefficiently digested (resulting in intestinal gas from bacterial digestion of the undigested amylopectin), is rapidly converted to glucose in the mouth by the salivary enzyme, amylase, even before you swallow. So a breakfast of shredded wheat cereal, mid-morning snack of low-fat pretzels, a lunch of low-fat turkey breast on two slices of whole wheat bread, and a dinner of whole wheat pasta ensures a mouth full of glucose many times a day, a situation that makes oral bacteria throw a party, as they love the glucose.

As is happening in the world of wheatlessness, more and more of the common (as well as uncommon) ailments that plague us modern humans are proving to be nothing more than . . . forms of intolerance to wheat.

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74 Responses to It starts in the mouth

  1. Ruby says:

    My dental hygenist also commented on great check up, I told her about wheat and the book, I have been off what for over a year, she mentioned that she had several patients tell her the same thing, and I hope she is interested enough to try it herself !

  2. Adel de Weever says:

    This does not consider the article above, but your cookbook, makes no mention to the following:
    I am wondering if you approve arrowroot for a thickener and is nutritional yeast something safe to use?
    Thank you.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Arrowroot is okay, but a potential source of excess carbohydrates. My first choice is coconut flour.

      I believe that nutritional yeast, to be distinguished from yeast that is an opportunistic pathogen, such as Candida, is benign, unless you have a specific sensitivity.

  3. Christopher says:

    35 year old male, 30-40 lbs overweight – I’ve been off wheat for 1 week and I’ve noticed a few changes. For one, I have dropped a few pounds and noticed that my energy and mood throughout the day has been a little more stable. But also, I am ashamed to say that for awhile, my gums would bleed when brushing and I never new why? The dentist said last year that I needed an extra-cost deep-cleaning. So last night after only 7 days of being off the wheat, my gums did not bleed when I brushed before bed. Again this morning, I had to scrub extra hard just to prove to myself that it was real. Not a single drop of blood, picture me just staring into the sink with amazement on my face and toothpaste dripping from my mouth and brush. My God what does this all mean? Have I been slowly poisoning myself for years with wheat products? What other changes are happening in my body just from eliminating wheat? Is this a good thing or has my body lost the ability to bleed when injured?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I hear this often, Christopher. I believe that, for not entirely clear reasons, gingivitis (thus the bleeding) is very common in wheat consuming individuals.

      Less bleeding, less plaque, less gingivitis, less tooth decay—just like it was before grains entered the human diet!

  4. Gail LePine says:

    Dear Dr. Davis, I have to tell you about the latest success that I recently had with one of my dental patients. He normally had lots of plaque, calculus and bleeding. No matter what techniques I taught him for good oral health, I wasn’t seeing any positive results. At his last appointment, I could not believe my eyes. He had no plaque or calculus and there was insignificant bleeding. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he had finally listened to me and he was off of the pasta and bread. He also said that he felt so much better being wheat free. I was so astonished that I praised him and thanked him profusely for listening to my suggestion of going wheat free! Results like this are what makes my work rewarding and I have to thank you, Dr. Davis, for opening my eyes to the importance of educating my patients to consider eliminating wheat from their diet.
    Thank you,
    Gail LePine RDH

  5. Valerie says:

    I am so very grateful that Wayne Dyer did an interview with Reid Tracy about your book, which lead me to read the Facebook site comments, which lead me to your blog posts. This one in particular is the one that has me CONVINCED it is time for me to go wheat free. My gums have COMPLETELY receded from one of my molars. I have been at a loss for years, as to why I struggle with so many gum and loss of enamel issues. I’ve been so very healthy for so many years, yet my gums get worse and worse. I’m committing RIGHT NOW (in front of every computer screen of anyone reading this…accountability matters ;) to going wheat-free…one day at a time. Tomorrow will begin a personal research project. I will take notes and post results for everyone to read. If this works, I won’t have to have oral surgery!! THAT will be a blessing.