Tag Archives: gingivitis

My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 6

MPj04329820000[1]Weight: 164 lb

Transgressions: none

Exercise: none


I’d like to be exercising more, but I’m working too much.  Exercise not so much for weight loss as for the other health benefits.  It will soon be cool enough to go on long hikes on the local mountain trails, and I want to be in good shape to do that.

I spoke with a couple other people on very low-carb diets today.  That film you get on your teeth if you wait too long between brushing?  They also noticed it’s definitely less prominent while eating low-carb.  I suspect that film is strongly related to oral bacteria interacting with dietary carbohydrates.  I’ve seen one study that documented improvement in gingivitis on a low-carb diet.  Wish I had time to research periodontal disease and very low-carb eating.


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Filed under My KMD Experience

My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 5

42-15653194Weight: 164.5 lb

Transgressions: lost track of my vegetable intake

Exercise: none


Achy muscles and dizziness mostly in remission, at least for now.  Dizziness was primarily with change in position, such as sitting up after bending over to tie shoes.

Need to come up with a method to keep track of my veggie intake (max of 14 oz or 200 g daily).  For example, I threw some onion in the pan with my eggs and sausage and forgot to weigh and keep track of them.  May have exceeded veggie max a little.  Consider mixing 14 oz of various raw veggies at start of day and set aside to be eaten throughout the day.

Do you ever notice a film building up on your teeth if you go too long—12 hours perhaps— without brushing?  Well, I seem to be having less of that film.  Too soon to be sure, could be fluke.  Reminds me of the Cleave-Yudkin carbohydrate theory of dental and systemic chronic disease.  The dental component is caries (cavities), gingivitis, and periodontal disease.  I wonder if carb restriction has already been tested as a treatment for these dental diseases.


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Dental Problems and Systemic Chronic Disease: A Carbohydrate Connection?

Perfect health on a carnivorous, low-carb diet

Perfect health on a carnivorous, low-carb diet

Dentists are considering a return to an old theory that dietary carbohydrates first cause dental diseases, then certain systemic chronic diseases, according to a review in the June 1, 2009, Journal of Dental Research

We’ve known for years that some dental and systemic diseases are associated with each other, both for individuals and populations.  For example, gingivitis and periodontal disease are associated with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.  The exact nature of that association is not clear.  In the 1990s it seemed that infections – chlamydia, for example – might be the unifying link, but this has not been supported by subsequent research.     

The article is written by Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel, who has been active in dental research for decades and is affiliated with the University of Washington (Seattle).  He is no bomb-throwing, crazed, radical. 

The “old theory” to which I referred is the Cleave-Yudkin idea from the 1960s and ’70s that excessive intake of fermentable carbohydrates, in the absence of good dental care, leads both to certain dental diseases – caries (cavities), periodontal disease, certain oral cancers, and leukoplakia – and to some common systemic chronic non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and dementia.  In other words, dietary carbohydrates cause both dental and systemic diseases – not all cases of those diseases, of course, but some.   

Dr. Hujoel does not define “fermentable” carbohydrates in the article.  My American Heritage Dictionary defines fermentation as:

  1. the anaerobic conversion of sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol by yeast
  2. any of a group of chemical reactions induced by living or nonliving ferments that split complex organic compunds into relatively simple substances

As reported in David Mendosa’s blog at MyDiabetesCentral.com, Dr. Hujoel said, “Non-fermentable carbohydrates are fibers.”  Dr. Hujoel also shared some personal tidbits there. 

In the context of excessive carbohydrate intake, the article frequently mentions sugar, refined carbs, and high-glycemic-index carbs.  Dental effects of excessive carb intake can appear within weeks or months, whereas the sysemtic effects may take decades. 

Hujoel compares and contrasts Ancel Keys’ Diet-Heart/Lipid Hypothesis with the Cleave-Yudkin Carbohydrate Theory.  In Dr. Hujoel’s view, the latest research data favor the Carbohydrate Theory as an explanation of many cases of the aforementioned dental and systemic chronic diseases.  If correct, the theory has important implications for prevention of dental and systemic diseases: namely, dietary carbohydrate restriction.

Adherents of the paleo diet and low-carb diets will love this article; it supports their choices.

I agree with Dr. Hujoel that we need a long-term prospective trial of serious low-carb eating versus the standard American high-carb diet.  Take 20,000 people, randomize them to one of the two diets, follow their dental and systemic health over 15-30 years, then compare the two groups.  Problem is, I’m not sure it can be done.  It’s hard enough for most people to follow a low-carb diet for four months.  And I’m asking for 30 years?!   

Dr. Hujoel writes:

Possibly, when it comes to fermentable carbohydrates, teeth would then become to the medical and dental professionals what they have always been for paleoanthropologists: “extremely informative about age, sex, diet, health.”

Dr. Hujoel mentioned a review of six studies that showed a 30% reduction in gingivitis score by following a diet moderately reduced in carbs.  He mentions the aphorism: “no carbohydrates, no caries.”  Anyone prone to dental caries or ongoing periodontal disease should do further research to see if switching to low-carb eating might improve the situation. 

Don’t be surprised if your dentist isn’t very familiar with the concept.  Has he ever mentioned it to you?

Steve Parker, M.D.,

Author of The Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Reference:  Hujoel, P.  Dietary carbohydrates and dental-systemic diseasesJournal of Dental Research, 88 (2009): 490-502.

Mendosa, David.  Our dental alarm bell.  MyDiabetesCentral.com, July 12, 2009.


Filed under Carbohydrate, Causes of Diabetes, coronary heart disease, Glycemic Index and Load