Essential Oils for Heart Disease and Diabetes
What do heart disease and diabetes have in common with oral health? Yes, they are increasing in prevalence, and yes they are top causes of mortality. But there's more, and you may not have any idea:
All three – oral health, diabetes, and heart disease – are completely intertwined.
It should have been obvious for years, but studies are just now drawing clear lines between the three. Oral health, incidentally, is at the crux of it all. And it's completely possible to using essential oils to stop the root cause of heart disease and diabetes!
Atherosclerosis is Rooted in Oral Health
Where we once were told that cholesterol in the foods we eat could dredge through our arteries and clog them like sewage, we now know that dietary cholesterol has very little to do with blood serum cholesterol. On the other hand, researchers evaluated over 600 senior citizens who had no prior incidence of cardiovascular disease and found a definitive link between periodontal bacteria and thickening of the arteries. (1)
The connections had been made a full ten years prior, when a Clinical Microbiology Reviews article explained possible mechanisms for this connection between oral health and heart disease. (2) They explained the connection as one of three metastatic instances:
The theory of metastatic infection introduces detrimental bacteria to the blood stream from the mouth, infecting the entire body. Metastatic injury is explained as that same bacteria producing exotoxins that “are considered the most powerful and lethal poisons known.”And finally, metastatic inflammation is simply the inflammatory response to oral health, which has promising implications since inflammation is one of the most prominent – if not the most prominent – cause of heart disease.
Diabetes & Oral Infections
With these pathways and connections in mind, the leap to diabetes is not unreasonable. In fact, another ten years before these three mechanisms were detailed, researchers from New York were issuing their own concerns. If you are keeping track, we have now traced the alarms all the way back to the 1990s!
“Diabetes is a risk factor for severe periodontal disease…In this model, the combination of these 2 pathways, infection and AGE-mediated cytokine upregulation, helps explain the increase in tissue destruction seen in diabetic periodontitis, and how periodontal infection may complicate the severity of diabetes and the degree of metabolic control, resulting in a 2-way relationship between diabetes mellitus and periodontal disease/infection. This proposed dual pathway of tissue destruction suggests that control of chronic periodontal infection is essential for achieving long-term control of diabetes mellitus.” (3)
Oral Health-Diabetes-Heart Disease Axis
Heart diseases and stroke are the No. 1 causes of death and disability among people with type 2 diabetes. In fact, at least 65% of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.
They go one to explain that diabetes patients can reduce their risks of heart disease by keeping their illness in check, but it takes more than stable glucose levels. The lines between risks and results of diabetes and risks for heart disease are blurred, including:
- High cholesterol and fat levels
- High blood pressure
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Overweight and obesity
With diabetes and heart disease interwoven and oral health centered squarely behind each, we clearly see the importance of conscientious and holistic attention to oral health.
We've failed the public and each other by not making this connection clearer over nearly 30 years of research. It's time to set our sights on complete wellness and effective disease prevention!
Stop Gum Disease with Essential Oils!
It's a safe bet to assume that most Americans don't consider oral health problems as one of our major health epidemics. But it is. The most recent data reveals that: (5)
- Half of American adults over the age of 30 have periodontal disease – otherwise known as “gum disease.”
- Nearly all of these cases – resting at 42% of the total adults in our country – have reached moderate to severe levels, risking decay to the point of tooth- and bone-loss.
- When we look at older adults, at least 65 years old, the incidence rate jumps to over 70%.
Yet, somehow, the American public remains completely oblivious to the severity of the problem – our health rotting quite literally under our noses without an eyebrow raised. The media, public health officials, and even doctors are strangely silent on the connection between the prevalence of both gum disease and major chronic illnesses.
Oral Health & Chronic Illness
It's less a question of what is connected to oral health than what isn't. Poor oral health is implicated in many chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis – even low birth-weight for premature babies! (6, 7, 8)
The cycle perpetuates itself, with oral health disturbances noted as a cause of chronic, systemic illness and chronic illness causing poor oral health.
Even the most insidious diseases are intertwined with oral health deterioration, such as cancer, HIV, and pneumonia requiring ventilators. (9)
Gum Disease Demystified
While gum disease is chronic, infecting not only the gums but the bones beneath them, and can ultimately cause tooth loss and more severe chronic illnesses, it is widely preventable and hardly complicated. Simple oral hygiene practices can change the course of periodontal disease substantially.
In addition to the inherent dangers of conventional oral health treatments, some other risk factors that can increase chances of gum disease include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Broken or defective fillings
- Poor-fitting bridges
- Dry mouth, especially caused by medication
- Pregnancy, contraceptives, and other hormonal changes
- Crooked teeth
- Underlying immune deficiencies
With poor oral hygiene as a significant contributor, however, natural solutions such as essential oil applications can turn it all around.
Simple Gum Disease Prevention
With the list of risk factors in mind and a focus on whole-body health, oral hygiene can become a primary focus for prevention of gum disease. It isn't complicated or costly to take care of your teeth and gums. Simply build the following habits:
- Brush thoroughly, each time you eat
- Floss each day, preferably at night
- Find and visit a holistic dentist for regular check ups
- Make your own oral hygiene products
Even the most natural of oral health care products found on the shelves can be loaded with preservatives and additives that add nothing but risk. Protect yourself and your family by making oral hygiene a DIY project.
These are some of my favorite oral health care recipes that are sure to keep your family smiling bright.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a food processor.
- In a separate bowl, mix the hot water and coconut oil together and let stand till the coconut oil melts. Add to the food processor gradually till combined. While the food processor is still on, combine and add the essential oils all at once and process a few more seconds. Mixture should be granular and slightly damp.
- Store in a glass jar with a lid.
- Toothpaste Variation
- Once the tooth powder is complete, gradually add more coconut oil, blending as you go, until you reach the desired consistency.
* No matter what allergies you may have, there's a carrier oil that's right for you. You can use any, or a combination of these: Avocado, Fractionated Coconut, Grapeseed, Jojoba, Sweet Almond.
* Essential oils are great for oral health and these are some of our favorite blends:
- 1 cup of distilled filtered water
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp carrier oil*
- 2 drops of essential oils or blend of your choice
- Mix your essential oil into a glass and mix with carrier oil and baking soda
- Fill glass with distilled water.
- Swish in your mouth and rinse.
Safety & Contraindications
When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety, and I must defer to the chemists, pharmacists and experts who understand this complicated topic more than I.
With that said, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in human clinical trials. Essentially, what this means is that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.
Let common sense be your guide. Still, be sure to maintain proper dilutions, and general safety considerations still apply. As always, discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.