Primal Nutrition and Your Dental Health with Periodontist Alvin Danenberg – EP007

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We know that the eyes are the window to the soul, but did you realize that the mouth is the mirror of the body? Today’s guest contends that an examination of your teeth and gums uncovers a lot of information about your overall health, and he suggests that a Primal approach to nutrition can heal both gum disease as well as autoimmune disorders associated with inflammation of the gut.




Dr. Alvin Danenberg (also known as Dr. Dan) has been a periodontist for over four decades. He is based in Beaufort, South Carolina, but offers an online consulting practice as well. His approach is based on Primal nutrition and lifestyle practices, and he assists patients in eliminating detrimental lifestyle routines and poor food choices with the goal of improving dental – and overall – health.

Dr. Dan discovered the Paleo approach after suffering from a stroke. This led to a curiosity regarding how a nutrient-dense diet might impact periodontics, and now Dr. Dan uses a holistic approach in his practice. He received his dental degree from the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, and his Specialty Certificate in Periodontics from the University of Maryland. Dr. Dan is also a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, an ADAPT Trained Health Professional, and a Certified Primal Health Coach. Today he joins Ali to discuss why he adopted a Primal lifestyle, the connection between nutrition and dental health, and the specifics of how his practice has evolved. Listen to discover Dr. Dan’s suggestions for taking care of your teeth – and improving your overall health!

Topics Covered

[0:58] The role of a periodontist

  • Specialist in gum tissue around teeth, fibers that attach root to bone surrounding tooth
  • Understand factors that affect gum tissue, i.e.: jaw joint and bite
  • Consulted in cases of gum disease, bleeding gums, odor, jaw pain, etc.
[2:58] The prevalence of gum disease (gingivitis)

  • Study of college students identified 94% had gingivitis
  • Bleeding gums are sign of infection
  • Can progress to periodontitis (infection in bone surrounding roots of teeth)
  • Study found 47% of adults in US had periodontitis, 70% in population 65 and older
  • Hardly any signs of periodontitis or tooth decay in primal ancestors (20,000–10,000 years ago)
[7:39] How Dr. Dan discovered the Primal diet/lifestyle

  • Suffered stroke at 59, given seven meds to take
  • Took five-day Nutritional Intensive for Healthcare Professionals
  • Learned about Primal nutrition/lifestyle
  • Changed diet (eliminated processed food)
  • Lost 35 pounds, reduced 7 meds to 2 (taken intermittently)
  • Healthier today than ever
[11:12] The connection between a Primal lifestyle and the health of teeth and gums

  • Incorporates Primal principles into periodontal practice
  • Suggests patients focus on stress reduction, efficient exercise, restorative sleep
  • Recommends nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory foods
  • Conducted study of 13 patients for 30 days, took supplements to increase nutrients
  • Remeasured to see significant reduction in bleeding and depth of infected spaces
  • Peer reviewed literature demonstrates that mouth and organ systems are healthier on Primal diet
[14:10] How Dr. Dan’s surgical practice has evolved

  • Traditional gum surgery first 38 years
  • Now uses laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP)
  • LANAP employs fiber optic light to kill virulent bacteria and stimulate natural stem cells to regenerate bone
  • Incorporates concept of Primal diet
[16:13] The ramifications for patients who don’t adopt Primal diet

  • See hygienist four times/year
  • Continue to deal with manifestations of disease
[17:24] What the mouth can tell you about a patient’s overall health

  • ‘Mirror to the body’
  • Mouth is beginning of digestive tract (unhealthy bacteria in mouth indicates unhealthy bacteria in gut)
[20:03] Dr. Dan’s recommended daily habits

  • Nutrient-dense diet
  • Brush correctly into gum at 45° angle where gum meets tooth with soft-bristle brush
  • Try coconut oil and baking soda rather than toothpaste
  • Clean between teeth with small brush (GUM Soft-Picks)
  • Clean base of tongue with teaspoon twice a day
[24:46] The relationship between fitness and health

  • Aggressive endurance training without time for body to repair is unhealthy
  • Poor diet leads to inflammation and autoimmune disorders
  • Trend in 1980’s to run five miles/day, five days/week has led to hip and knee replacements
[29:54] Dr. Dan’s online consulting practice (periodontics with a holistic approach)

  • Complete patient questionnaire and food journal
  • Email specific questions
  • Communicate via Skype to discuss dietary needs
  • Can’t diagnose or treat, but can offer suggestions and direction

Learn More About Dr. Alvin Danenberg

Online Consulting

Practice in SC

Resources Mentioned

“Gum Disease and Nutrient-Dense Food Supplements: Results of an In-Office Study” in Well Being Journal

Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

GUM Soft-Picks

Primal Endurance by Mark Sisson and Brad Kearns

Pre-Order Crazy-Good LIVING by Dr. Alvin Danenberg

“Do Tattoos Boost Your Immune System?” in Scientific American




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