The Dental Connection and Lyme Disease
As holistic practitioners, we say that the mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body. This is because the mouth can often show early signs of disease that may not otherwise be noticed upon initial examination. A prime example of the mouth-body connection is Lyme disease, which cannot only affect the body but the mouth as well.
WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?
Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) is caused by the tick-borne spirochete bacterium Borrelia Burgdorfer.
Lyme disease is a multisystem inflammatory disease and neurologic, articular, and cardiac manifestations may follow untreated early infection, typically transmitted through deer ticks. If you spend a significant amount of time outdoors and in nature, it is crucial that you make sure no ticks are on your body in order to prevent developing this potentially permanent condition. The disease is characterized by a rash, headache, fever, and chills. In some cases, arthritic, neurological, and cardiac-related disorders can also develop as a result of bacteria transmitted by ticks. Rashes usually carry a bullseye pattern, so catching this early and seeking treatment can make a big difference prior to the onset of flu-like symptoms.
SO, WHAT IS THE CONNECTION TO ORAL HEALTH?
The connection between Lyme disease and dental issues is a two-way street. While Lyme-related microbes can infest in root canal-treated teeth (where the blood supply is cut off) harbors spirochetes. Spirochetes are usually seen with chronic periodontitis which also presents with systemic inflammation symptoms that can worsen infections related to Lyme disease. Certain metals in the mouth can also contribute to the symptoms related to Lyme disease. For example, dental toxicity can lead to symptoms you wouldn’t otherwise assume were caused by your oral health, including cognitive and behavioral problems. Dental work can strengthen infections caused by Lyme disease, which is why certain dental materials need to be taken into consideration. Dental crowns, braces, or titanium implants could potentially aggravate your symptoms further if you have Lyme disease.
Symptoms associated with Lyme disease include headache and facial pain that often mimics dental pathology and temporomandibular (such as TMJ) disorders.
Other oral symptoms can be:
- Dry mouth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pulpitis, or the oral inflammation of the dental pulp
- Bell’s palsy, or partial facial paralysis
- Cranial nerve palsy may occur in early disseminated disease. Bell’s palsy is a form of usually temporary facial neuropathy resulting from inflammation/damage to the seventh cranial nerve (i.e., the facial nerve)
- Involvement of the saliva-producing glands may manifest as brief inflammation of the gland.
- Bad Breath despite excellent hygiene.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
The relationship between wellness and oral health is connected, that is why it’s important to schedule regular appointments with both your general practitioner as well as our team of holistic dental providers for preventative appointments. Pay close attention to your Lyme disease symptoms to confirm that your current treatment plan is working. Do not rule out the possibility that your current oral care or recent treatment is affecting your body’s ability to properly fight off infections. When brushing, make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent accidentally wearing down restorations which can release toxic material into your body. Consider replacing all mercury fillings with non-toxic materials such as composite resin.
Our practice provides holistic dental treatment such as ozone therapy and other minimally invasive procedures that align with the whole body. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gashinsky and our Holistic Team of oral health professionals.