Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Oct 2000

Healthy Start for Your Mouth

Research shows that an overgrowth of oral bacteria, inflammation and infection can pave the way for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021. Written By Angela Pirisi.


Periodontal disease, known as gingivitis in its early stages, is a long-term, low-grade bacterial infection that breeds tooth decay and loss. Unfortunately, the miserable prospects don’t end at a toothless grin, since science is now uncovering gum disease’s link to serious systemic diseases too. The latest research shows that an overgrowth of oral bacteria and the ensuing inflammation and infection can pave the way for such chronic conditions as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis. Basically, the findings stem from the fact that what’s bad for the teeth is apparently also bad for the rest of the body. Infection and inflammation in the mouth can easily provoke similar heightened immune reactions elsewhere, which can manifest problems such as clogged arteries, brittle bones and glucose imbalance. Luckily, taking some extra oral care above and beyond brushing, flossing and regular dental visits can go a long way in helping you to keep your teeth and your health.

Such new knowledge makes a product such as MistOral II even more of a weapon among your arsenal against gum disease. Formulated by the creator of the original MistOral Donal Joseph Carter, Ph.D., the new oral spray formula is a potent mix of 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide solution (a commonly used antibacterial) and a number of natural anti-microbials. One of MistOral II’s proven ingredients, which has been newly added to the spray, is folic acid. Why folic acid? A number of studies are demonstrating this B-vitamin to be highly effective in preserving gum tissue and reducing the possibility of gingivitis and periodontitis. While the benefits of swallowing folic acid supplements to protect against heart disease and birth defects have been well documented, new evidence suggests that using folic acid topically, as a mouthwash, can strengthen one’s oral defenses. Studies have demonstrated folic acid’s ability to improve gingivitis symptoms and reduce gum tissue’s inflammatory response, as well as making it more resilient to irritants, such as bacteria and plaque.

In addition, MistOral II contains a host of other antioxidants, one of which is alpha-lipoic acid. Known as a powerful metabolic antioxidant, it fuels and preserves other antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, as well as raising levels of detoxifying glutathione. Further, alpha-lipoic acid itself is great for clearing the body of toxic metals. It also boasts a small molecular size that allows it to penetrate the cell membranes of gum tissue easily to maximize antioxidant activity.

Green tea extract, another key ingredient, is known to pack a strong antioxidant cocktail made up of polyphenolic compounds called catechins. Two in particular, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) and epicatechin gallate (ECg), have been shown to combat oral plaque and bacteria. These green tea polyphenols work as anti-plaque agents by suppressing glucosyl transferase, which oral bacteria uses to feed on sugar. Other research has demonstrated that green tea extract can kill oral bacteria and inhibit collagenase activity. Collagenase is a natural enzyme that becomes overactive in the presence of bacterial overgrowth, and it can destroy healthy collagen in gum tissue.

Emerging evidence about aloe vera gel says that it may enhance wound healing by increasing collagen turnover, namely synthesis and degradation, and cross-linking of newly formed collagen. It also has significant anti-inflammatory activity, blocking certain integrins (proteins) that would otherwise assist defensive cells such as blood neutrophils to create tissue damage.

Meanwhile, bee propolis, often called Nature’s penicillin, has historically been used to treat TB, ulcers, mitosis, colitis and to boost immunity. It has been shown to destroy bacteria, viruses, fungus and even penicillin-resistant bacteria (staphylococcus). It contains bioflavonoids, one of which (galangin) is a natural antibiotic. As well, propolis boosts immune functioning, specifically by increasing the activity of phagocytes (killer cells). Propolis also inhibits prostaglandin production, thereby stopping inflammation.

Camu-camu, a shrub from the Amazon rainforest, is revered for its rich supply of vitamin C (30 times more than the amount found in oranges), which aids in circulation, fortifying blood vessel walls and regenerating tissue. Moreover, camu-camu has astringent, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Another ingredient, vitamin K1, controls excessive gum bleeding and reduces inflammation. It’s also important for maintaining the integrity of teeth and the supporting bone structure in its capacity to regulate and channel calcium into bones and teeth. Tea tree oil, used as an oral rinse, has been proven to kill bacteria. In fact, research has shown that a tea tree oil concentration of 0.6% inhibited 14 of 15 oral types of bacteria. Both gotu kola and vitamin E help to heal wounds and promote connective tissue growth, as well as fight free radicals. The echinacea/chapparral/pau d’arco trio make up an antibacterial team that also tames inflamed gums. Goldenseal is another medicinal plant that boosts immune function. Myrrh oil boasts antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is also know to tighten gums and ward off pyorrhea. Chamomile is a mild anti-microbial, as is red thyme oil. Finally, ingredients such as parsley, spearmint, menthol and eucalyptus are stimulating to the gums, as well as proving refreshing and cooling for the mouth in general.

—Angela Pirisi