There was a fascinating and revealing study that took place in 2016 by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine suggesting that oral bacteria may be a potential contributing factor to the onset of migraines.
According to the study, the connection between oral bacteria and migraines may be nitric oxide, a cellular signaling molecule involved in many pathophysiological processes. Past studies have shown that increased levels of nitric oxide in the bloodstream may play a critical role in triggering migraine headaches as well as tension and cluster headaches. In this most recent study, researchers suggest that oral bacteria produce nitrites when they break down nitrates (a common food preservative), which can then be converted into nitric oxide in the bloodstream.
Certain foods like hot dogs, lunch meat, and bacon are processed with nitrates, which act as a preservative. When a person eats a food with nitrates, the bacteria in the mouth and saliva do what they are supposed to do: They break it down.
When bacteria eat sugar, they break it down into acids–which, as most healthcare professionals know, can ultimately dissolve tooth enamel and cause dental caries. With processed food, those same bacteria break the nitrites down to nitrates, which then get converted into nitric oxide in the bloodstream. And when circulating nitric oxide levels increase, it can trigger a debilitating migraine, tension headache, or cluster headache.
The reason why we are so motivated to educate our practice members and the entire community is because of the irrefutable connection between oral health and overall health.
There are currently hundreds of ongoing studies, continue to explore the inextricable health link between the mouth and the rest of the body. These studies are on the leading edge of a paradigm shift in medical research that is focused on the the microbiome on and inside of each of us. Widespread research in this human biome suggests that these organisms can either benefit or destroy our health. Leading medical experts expect to find major medical breakthroughs from this new focus.
Our hope and desire is that you avoid becoming part of these statistics/studies by putting your oral health first. If you have any questions or concerns, we are always just a phone call away at CODE Clinic as our primary motivation is to help people thrive in all aspects of their life based on their oral health decisions.