Posts Tagged ‘gingivitis’

Gum Disease and Whole-Body Health

A few months ago I wrote a post about dental health’s connection to whole-body health, and how a patient dealing with a mouth disease and another disease could be experiencing two symptoms of one root cause, or a deeper health issue that may be overlooked. I want to continue this discussion by using the example of the factoring causes that link gum disease to other illnesses.

Gum (periodontal) disease happens when bacteria build up separates tooth and gum, leading to infection, decay, and tooth loss. Several studies are being done that connect this to a list of other health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) disease, cancer, pregnancy issues, osteoporosis, gluten intolerance, and obesity. But how are they connected? If we look at the body as one whole, functioning system, there are some root causes that could explain the relationship between two (seemingly) separate problems.

One cause to be aware of is oxygen deficiency in the body, which is often overlooked. When the system isn’t receiving the oxygen it needs, the body cannot function normally and the outcome is an increased risk of cancer, disease, infection, aches and pains, and other overall metabolic malfunctions.

Another important factor when looking at overall health is the body’s pH balance. Anything below 7 on a pH scale is acidic, and anything above 7 is alkaline. Because many people’s diets consist of inflammatory foods, it is easy for their pH balance to be below 7, causing the body’s system to be overly acidic. This inhibits and harms the metabolism and immune system, making them much more susceptible to disease and infection, from gum disease to heart issues.

These are just a few possibilities, and at the root of them is an unhealthy lifestyle that results in a body unarmed to fight disease. This is why being aware that your body is a systematic whole is so important! Take care of your teeth, take care of your body, and don’t believe that they are isolated; the health of one affects the health of the other. Here’s to healthier mouths and bodies, and a better quality of life!

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Advertisements

Gum Recession: the How and the Why

How do people end up with recessed gums? Gum recession is a common result brought about by gum disease  (or its more advanced stages of gingivitis and periodontitis) and abrasive over-brushing (brushing your teeth too harshly too often with the wrong brush). Perhaps poor dental work in the past has caused an imbalance in the mouth, possibly a bite malfunction that has, over time, negatively affected occlusal (bite) functionality.

As a side note, yes, even slight imbalances in bite mechanics can cause long-term diseases and vulnerabilities that seem unrelated. That’s why holistic dentistry is so important: we get to the root of the problem, considering the whole patient. If you try treating gum recession without first considering the possibility of TMJ problems, mercury poisoning and tissue rejection from amalgam fillings, or miscalculated restorations, you may only have to do it again, with poorer results each time.

So why is gum recession a problem? Recessed gums weaken and loosen the roots of teeth, exposing the vulnerable parts to physical injury and infectious bacteria. Gum recession sets the stage for tooth decay and tooth loss. Practicality aside, bad cases of gum recession are not aesthetically pleasing and may cause patients to be self-conscious.

In my next post, I’ll talk a little bit more about the Pinhole Surgery Technique (PST) by Dr. Chao that’s used to correct gum recession without surgery.

What about you? Have you had any experience with gum recession, or do you know someone else who has? News of this Pinhole Surgery Technique may be a welcome relief, then… or maybe something you wish your dentist knew a long time ago.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

LANAP Dental Laser Protocol

LANAP stands for Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure. It is a special protocol taken when treating patients with a dental laser. The LANAP method is designed not only so the need to cut into tissue is eliminated, but also so it biostimulates the body’s regenerative properties so that healing is quicker and completely natural. Dental lasers are mostly used for treating varying stages of gum disease, but can be applied to other procedures as well, such as implants or anything involving soft tissue.

Traditional invasive cutting, reshaping, and suturing when treating severe gum disease causes a lot of pain, bleeding, and slow healing. Treatment with a dental laser is gentle enough that it may allow you to go back to work the very next day! Lasers in dentistry are about as cutting-edge (pun intended) as technology gets right now, and the results are extremely satisfying for patients.

This video is a quick demonstration of the LANAP gum disease treatment process. It is animated, so the squeamish in the audience need not fear any gore. Seeing how it works will help you understand what goes on beneath the gums where you can’t see, and also why it is so important to proactively keep your teeth clean and healthy.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Irrigating Infections Away

Inflammation, redness, and painful swelling of the gums are unfortunate complaints among the general public. Gingivitis — the name for this inflammation of the gums — is most often caused by teeth and gums that are not cleaned thoroughly. The bad bacteria get out of control and cause pain. One might experience just a little bleeding or sensitivity when flossing, or a mouth so swollen it becomes too painful to eat. It is a vicious cycle: a small infection produces pain, which begets difficulty to clean, which begets more infection, which begets more pain…

Yes, it is definitely something you want to avoid. If you have frequent “sore spots,” you may need to reevaluate how effective your at-home cleaning routine is. It is good to pay attention to how your gums are doing every day and to be very thorough about cleaning them out, even if it hurts a little. It is better to deal with a little pain now than unbearable pain in the future.

Sometimes, though, regular hygiene at home isn’t enough. In most cases, if gingivitis has developed into a more serious problem, patients on their own can heal from diligent care at home using an irrigator. Daily irrigation gently keeps the gums cleaned out and restores the proper environment for healing. Patients who suffer from mild to severe gum disease report that their gums gradually heal, shrink up against the teeth, return to a normal pink color, and are able to function normally again because the inflammation is greatly reduced. Not to mention, the need for chemicals and drugs is greatly reduced, if not eliminated. Oral irrigation is highly recommended for healing infections, particularly early gum disease or any inflammation around the teeth.

Whether or not you are prone to gum disease, if you do not have an oral irrigator, we recommend you look into investing in one. Not only will your teeth be so much healthier and low-maintenance, but you will save headaches and money for dental expenses in the long run.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Further Insight On Gum Disease

When we check for signs of gum disease, we use a thin, tiny ruler to measure the depth of these “gaps”, or “pockets”, along your gumline. This can give us an idea of how well your teeth and gums are doing healthwise. Healthy gums and healthy teeth have pockets that measure at 3mm or less, which is equal to slightly less than 1/8 in. However, at around 3mm, early stages of gingivitis (fancy name for the first progression of full-on gum disease) may appear: the swelling, redness, and sensitivity of gums may start becoming a bother. From there, the pocket deepens as the infection grows, slowly separating the tooth from the gum tissue. This is how the tooth becomes loose or how it eventually falls out; the tooth’s root is in serious danger!

Another thing to consider is that these acidic bacteria and their acidic waste (yes, their waste, as in feces!) can become trapped in this pocket between tooth and gums. The gums, most likely, are already pretty swollen, so any deep-cleaning is painful to begin with, which leaves the bacteria to continue multiplying and rotting your tooth. Getting an ozone cleaning will help out with this a little bit, but it’s always the price to pay for poor oral hygiene habits (…or the lack thereof).

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com