Posts Tagged ‘gum disease’

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

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How to Use an Oral Irrigator

The typical Western lifestyle and diet have changed the state of general dental health around the globe. Our bodies aren’t so effective at self-cleaning anymore, and that includes our teeth. Does it not seem like they decay so easily? We devote multiple times daily to scrub the plaque out of our teeth and gums before infections set in. Our teeth and immune and detoxifying systems are weak and delicate.

Having a perfect dental hygiene regimen won’t always guarantee complete resistance to dental disease, but it is certainly the simplest and surest way to avoid it. Yes, it’s work. It’s easy and common for most people to compromise on the effort put into dental care. But simple, initial cleanliness can spare most people a lifetime of inconvenience, expensive treatment, and discomfort.

Oral irrigation is one extremely effective step you can take against most kinds of dental and gum disease. Done correctly, you will be amazed at how many particles of food you see washed out of your teeth even after you’ve brushed and flossed! It is a little more effort added to your oral hygiene regimen, but you will surely be motivated to keep using it once you see how much food is left behind in your mouth without it.

Here’s another little video to give you a rounder picture and a how-to:

I highly recommend investing in one of these simple appliances. It could make or break your body’s ability to prevent or heal dental infections.

Happy irrigating!

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Natural Relief from Pericoronitis

We learned a few weeks ago that crowded wisdom teeth are the most common root cause of pericoronitis because of their slow and inhibited, often incomplete, emergence. Since a lifetime of prevention is really the only “cure” for crowded teeth, we’re left to manage the consequences of malnourishment. Pericoronitis is just one painful, unfortunate result of the wisdom teeth not having enough room to come in properly.

Many, if not most, people have their wisdom teeth removed either out of necessity or recommendation by their dentists. A good number of people keep those teeth, however, for one reason or another. A few have wisdom teeth that come in normally and healthily. Regardless of where you stand, an oral irrigator is an indispensable tool for prevention and early treatment should your wisdom teeth become susceptible to an infection like pericoronitis.

An irrigator is an excellent appliance to keep by your bathroom sink. We can show you how to use it if you don’t have any experience with one. Oral irrigation is one of the best things you can do for your gums, whether it’s around your wisdom teeth or the rest of them. The clean feeling they leave behind is unbelievable. Particular to pericoronitis, though, it is one of the easiest ways to keep the large gum pockets around the wisdom teeth free of food particles, making it an inhospitable environment for infection.

Even if an infection does set in, an irrigator is good for keeping the area clean and hopefully speeding up the process. Of the two scenarios you want to be in, prevention is by far better; irrigating the area affected by pericoronitis will help, but will be incredibly painful.

What are some other ways of coping with a pericoronitis infection?

In my office, we can help with some ozone treatment or laser therapy. This is probably the most effective treatment.

At-home remedies include rinsing or irrigating with a solution of warm water and baking soda. This can be very soothing, but must be done frequently because the effect is temporary. It is helpful for keeping your mouth clean, however. Adding hydrogen peroxide to your oral irrigator is also a good idea.

Diluting top-quality clove bud essential oil in a carrier oil (like coconut oil, which is also healing to gum tissue) and applying it to the area can help. Start with a 1:30 ratio of clove bud oil to carrier oil and work your way up until you feel the numbing effect. You might receive compliments for smelling like pumpkin pie.

You are a trooper if you make it through a bout of pericoronitis without pharmaceutical assistance. Pericoronitis can develop into something more serious, so don’t completely mask the symptoms with painkillers. As I’ve said before, while you’re treating it, consuming only nourishing, well-cooked soft or liquid foods will ease the chewing burden on your teeth and will help your immune system fight the infection.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

What Causes Pericoronitis?

I wrote a post on pericoronitis some time ago, and it remains the most popular post on this blog.

I’m going to pose a new concept for many readers:  Did you know that all of our adult teeth are supposed to fit in our mouths? And did you know that the reason they don’t is because of nutritional deficiencies starting from the time of conception in the womb and carrying on into a child’s adolescence? Crowded, crooked, and impacted teeth are a result of underdeveloped skull, facial, and palate structure. The exact causes behind an underdeveloped skull and skeleton are details for another post, maybe a different blog entirely, or you can overwhelm yourself with incredible information on this site or in this book. However, although other factors contribute, you can be sure that diet plays the leading role in determining both short- and long-term tooth and bone health.

That being said, if we and our mothers all had perfect diets, pericoronitis would be a rare infection. But it is not. Pericoronitis is ubiquitous nowadays because the health of our society has swiftly deteriorated in the last century, thus wisdom teeth have no room to grow straight or emerge quickly in our small skulls and narrow palates. It’s too bad that the time for prevention and healthy bone development is long past by the time wisdom teeth start coming in for most people. Invasive surgeries and removals are not only normal, but expected.

Since wisdom teeth typically grow in crookedly, large pockets between the tooth and gums form as the tooth erupts slowly, partially, or in the wrong direction. These pockets are hard to see and reach for cleaning. They are perfect breeding grounds for infection if malignant bacteria find their way to the area and set up camp. The infection feels more serious than it really is, but it should be monitored because it could easily spread and become a sincere threat to your immune system (although the pain is almost always enough to get your attention). It can last for about two weeks, give or take. The minute your gums feel sore in the area is the minute you need to find a sink, an irrigator, and hydrogen peroxide. A clean mouth and a steady intake of probiotics are essential for overcoming this miserable form of gum disease.

Anyone out there suffering from it right now? My next post will go over some of the more useful, natural ways to soothe the pain and help your body fight the infection.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Treating Gum Recession with Dr. Chao’s Pinhole Surgical Technique (TM)

Traditionally, the way gum recession is treated is by performing gum grafts. Gum grafts are essentially stitching extra gum tissue (taken from elsewhere in the patient’s mouth) to the affected area, sewing everything up, and waiting several months for it to merge and heal and return the patient to normal. This method is effective and is how dentists are trained to treat more severe cases of gum recession. However, gum grafting is slow, invasive, riskier, and generally an involved, expensive process that interferes with the patient’s daily life.

That’s why I am so excited about the PST. If you saw the video I previously shared, you can see an illustration of the two methods compared side-by-side. The PST is a quick, simple, low-maintenance procedure with healthy and natural-looking results. I imagine patients would watch it and think, “Why on earth have dentists not come up with this sooner?” I agree. Sometimes solutions come along that are just so logical, so sensible, it makes you wonder why we even started out with more complicated treatments. Kudos to Dr. Chao!

PST is a method by which a tool is inserted directly into the gum tissue and is used to gently, partially separate the tissue from the underlying facial bones. The tool is like a hooked needle, which sounds awful, but it means nothing gets sliced up; the only mark left behind is — you guessed it — a little pinhole that heals up in a matter of hours.

After the insertion and loosening of the gum tissue, the gums are then pushed downward (or upward, depending on where we’re working) in sweeping motions around sterile teeth. When the gums are nice and cozy up against the teeth again, treatment is finished. Collagen is then inserted behind the gums to stabilize them and speed up the healing process.

Essentially, the Pinhole Technique not only physically manipulates the gums so that they once again surround and envelop the teeth, but also stimulates the surrounding area so the gums continue to grow and flourish and stay put in their proper place. A clean, disease-free environment is important, however, and this technique is not appropriate while gum disease is present.

Healing takes place in a matter of days, even overnight for some cases. The patient may not have to take time off work or interrupt his or her busy life. The pain and medical risks are minimal, if any. It is truly amazing, and I’m excited to incorporate it into my practice. I hope many future patients will benefit from this new technique.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Our office is closed until September 24th for renovations. Please contact us when we’re up and running again to schedule an appointment. Thank you! www.dds4smiles.com