Gum disease prevention and treatment
The teeth have two sorts of tissue –
- the gums or gingiva (pink surrounding tissue)
- the deeper periodontal tissue that supports the bone connections.
Both can become infected by bacteria.
Periodontal disease is an infectious disease, causing inflammation and breakdown of connective tissue and ultimately loss of the supporting bone around the teeth with eventual loss of the teeth. Like most infections it can be more virulent if the terrain is weakened and therefore more susceptible.
At Lotus Dental we use Oravital BiofilmDNA™ diagnostics to ensure we treat the specific bacteria and microorganisms that are causing the periodontal problem.
Once you receive your diagnostics report you will also have the option of treatment with the Oravital® System for oral infection control.
Why does gum health matter so much?
The link between gum health and general heath
It’s not just about losing your teeth. There is a strong link between infected gums (periodontal disease) and heart disease, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and premature births.
This may be direct cause and effect, where gum disease and the bacteria involved directly causes these problems, or it may be other manifestations of the same disease process. Infections, toxic load and other stresses on the system create an acid environment, circulation of free calcium, chronic inflammation and connective tissue breakdown.
Remember that autoimmune disease starts with inflammation, so the more we can reduce infection and inflammation in the body the better our chances of good health and longevity.
What does gum disease look like?
Signs include red, bleeding gums; shrinking of the gums, exposing the roots of the teeth (getting “long in the tooth”); and in later stages the teeth begin to loosen and can move out of their normal position.
Gum disease will usually cause really bad breath and a bad taste as well.
You can see the loss of supporting bone around the teeth on an X-ray. In chronically infected gums with deep pockets the dentist will often find pus when probing into the pocket.
An early sign of periodontal disease is bleeding gums when you brush or floss but often there are no symptoms or pain from gum disease so the patient is unaware of the severity of the situation until it is picked up during a dental examination.
What you can do to help prevent gum disease
Your everyday choices are essential to good gum health
Floss and brush daily to remove food and plaque. Eat a nutrient-rich, low inflammatory diet.
Smoking is a huge risk factor. It weakens your immune system and makes it harder to fight off infection. Once the gums are infected it makes it harder for them to heal.
Regular dental cleaning is essential. Your dentist or dental hygienist should treat the gums by physically removing the calcium deposits and bacteria at regular intervals of 4, 6, or 12 months, depending on your susceptibility to gum problems.
In aggressive gum disease we often find spirochete bacteria, the same kind of bacteria involved in Lyme disease and leprosy.
It is a communicable disease and these spirochetes and other bacteria can be passed on to children from their parents and other adults in close contact, setting them up for oral and general inflammation and associated health issues.
Step 1 – Testing
At Lotus Dental we use Oravital BiofilmDNA™ testing to identify the specific pathogenic bacteria, as well as any viruses and yeasts present in the mouth and an individual’s susceptibility to gum disease.
Step 2 – Care program
We can then design a customised oral care program for you including
- Regular maintenance visits
- Using soft tissue lasers and ozone to treat persistent infections and inflammation
- Oral antimicrobial mouth rinses to target specific bacteria as determined by the testing.
- In very severe cases surgery may be required to access the deep pockets to clean them out and make the area easier to maintain good oral hygiene at home. *
- Once the pathogenic or “bad” bacteria have been reduced it is very useful to build up the numbers of beneficial bacteria with oral probiotic lozenges in a similar way that probiotics are used to improve gut microflora.
By the use of all these tools in our treatment of periodontal disease, as well as appropriate nutrition and supplementation, the total body burden of infection and inflammation can be reduced.
Eliminating the cause of bad breath can also do wonders for your social life!
So in summary…
If you want to maintain excellent overall health your teeth and gums are a key part of the equation. Along with a daily care routine, regular dental examinations and oral hygiene treatment are essential.
*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.