I’m A Periodontist:
What Makes Me Different?

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS          January 5, 2016

 

What makes me different? functional medicine

I am a periodontist (a dentist specializing in gum disease) and have been in practice for almost 42 years. I have been trained traditionally, and therefore I would be considered a conventional periodontist.

 

However, for the last 6 years I have abandoned the conventional surgical procedures of treating advanced gum disease and have embraced the LANAP® Protocol (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure). This laser treatment kills specific bacteria that cause periodontitis and assists the patient in growing new bone around diseased teeth. The procedure does not require scalpels or sutures, and the patient returns to his or her normal schedule the next day.

 

In addition, I also have been trained in functional medicine and awarded the designation of Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. That means I not only treat the signs and symptoms of gum diseases. I also actively seek the core causes of these diseases to improve cellular function that could turn these diseases around. Many of these causes are related to our species’ specific nutritional and lifestyle requirements, which have evolved over the last 2.5 million years.

 

With my training in functional medicine, I view the mouth as interconnected to the whole body. I appreciate that anything affecting an individual cell will ultimately affect the entire body. I recognize that underlying issues can trigger numerous and diverse manifestations of disease. Science now is demonstrating the benefits of functional medicine. These include addressing basic causes of disease on a cellular level and finding the right tools at the right time for each individual to improve health and prevent future disease.

 

I see my patients as unique individuals who are experiencing common but advancing periodontal diseases. My goal is to explore each patient’s unique nutritional and lifestyle issues that may be compromising her or his oral health and overall health.

 

In this way, I am different than most periodontists. I combine periodontal treatment, functional medicine concepts, and ancestral nutrition and lifestyle requirements to treat my patients. I offer my patients a health-oriented, patient-centered, holistic approach to periodontal treatment.

 

While I am a gum specialist, my approach is more diverse than that of most others in my profession.

Gum Disease & How I Treat It:
Natural   Meets  Traditional  –  Part 3 of 3

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       December 22, 2015

 

Gum Disease TreatmentIn Part 1, I explained how most of us have some form of gum disease. I also suggested how you could tell if you had this disease. In Part 2, you learned the differences between health and disease as well as the way a dental professional could determine if you had this disease. In this last Part of the series, I outline the causes of gum disease and my treatment methods combining natural and traditional treatments.

 

What Causes Gum Disease?

 

If you had gum disease, here are some generally accepted causes:

  • Bacteria form on surfaces of the teeth where the gums meet the teeth. The bacteria film is called dental plaque. When some of these bacteria become very unhealthy and get under the gum, they cause disease.
  • Some of these bacteria can harden around the teeth forming tartar or calculus. It attaches like barnacles form on the bottom of a boat that sits in the water. The irritation to the gums from the calculus is like a splinter in your finger that irritates the skin.
  • Habits of grinding or gritting your teeth can wiggle the roots in the jawbone. This will weaken the bone just like a stick that is wiggled in the ground will push the dirt aside while loosening the stick.
  • Bad dental fillings can act like irritants damaging the bone. If you had dental fillings that were broken, had rough edges, or didn’t fit properly, they could cause infection.

 

But, did you know there are other causes? These not-so-obvious causes may be even more important than dental plaque or tartar. They include:

  • Eating specific foods that cause bad bacteria to overgrow in your mouth and in your gut
  • Not eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods that can strengthen your immune system and prevent infection
  • Toxic substances in your environment that could affect your immune system
  • Genetic changes that could make you more susceptible to gum disease

 

My Way Of Treating Gum Disease

 

It would be great to take a pill and all of a sudden gum problems would be a thing of the past. It doesn’t work that way. Here is what I recommend for my patients, progressing from what everyone should do to what those with significant disease should do:

  • One of the most important things you can do is to clean your mouth properly. Here is my article on how to do that.
  • If your diet or lifestyle were not healthy, you need to make changes. In my opinion, the healthiest diet for gum health and overall health is a Paleo diet.
  • A dental professional could help by removing any tartar that is irritating the gums. Think of this like removing a splinter in your finger so that the skin could heal. If deeper problems existed, then more advanced treatment might be necessary.
  • If there are broken or rough fillings in your teeth, they should be repaired or replaced.
  • If you have habits of grinding or gritting your teeth, some type of bite treatment or a bite guard must be included.
  • For deeper disease, there is a deeper type of cleaning called scaling and root planing, which is usually performed by a dental hygienist with your gums numbed.
  • For more advanced disease, bone surgery might be necessary. Today, LANAP® (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) is a laser surgical procedure that can treat the infection and assist your own bone to regrow without cutting with a scalpel or using stitches. In my opinion, LANAP is a game changer for the treatment of advanced gum disease and may become the standard of care in the future. Again, this is my opinion, but about 25% of periodontists in the US have become licensed to perform LANAP. When I treat my patients with LANAP, I also provide specific herbs for my patients to support their immune systems while healing.

 

In this series of three articles, I have provided my summary of gum disease, its health consequences, and its causes and treatments. In my opinion and in my experience, incorporating traditional treatment with natural treatment provides the ideal way for my patients to improve their overall health and to improve their mouth health.

Gum Disease & How I Treat It:
Natural   Meets  Traditional  –  Part 2 of 3

   Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       December 21, 2015

 

Gum Disease TreatmentIn Part 1, I gave you an idea how many people have gum disease. Its consequences to health are significant. I also explained how you could tell if you had this disease. In this Part, you will read the differences between healthy gums and unhealthy gums. You also will learn how a dentist can determine if you have this infection.

 

What’s The Difference Between Health And Disease?

 

When the gum is healthy with no disease, it is sealed around the tooth like a tight turtleneck sweater around your neck. The gum protects the underlying jawbone that holds your teeth in place.

 

In gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease), the gums usually become red or bleed easily. If the infection moves under the gums, the gum seal breaks down, and the gum separates from around the tooth just like a turtleneck sweater would not stay up around your neck if it were stretched out. When this infection begins to damage the underlying bone around the roots of the teeth (called periodontitis), the disease can become a problem throughout your body.

 

If you had bleeding gums in the past, but this bleeding has gone away, you may feel like your gums are healthy now. You may think that the problem has resolved by itself. Unfortunately, the problem may have progressed deeper under the gums without you knowing it.

 

How To Determine If There Is Disease?

 

The best way to determine if you have gum disease is to have a dentist or periodontist use a gum ruler (called a periodontal probe) to measure how deep the space is between the gum and the tooth. This measured space is called a gum pocket. Think about a gum pocket like a pocket in a jacket. The depth of the gum pocket would be like the distance your hand went into your jacket pocket until the tip of your longest finger stopped where the pocket ended. These measurements are usually taken around every tooth in your mouth. Healthy depths of gum spaces would usually measure between 1 to 3 millimeters. If pockets were deeper than 5-6 mm, you might have advancing periodontitis.

 

In addition, the dentist should check if the gum had receded around any teeth or if the teeth were loose. Also, the dentist should take specific x-rays to show the bone around the tooth roots.

 

In Part 3 of the series, I outline the obvious and not-so-obvious causes of this infection as well as my treatment for my patients combining natural and traditional treatment protocols.

Gum Disease & How I Treat It:
Natural   Meets  Traditional  –  Part 1 of 3

   Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       December 20, 2015

 

Gum Disease TreatmentI am a periodontist, a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease. I have been treating patients for almost 42 years. I know what gum disease is; I know how to treat gum disease. Also, I know what you need to do to prevent gum disease from damaging your mouth and your overall health.

 

I come from a different perspective: I believe combining a natural approach along with a traditional approach creates the best of both worlds. So, I have put together my thoughts in a series of three Parts.

 

In this Part, I discuss the prevalence of gum disease and what you may notice if you have gum disease. In Part 2, you will learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy gums as well as how a dentist can determine if you have gum disease. In the last Part of the series, I go into the causes of gum disease and my unique approach to treatment.

 

What’s The Big Deal?

 

The big deal is that gum disease is pervasive in our society and affects the entire body.

 

A study published in 2010 reported that 93.9% of adults in the US had some form of gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis usually causes redness and bleeding of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth.

 

Another study published in 2012 showed that 47.2% of the adult population over the age of 30 in the US had periodontitis (which translated to 64.7 million Americans). If you were over the age of 65, the chance of having periodontitis would jump to 70.1%. Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease where the gums are infected and the bone surrounding the roots of the teeth are breaking down. This disease leads to bad breath, loose teeth, loss of teeth, sensitive teeth, pain, gum recession, and even spread of infection to other parts of the body.

 

Gum disease can be a big deal.

 

How Do You Know If You Have Gum Disease?

 

If your gums bleed when brushing or flossing, you probably have some type of gum disease. But, that is not the whole story. You may have gum disease if your gums are not bleeding because the disease may be deeper under the gums. Sometimes the gums may be swollen or tender, but not always. The teeth may be loose or sensitive, but not always. You may have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, but not always.

 

Gum (or periodontal) diseases are divided between gingivitis, which only affects the gums, and periodontitis, which involves the gums around the teeth and the jawbone supporting the teeth.

 

In Part 2, I help you understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy gum tissues and how a dental specialist can determine if you have this disease.

Success With LANAP®

   Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     December 3, 2015

 

I am a periodontist treating gum diseases and have been in practice for 41 years. For the first 35 years of my career, I was treating gum disease like most periodontists throughout the country. In 2010, I was challenged by a patient who asked me what I knew about LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure)? I told her that I did not believe that laser surgery was effective in treating advanced gum disease. I was skeptical, and most periodontists agreed with my opinion.

 

But, I then began researching this new protocol that reportedly required no cutting with a scalpel blade and no sutures. What I learned surprised me. I learned that the published clinical reports showed that this procedure was not only scalpel-free and suture-free, but also it was more effective in treating the bacteria that caused periodontitis and it assisted in new bone growth. In addition, most patients were able to return to their regular routines the next day.

 

My research changed my mind, and I enrolled in the extensive educational program to become licensed as a LANAP clinician. In 2011, I became licensed in this protocol. For the last five years, I have successfully treated advanced gum disease with LANAP. Severe bone loss was regenerated. Here is one of my recent success stories.

 

LANAP Before & AfterThe red circle in the x-ray to the left surrounds a severe hole in the bone, which was the result of severe gum disease. The x-ray was taken on 7/3/2014. One year later, the red circle in the x-ray to the right surrounds the area where most of the destroyed bone was regenerated after LANAP treatment. The x-ray was taken on 6/25/2015.

 

I became a believer in LANAP after I began my research in 2010. Since 2011, my patients have experienced results like this over and over again. LANAP is one of the procedures offered today by periodontists licensed in the LANAP protocol. You could think of the LANAP protocol like this: It is like removing a splinter from your finger, destroying the harmful germs in the area, and assisting the area to heal completely as it was before the splinter punctured the skin.

 

In my professional opinion, LANAP has changed the playing field of treatment for advanced gum disease. Today, I incorporate my treatment of gum disease with a Paleo diet and lifestyle to improve the overall immune system and health.

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my email alert list here.

What Did You Say I Have?

        Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       November 8, 2015

 

evolution r“What did you say I have? I brush my teeth everyday and floss when I can. Now you say I have gum disease that is eating away at my jawbone! How did this happen to me?”

 

You are not alone!

 

A study published in 2010 demonstrated that 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth.

 

Another study published in 2012 by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 47% of the US adult population has periodontitis (the advanced stage of gum disease that eats away at the jawbone). If you were over 65 years old, the prevalence of this advanced infection jumped to 70%. Wow!

 

Advanced gum disease typically does not hurt. The earlier stage of this disease, which is gingivitis, usually produces bleeding gums. But, if gingivitis progresses to the more advanced stage of periodontitis, the bleeding generally stops as the infection moves deeper under the gums to begin destroying the jawbone.

 

If left untreated, periodontitis will cause teeth to get loose. Teeth will become sore and painful to the touch. Chewing will become uncomfortable. Infection that is around the tooth root could be pushed into the blood system, affecting other areas of the body. These gum infections could also become severe in the mouth resulting in much swelling, bleeding, and odor. Once the structure of the jawbone is significantly destroyed, the only option would be to extract the teeth involved. In addition to mouth problems, gum disease has been associated with many other bodily conditions such as diabetes, pre-term and low-weight babies, heart disease, and many more.

 

There are many causes. The most common is bacteria that get under the gums around the teeth that thrive off of the sugars and refined carbohydrates we eat abundantly everyday. Another cause is the lack of efficient oral hygiene, which includes effective tooth and gum cleaning habits. Additional causes are the health of our digestive system, the nutrients that are in our foods, our stress level, and our genetic predisposition. Frequently, habits like gritting or grinding your teeth, even if you are not aware of this habit, could weaken the jawbone and result in further destruction.

 

You cannot change your genetics, but you can change the quality of foods you eat and your lifestyle, and you can learn to properly clean around your teeth and gums.

 

Those who read my blogs may know that I am a periodontist (gum specialist) with 41 years experience in treating patients with advanced gum disease. I also am licensed in the laser gum treatment called LANAP® (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure), which is patient-friendly and involves no cutting with scalpels and no stitches. I have found this to be the best way to treat advanced gum disease. In addition, I am a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner using this background to guide patients to a healthier diet and lifestyle. Some of my patients decide to complete a 3-Day Food Journal, which allows me to evaluate their eating and lifestyle habits and then to recommend healthier food and lifestyle choices.

 

I offer my patients a Lifestyle Repair Plan, in which I recommend an anti-inflammatory diet, selecting from a host of nutrient-dense foods. These are the foods that have a great deal of nutrients packed into each calorie. My Plan also incorporates changes in lifestyle that are critical for overall health. Included are concepts of health maintenance like Oral Care, Restorative Sleep, Efficient Exercise, and Stress Reduction – concepts that I have summarized into simple and doable steps.

 

My goal for my patients is to treat their active gum infections, teach them methods to maintain a healthy mouth, and assist them with eating and lifestyle changes that could lead not only to a healthier mouth for the rest of their lives but also to a healthier body.

We Were Born to be Healthy:
Part 6 of 7

evolution rThis is installment 6. Part 1 is HERE; Part 2 is HERE, Part 3 is HERE, Part 4 is HERE, Part 5 is HERE.

 

Here is how I treat advanced gum disease in my office.

 

I first address the acute problem if there is one. Other dental procedures that need to be completed are treated. Then I perform specific gum treatment usually using the PerioLase laser with LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure).

 

Following active gum treatment, I establish a necessary maintenance program based on the needs of each patient.

 

But, I go a step further. I incorporate my knowledge of primal nutrition and my appreciation for gut health. I provide nutrition and immune support for my patients who are interested in improving their health for the rest of their lives.

 

Nutrient-Dense foods:

 

The science clearly shows that nutrient-dense foods are medicine. They allow every cell in our body to survive and thrive. The trick is knowing what these foods are and what they are not.

 

It is important to understand that any nutrient isolated alone in a synthetic supplement form does not produce the health effects, as would a whole food containing that nutrient. Real food contains so much more nutrient-synergism than we understand or comprehend. Our knowledge is not as advanced as we might think it is.

 

This is a typical meal of the Standard American Diet.

Burger for blog

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This is the obvious result of years of ingestion of the Standard American Diet.

Cellular damage was actually occurring and beginning to compound decades before clinical signs and symptoms were evident.

Overweight for blog

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Here is a summary of nutrient-dense foods:

Animal proteins should be pastured and wild caught – not grain fed or farmed. Organ meats are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet – liver, brain, heart, kidney (you may need to acquire a taste for these). Healthy fats are your friends, contrary to popular belief. Saturated fats from grass fed beef or pastured pork are healthy; coconut oil is healthy; avocados are healthy; butter from grass fed cattle is healthy. All non-starchy and deeply colored veggies are healthy. Seaweeds like kelp and wakame are healthy. All dark colored fruits like berries in moderation are healthy. Nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, and fermented foods are healthy. Homemade bone broth is extremely healthy for your gut. And don’t forget clean, filtered water.

 

A healthy plate of food

In order to get the combination of micronutrients and macronutrients your body requires and craves, you could think about eating in this way:
Food Plate for blog

For every meal or snack you eat, visualize it like a plate of food.

  • More than 1/2 of the plate should be non-starchy veggies with healthy fat like olive oil or melted butter from grass-fed cattle.
  • Up to 1/4 could be a protein like salmon or pastured chicken or grass fed beef with its own healthy fats.
  • And less than 1/4 could be a few nuts or a few blueberries or maybe a small sweet potato – again with some healthy fats if possible.

 

Here is what to avoid:

Grains, processed foods (including pasteurized milk products), sugars, industrial oils, and legumes (because of antinutrients and high carbohydrates) should be avoided. Animal products from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) should definitely be avoided. CAFOs are cluttered, unhealthy factories where antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, and other toxic substances often are administered to the livestock. Then these meats are processed for sale.

 

These are CAFOs

CAFO 1 for blogCAFO 2 for blog

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In the next and last installment, I will discuss some natural supplements I suggest to my patients, and then I will wrap up my thoughts with my overall lifestyle philosophy.

Your Gums and Your Health

evolution rI write frequently about nutrition, gum disease, and overall health. This is my passion since I know first hand that providing our cells with the nourishment and supportive lifestyle they need will allow our bodies to thrive. You could read my personal transformation here.
 
I want to share some thoughts about the connection between gums and health.
 
Do you have gum disease?
 
If your gums bleed sometimes, you most likely have a form of gum disease called gingivitis. This is an infection; it involves inflammation and bacteria. Often, this infection can travel under the gums and into the jawbone surrounding the roots of your teeth, which transforms into a more advanced stage called periodontitis.
 
Gum disease can give you bad breath, loose teeth, tenderness in the gum tissues, gum recession, and root sensitivity. It also can participate in spreading infection throughout your body. Unfortunately, as the disease progresses, your occasional bleeding gums might go away, causing you to believe that this disease is not a problem any longer. Don’t become misled. Often this infection has moved deeper under the gums and into the bone around your teeth, slowly destroying your jawbone. The bleeding has stopped, but the infection is worse. And, it may not cause pain until the teeth are ready to fall out.
 
But, be aware that bleeding or sore gums might be something other than gum disease. The mouth mirrors many of the internal functions and malfunctions of the entire body. Sometimes, both a dental as well as a medical evaluation are necessary to determine if you have gum disease or something totally different.
 
What can you do about gum disease?
 
You need to be cleaning your mouth properly. A well-trained dental hygienist can demonstrate what you need to do if you need some help. I find that most people will benefit by brushing with an electric toothbrush that efficiently cleans the bacterial film from around much of the tooth. It is also important for you to clean between the teeth with floss and a small brush that is designed to clean the in-between spaces as a bottle brush would clean the inside of a baby’s bottle. Brushing is all about removing the bacterial film (called dental plaque) from the surfaces of the teeth. When it comes to toothpaste, my recommendation is organic coconut oil and baking soda.
 
For most people, I recommend the following for effective tooth cleaning:

  • Have a small jar of coconut oil and baking soda in your bathroom. Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties; baking soda has very low abrasiveness and helps maintain a healthy pH level in your mouth. The coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but melts at 76 degrees F.
  • Dip your toothbrush bristles into some coconut oil, and then dip them into some baking soda. I like an electric toothbrush because it is more efficient than a regular manual toothbrush. I find that the electric toothbrushes that sit in a cradle that charge from an electrical outlet in the wall are much more effective than battery-operated brushes, which don’t seem to have much torque.
  • Next, place the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle into the gum margin where the gums meet the teeth. The baking soda will make the toothpaste taste salty.
  • Turn the brush “on”, close your lips to keep the drool and splatter in your mouth and not all over the bathroom wall and mirror, and let the electric toothbrush do all the wiggling. Just move the brush from one side of your mouth to the other staying in the gum margins. Be sure to clean all the outside surfaces facing the cheeks and lips and then all the inside surfaces facing the roof of your mouth and your tongue.
  • You also want to clean the in-between surfaces of your teeth. Floss is good, but I also like a tiny brush that fits between the teeth. Think about how you would clean the inside of a baby bottle. These little interdental brushes are soft, and they gently remove the soft bacteria sticking to the tooth surfaces between the teeth as you slide the brush in and out between these teeth.

 
The bacteria, which are major factors causing this infection, also can harden around the teeth and under the gums. A dentist or a dental hygienist can gently remove these deposits called tartar that are like barnacles that form on a boat’s bottom as it sits in the water. Tartar irritates the gum tissues like a splinter in your finger would irritate the surrounding skin until it was removed.
 
To understand what is going on with your gums, you should make an appointment with a gum specialist (periodontist) like myself. A periodontist could help you learn how this infection might be spreading in your body and how it might be arrested and healed.
 
Gum health and overall health
 
Gum health is not only about brushing and flossing. While most dental offices will never address nutrition in depth, I believe nutrient-dense nourishment is a critical component for a healthy mouth and a healthy body. The refined carbohydrates (like breads, cereals, processed foods, sugars) that you consume can increase bad bacteria in your gut. Then, unhealthy bacteria from your gut can affect the bacteria in your mouth by way of your saliva. These unhealthy bacteria have a negative effect on overall health as well as mouth health. Infection-causing bacteria forming in your mouth feed off of the refined carbohydrates you consume to cause gum disease and tooth decay – a vicious cycle.
 
This cycle needs to be broken. The ways to a healthy mouth and a healthy body must start with individual cell health. And, the only way a cell can get healthy is with proper nutrients and the removal of any irritants. You need to remove the bad and replace it with the good. From a mouth perspective, it means removing the soft bacteria and the tartar from around the teeth. From a nutrition standpoint, it means eating nutrient-dense foods and removing the unhealthy carbohydrates. From an overall perspective, it also means obtaining restorative sleep, effective exercise, and stress reduction.
 
If you would like, you could schedule a phone consultation with me. You would fill out a Questionnaire and a 3-Day Food Journal (both are on my Website), then send them to me by FAX or online. If you would prefer, you could mail them to my Post Office Box listed at the bottom of this page. I will review them and call you by phone or Skype to discuss your issues. I am here to help if you feel the need.
 
I see patients in my office located in Bluffton, SC (843-593-8123). The way I treat advanced gum disease is by incorporating a laser procedure called LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) with Primal Nutrition and Lifestyle concepts. Positive lifestyle changes can make all the difference as they assist cells around the teeth as well as cells throughout the entire body in healing.


“I Feel Guilty”

evolution rMy patient called me the other day, one day after her LANAP® procedure. She said she “felt guilty.” I asked her, “Why?” She said that she took off from work all day Friday because she had the laser gum surgery I performed for her on Thursday. I asked her, “Then, why do you feel guilty?” She said, “Because, I had no pain or discomfort, and I feel guilty because I took off from work. I could have gone back to work the next day with no problems.”
 
That is the type of comment I hear from my patients following LANAP procedures.
 
LANAP stands for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure. This is a cutting-edge laser protocol for advanced gum disease called periodontitis. This treatment does not require cutting with a scalpel and does not require any stitches. As my patient stated, most patients go back to their normal routines the next day.
 
Periodontitis is a chronic infection of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth as well as a destructive infection of the bone that supports the teeth in the jawbone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsored a vast study of the US adult population that was reported in 2012. This study was the most comprehensive study of its kind ever done in this country. The results were stunning. It discovered the prevalence of periodontitis in the US adult population over the age of 30 was 47% (64.7 million Americans), and the prevalence of this destructive disease jumped to 70% in the population aged 65 and above.
 
“This is the most accurate picture of periodontal disease in the U.S. adult population we have ever had,” said Pamela McClain, DDS, and President of the American Academy of Periodontology at the time of the paper’s publication. “For the first time, we now have a precise measure of the prevalence of periodontal disease, and can better understand the true severity and extent of periodontal disease in our country.” Link to quote.
 
Not only is this an infection of the gum tissue and bone surrounding the teeth, it is an infection that can spread to many other areas of the body.
 
Some of the signs and symptoms of gum disease might be bleeding gums, swollen or red gums, bad breath, loose teeth, sensitive teeth, and receding gums. Unfortunately, a person does not have to have these symptoms to have this infection. The infection could be so deep that these symptoms, which may have been a problem many years ago, are no longer an obvious problem. The disease may have gotten so deep that all the typical symptoms have gone away. But, the infection is still there – only much deeper. The ultimate result could be abscesses, pain, loss of teeth, and spread of infection throughout the body.
 
There are various ways to treat this infection, but diagnosis is the first and most important step. Without a thorough examination by a trained dental professional, a person may never know if he or she has this disease until the teeth were unable to be saved. Once this infection is properly diagnosed, treatment could be started.
 
Usually, patient-friendly treatment consists of removing the causes of the disease and then assisting the body to repair the gum and bone structures. In my opinion, it is critically important to educate the patient in making nutrient-dense food choices and eliminating unhealthy food choices. This healthy eating lifestyle could be a determining factor for disease returning in the future or not. Links are here and here.
 
The current treatment technology has advanced to the point that procedures do not have to be uncomfortable. And, the results are far better than protocols from years gone by.
 
The best part of LANAP is that patients get much better results than tradition periodontal surgery without pain or swelling or bleeding. Here is a link to some clinical research.
 
I have been practicing periodontics for 41 years, and for the first 35 years of my career I was performing traditional periodontal surgery. Results were good, but the healing process was uncomfortable. For the last 5 years or so, I have been providing my patients, who require treatment for their gum disease, with the better option of LANAP. The LANAP protocol kills the offending infectious bacteria without harming healthy gum, bone, or tooth. The LANAP protocol also assists the patient’s ability to grow new bone where there was diseased bone from the infection. It is estimated that approximately 30% of the periodontists in the United States now are incorporating this protocol in their treatment of periodontitis for their patients.
 
I am somewhat unique in that I incorporate the cutting-edge treatment of LANAP with primal nutrition and lifestyle. I have found that LANAP in combination with healthy changes in food choices has provided the body with an increased ability to heal. Patients have been pleased, I have been pleased, and their gum disease has been treated with much better results than conventional gum surgery.
 
I designed and implemented an in-office study in 2014 that investigated the effects of specific nutrient-dense food supplements on gum disease. Well Being Journal published my research in its March/April 2015 issue.

What To Do About Your Gum Disease?

evolution rPeriodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease that destroys the gum as well as the bone supporting the roots of teeth. It is the manifestation of a disease process where specific virulent bacteria are creating inflammation and byproducts that are destructive. These bacteria have gained dominance in the mouth because of various reasons.
 
One reason might be the unhealthy food choices that have affected the unhealthy gut bacteria to become overgrown and to affect the entire body. Another reason might be damage to the gut lining allowing undigested proteins to leak into the bloodstream causing chronic inflammation and autoimmune issues. Still another reason might be that necessary micronutrients that our individual cells require to maintain healthy function are lacking in the foods we eat. While all these might be contributing factors, there still is a virulent strain of bacteria in the mouth creating havoc. What can be done?
 
Technology today has significantly improved the comfort for the patient and the healing results. The LANAP® (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) protocol using the PerioLase® Laser effectively will destroy these harmful bacteria without harming healthy gum, tooth, or bone tissues. It also will assist the jawbone surrounding the teeth to repair and regenerate. There is no cutting with a scalpel and no sutures. Patients generally return to their normal routines the next day. You will find several research articles on LANAP here.
 
For long-term control and prevention, good oral hygiene and healthy food choices are critical. Eliminating the offending foods that started the problem in the first place will go a long way in preventing disease in the future. Eating the foods that can support the health of individual cells is just as important. As I have indicated in previous blogs, our primal ancestors hardly ever had gum disease. In addition, today’s hunter-gatherer societies around the world who have never consumed these modern-day processed foods are relatively free of gum disease as well as the types of chronic diseases plaguing most westernized societies.
 
Research has shown that xylitol, a sugar alcohol derived from the bark of birch trees, not only can help to prevent tooth decay but also may be able to turn off the biochemical processes that allow this virulent bacteria to cause destruction of the gum and bone tissues around the teeth. Using xylitol while brushing the teeth might help to calm down this disease process in the future. Some xylitol is manufactured from corn products. I recommend xylitol that is made from birch trees.
 
I completed a study in my offices with several of my patients that had active advanced gum disease to determine if specific nutrient-dense food supplements would improve their infection. The results have been positive, and you can read them here.
 
So, a good program that could eliminate advanced gum disease and prevent its return might include:
 
• Destroying the offending bacteria that are causing the disease and assisting the body in regeneration through the treatment of the LANAP protocol
 
• Eating a Paleolithic-type diet, which avoids the unhealthy foods and replaces them with healthy ones
 
• Performing good oral hygiene daily that might include the use of xylitol, and consuming specific nutrient-dense food supplements