Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
September 25, 2015
If you had heartburn and took an antacid, that would be easy. Most of the time the heartburn might go away in an hour. Problem solved. If you got heartburn once every 4-5 weeks, and followed the same regimen, you probably would be satisfied and think nothing more of it until another attack occurred next time. Certainly it seemed easy to resolve this occasional problem you seemed to be having. You think, “This is easy; I’ll take another antacid.”
I am a periodontist. I treat gum disease. Some of my patients come to me with bleeding and sore gums. Sometimes it seemed to be as simple as prescribing a mouth rinse or an antibiotic to solve the immediate problem. Sometimes it seemed to be as easy as demonstrating how to use a toothbrush and floss properly that appeared to take care of the problem.
What if heartburn were to come back everyday or every other day? The antacids eased it up, but the discomfort kept coming back. It wouldn’t be so easy anymore.
What if the patient brushed and flossed everyday but still had bleeding gums at every 6-month-visit to the dental office? The simple solution wouldn’t be working anymore.
Maybe the simple solution never really worked in the first place. Maybe the easy solution was only a way to deal with the symptoms of the immediate problem without ever addressing the real cause of the problem?
What’s not easy is to determine the real causes of the problem and treat the disease before it could manifest itself as heartburn or gum disease.
Maybe the heartburn was caused by stress. Deal with the stress effectively, and the heartburn might go away and never come back. Maybe the bleeding gums were caused by deep tartar under the gums like a splinter in your finger. Remove the tartar from under the gums, and the gum disease might go away.
But, maybe the heartburn was caused by something else at a much deeper level. Maybe bleeding gums were the results of something happening in a totally different place in the body.
Almost all diseases start at the cellular level. Something happens to the ability of a cell to perform as it was designed to perform. What happens very often to a cell is a result of the cell not having the fuel to keep running at top efficiency. Either something is blocking the correct fuel from getting into the cell or the correct fuel is nowhere to be found. The cell may self-destruct causing a cascade of events throughout the body. Specific damage to specific cells may manifest itself as heartburn. Other damage to other cells may allow unhealthy bacteria to overpopulate in the body and manifest itself as gum disease.
It may be that certain foods we eat and environmental toxins to which we are exposed are hindering the body to do what it needs to do. It may be that certain nutrient-dense foods that the body needs never get into the body.
Sometimes it is easy to make an immediate problem feel better; but most of the time it is more difficult to determine the real underlying causes of the problem on a cellular level where it all began.
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