Mouth Cancer:
New Research – Old Enemy

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
September 25, 2017 [printfriendly]

 

 

Mouth CancerMouth cancer accounts for 2% – 4% of all cancer cases; however, mouth cancer is increasing in frequency. A specific mouth cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), makes up 90% of all mouth cancers. Unfortunately, the 5-year survival rate for patients with OSCC is 40% -50%. Since there is relatively no pain with OSCC, early detection is critical but rare.

 

If we knew what was causing mouth cancer, we might be able to nip it in the bud. There is new research suggesting that OSCC might be caused or aggravated by an old enemy – Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis).[1] 

 

Porphyromonas gingivalis

P. gingivalis is a major bug in chronic periodontitis. Its aggressive behavior in dental plaque may be a direct result of chronic systemic inflammation and a compromised host response.[2] Once P. gingivalis becomes pathogenic, the immune system has a difficult time killing it.

 

Resulting damage to the jawbone from periodontitis is more than a result of bacteria. It is predominantly a result of chronic inflammation created by activation of the immune system to try to kill off P. gingivalis.[3] It is interesting that P. gingivalis can penetrate into epithelial cells and exit from epithelial cells, all along increasing chronic periodontal infection.[4] This bacterium can also penetrate other cells and travel to various parts of the body, leading to other diseases.[5]

 

Research & OSCC

Research has shown that P. gingivalis will spread to initial lesion sites of OSCC in the soft tissues of the mouth.[6] Another study found that oral cancer cells and cancer stem cells became more aggressive after repeated infection by P. gingivalis.[7] Tumor-like changes appeared to occur with long-term infection from P. gingivalis.

 

If periodontal disease were diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, then the tendency for P. gingivalis to increase the potential for epithelial cells to become malignant might be halted.

 

Treatment of Periodontitis

One of the most effective methods to destroy P. gingivalis, which can live inside epithelial cells and in the infected spaces under the gum tissues around teeth, is the LANAP(R) laser protocol. LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) also has been shown to stimulate regeneration of damaged jawbone, periodontal ligament, and cementum on the tooth root surface.[8] Here is an animated video that shows how the LANAP laser procedure is performed.[9] This procedure does not require cutting the gum tissues or placing stitches. Patients usually go about their normal routine the next day.

 

In addition to treating periodontitis, the practitioner should emphasize nutrition and lifestyle changes. It is also important to enhance the immune system and eliminate chronic systemic inflammation. A nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet will go a long way in assisting the body to heal and protect itself going forward.

 

 

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Gum Disease:
When Bad Bugs Revolt

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
February 27, 2017 [printfriendly]

 

 

gum disease: when bad bugs revoltWhen bad bugs revolt, the result is gum disease.

 

The most obvious signs of gum disease are bleeding gums and gum infection. The most obvious causes are unhealthy clumps of dental plaque around the gum margin and irritating tartar located under the gums. I’ve written about dental plaque and dental tartar in the past. But, before there is unhealthy dental plaque and irritating tartar, there usually was something bad going on in the gut.

 

Something makes the normal level of healthy bacteria in the gut become out-of-balance. The bad microbes become “bullies”. They start to overwhelm the garden of healthy gut bacteria. These “bullies”, along with remnants of undigested foods and toxic irritants, can damage the one-cell-layer-thick gut lining. Once this lining is breached, these irritants can leak into the blood system. Then, cascading problems develop:

  • The immune system gets out of control
  • Chronic inflammation begins circulating throughout the body
  • Other organs become damaged
  • The bacteria in the mouth start to change for the worse

 

The obvious and necessary treatment for unhealthy gums includes removing the unhealthy plaque and the irritating tartar. But, that is not all that needs to be done. In addition, the gut must be made healthy; and nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods must be introduced into the diet to replace bad food choices.

 

But after all this, what if gum diseases still persist? What could be the causes of further gum bleeding and gum infection? The answer might be that stubborn and virulent microbes still are playing havoc under the gums. These bad guys could leak into the blood system, creating problems throughout the body. Let’s take it to the next step.

 

Cutting-edge research

Brad Wilson, DDS from Houston, TX has been doing cutting-edge research with PathoGenius Laboratory. Dr. Wilson has created a protocol to discover the bad bugs that continue to be out-of-control in the mouth. I am using this test to investigate those bad guys in my patients’ mouths.

 

The protocol begins with the patient brushing into his or her gum tissues. This will loosen dental plaque. Then the patient will give a saliva sample. Next, the sample is sent to PathoGenius Laboratory, which will test the saliva for microbes.

 

This innovative analysis determines ALL bacteria and yeast species in the sample using each bug’s unique DNA structure. The resulting lab report identifies the most harmful, disease-producing bugs in the mouth. The report also points out antibiotics that could kill the bad guys with minimal harm to the good bacteria. It is important to avoid a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which kills bad as well as good bacteria. Only the bad guys should be targeted, leaving the healthy bacteria to function normally.

 

If the lab results show harmful bacteria detected in large numbers, the patient moves on to the next stage to destroy them.

 

Methods to kill the bad bugs

If there are no deep pockets of bacteria and if there is no advanced jawbone destruction, I will recommend an antimicrobial to destroy these bad bugs. Choices are a systemic antibiotic or a localized antibiotic as suggested by PathoGenius Laboratory. Sometimes I recommend a natural product like raw honey to eliminate the bad bugs. I have written about the medical benefits of raw honey several times. (HERE. HERE. HERE.)

 

However, if gum infection is advanced and significant bone destruction has occurred around the teeth (known as periodontitis), I recommend a unique laser protocol called LANAP® (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure). LANAP will destroy any remaining harmful bacteria and will assist the body in regenerating new bone.

 

Summary

Gum disease is usually the direct result of unhealthy clumps of dental plaque and buried tartar under the gums. Deep tartar irritates the gum areas like embedded splinters irritate the skin of a finger. Unhealthy plaque and irritating tartar need to be removed. But, nutrient-dense foods and a healthy gut are critical for ongoing health of the mouth. I teach my patients how to change their diet to improve their mouth and to improve the rest of their body.

 

If there are any significant amounts of pathogenic bacteria in the mouth, they must be identified and eliminated. Bacteria-specific antibiotics or natural remedies may be necessary to reduce these bad guys. In advanced periodontal disease, not only resistant bad bugs need to be destroyed but also damaged jawbone needs to be regenerated. For the patient with advanced periodontal disease, the LANAP protocol has been documented to be an excellent treatment to return the area to health. LANAP is my choice of treatment for patients with this level of periodontitis.

 

 

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Major News Release by the FDA

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     March 30, 2016   [printfriendly]
 
 
     
 

LANAP no cut no sutureToday, the FDA made a substantial statement about LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure).

 

The clearance by the FDA of the laser procedure called LANAP to regenerate bone and tissue will change the playing field in the treatment of advanced gum disease forever. I have been licensed in the LANAP procedure for the last 6 years, and it has been the most revolutionary change I have made in my 42-year career as a periodontist.

 

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7 Things I Used To Know
That Just Ain’t So

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     March 7, 2016   [printfriendly]
 
 

7 things I used to knowJosh Billings (the 19th Century humorist) put it so clearly: “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.”

 

As a periodontist, I have been treating patients now for 42 years. That is a long time. You would think that I should know everything that there is to know about gum disease – its causes, its treatment, and its prevention. If any medical doctor or dentist or any other professional told you that he or she knew everything that there was to know about a subject, run as fast as you could to the nearest exit.

 

I live and breathe “outside of the box.” I have an open mind about almost everything. It is exciting for me to learn new things and even change the way I currently do things if a better method or newer knowledge were proved. I am still aware that these newer and better ideas may still be changed or disproved in the future. I will continue to learn until I die. This invigorates me.

 

So, with that said, here are seven hard and true dental facts that I have learned in the past during my professional career that no longer are valid or accurate. I have included peer-reviewed research LINKs:
 

  1. Brushing and flossing are all that is necessary to prevent gum disease and tooth decay: Disease-producing dental plaque is clearly unhealthy. Brushing and flossing properly will remove it. But, eating processed foods is actually the more important culprit of increasing harmful bacteria in the gut and in the mouth. LINK.
  2.  

  3. Killing all the bacteria in the mouth is the goal for a healthy mouth: Healthy plaque actually is made up of numerous microbes that benefit one another. If they were to be destroyed, or if their delicate balance were to be altered, tooth decay and gum disease would ensue. LINK. LINK.
  4.  

  5. Antibiotics should be used to treat infections in the mouth: While some acute infections must be brought under control through the use of systemic antibiotics, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics will damage good bacteria in the gut as well as in the mouth. LINK.
  6.  

  7. Traditional gum surgery (including cutting open the gum tissues, cutting the damaged jawbone, and using sutures) is the treatment of choice for treating advanced periodontal disease: Research has shown that a specific type of laser can kill the virulent bacteria that cause periodontitis and increase the potential for some of your own damaged jawbone to regrow. LINK . This procedure is called Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP), and does not require scalpels or sutures. You probably would be able to return to your regular routine the next day.
  8.  

  9. Mercury fillings are the best way to treat a decayed tooth: The science is out there. Today, dental fillings incorporating biologically compatible materials are excellent choices to repair decayed teeth. Mercury fillings are not one of them. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can interfere with numerous biological pathways in the human body. LINK.
  10.  

  11. Fluoride is necessary to remineralize a tooth and prevent tooth decay: While locally-applied fluoride preparations can harden susceptible tooth surfaces, diet is more important. Nutrient-dense foods that also are anti-inflammatory can provide the building blocks to strengthen and remineralize tooth surfaces. LINK.
  12.  

  13. Mouth problems are independent from what is going on in the rest of the body: P. gingivalis (an aggressive bacterium causing periodontitis) can invade other tissues and potentially may cause other systemic diseases. LINK. LINK.

 

I will be the first to declare that what I am doing is no longer valid when science demonstrates that it is no longer effective. Is your health professional open to new knowledge? He or she should be!

 

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5 Questions Dental Patients Frequently Ask

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     January 30, 2016   [printfriendly]

5 QuestionsI’ve been consulting with patients as far away as Australia, Switzerland, and England. They all seem to have similar questions. They’ve told me that their local dentists either can’t answer their questions or don’t want to answer them.

 

Are some of their questions your own? Here are the five questions most frequently asked:

 

  1. Why do I have gum disease since I brush and floss everyday?
  2. Why hasn’t my dentist been able to give me the answers?
  3. Can my advanced gum disease be treated without surgically cutting my gums?
  4. Are my kids destined to suffer as I have?
  5. Can I spread gum disease to my partner like the germs of a cold?

 

Here are my thoughts:

 

  1. Why do I have gum disease since I brush and floss everyday?

 

Although brushing and flossing are important, there are many other not-so-obvious causes of gum disease:

  • Certain foods we eat affect the bacteria in our gut, which in turn affect the bacteria in our mouth. Processed foods like grains and sugars create an increase in unhealthy bacteria in our gut. When bad bacteria get out of control in our gut, they increase the bad bacteria in our mouth. Bad bacteria that become dominant in our mouth cause bad bacteria to overgrow in the dental plaque around the teeth. When these bacteria predominate, they ferment the refined grains and sugars that we eat to form acids and inflammation. A vicious cycle begins between the foods we eat and the bacteria in our body, which results in advancing tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Many of us don’t eat the foods that are necessary for health. We need necessary nutrients to fuel individual cells, and we need fiber to feed our healthy gut bacteria. When we don’t get the nutrients we need, our immune system suffers. If our immune system suffers, the health of our mouth suffers.
  • Our immune system also is affected by emotional stress. Cases have been reported where individuals under significant emotional stress developed severe inflammation and gum sores without the abundance of unhealthy bacteria.
  • Environmental chemicals that get into our body can disrupt our cell’s ability to function properly. These chemicals can be in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. If cells don’t function properly, chronic inflammation could occur. Chronic inflammation can cause havoc throughout our system including our mouth.

 

  1. Why hasn’t my dentist been able to give me the answers?

In dental school, dentists-to-be learn about the obvious causes of dental disease. They also learn traditional treatments to repair damaged teeth and gums. Unfortunately, they learn very little of the nutritional, environmental, and psychological causes of oral disease. Without this additional knowledge, they may not be able to answer some of your pressing questions.

 

  1. Can my advanced gum disease be treated without surgically cutting my gums?

Today, there are regenerative procedures that can assist the body to heal from advanced gum disease without using scalpels and without using stitches. In my office, I use the PerioLase® laser along with the LANAP® Protocol (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure). They do not require scalpels or stitches, and they have been shown to kill bacteria causing periodontitis and to stimulate new bone to grow around teeth. HERE. HERE. You can watch this animated video showing the LANAP procedure in action.

 

  1. Are my kids destined to suffer as I have?

Your kids need to be taught good oral hygiene. Also, nutritional and environmental factors need to be controlled to help your children be healthy. You are their example. You, as an adult, set the rules. If you eat healthy foods and promote a healthy lifestyle, then your kids will be positively influenced. You must become educated in what is healthy and what is not. Your children do not have to suffer dental decay or gum disease. Our primal ancestors over the course of 2.5 million years hardly every experienced dental decay or gum disease. Primal societies today rarely have dental disease or chronic disease. Huge factors for health include never eating processed foods and living an active lifestyle without environmental toxic chemicals.

 

  1. Can I spread gum disease to my partner like the germs of a cold?

The bacteria causing gum disease are not airborne like the viruses that cause colds. However, they may be transmitted between partners through intimate kissing. Based on a person’s immune system, these unhealthy bacteria from one partner may or may not affect the other partner.

 

These are a few of the most frequently asked questions I get. If you can think of others that you need answered, drop me an email. I will try to respond in a timely fashion.

 

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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 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.

 

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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.