Biological Dentistry and Gum Inflammation
Inflammation is seen every day in dental health, including bleeding, red, puffy and sometimes painful gums and even malodor. When people floss between teeth, they may often stop due to bleeding gums. The dental hygienist’s concern is that chronic inflammation can cause bone loss, gums recede over time and teeth can lose support and become mobile. Often, the bone loss is visible on X-rays. The second major concern is that bacterial invasion can cause systemic bacteremia and reduce the body’s ability to suppress other diseases.
There are 600 species of microorganism in the mouth, mostly harmless but some are serious pathogens that can cause tooth decay and gum disease and wreak havoc on our overall system. The presence of neutrophil, or lymphocytes, white blood cells or spirochetes and gliding rods are markers for inflammation.
Studies show the correlation between quality foods and gum inflammation—bad fats and sugar are the culprits. Dr. Barry Sears, author of The Zone Diet, writes, “Trans-fats block omega-3 and cause inflammation.” Trans fats such as liquid vegetable oils used in French fries, vegetable oils, margarine, chips, cookies and doughnuts are to be avoided. Dr. Walter Millett, of the Harvard School of Public Health, writes, "Trans fats are a type of mostly human-made fat that industries love, but our hearts and blood vessels don't." He has observed inflamed gums and bleeding on patients' diets of pork and non-grass-fed beef, compared with vegetarians or organic meat consumers. Also, sugar consumption promotes a breeding ground for inflammation.
Another major cause of impaired immunity and gingival bleeding is stress. Helpful practices include meditation, aromatherapy, hiking, gardening, birdwatching or a short vacation.
In biological dentistry, a plaque sample is taken prior to tooth scaling to detect under a microscope potential bacteria that could produce inflammation. This will open a new dialogue in terms of how to approach it in the office and as a home care protocol. Before the chair procedure begins, there is a discussion of medical history, including medications, rate of stress, lifestyle and nutrition to find out if there are other reason for the gum inflammation.
Ozonated water is used to flush the plaque and calculus, followed by instrument tooth scaling. In case there is significant gingival (gum) pocket depth and repeated signs of inflammation, this is followed by deep scaling under the compromised tissue, followed by a laser treatment to control bacterial decontamination, together with bio-stimulation.
At home, to prevent or reduce gum inflammation, besides brushing twice a day and flossing, it is recommended to follow that up with an oil-pulling protocol, an Indian traditional medicine. This procedure, called kavala graha, uses organic coconut and unrefined oil. The lauric acid content fights bacteria, viruses and even fungi and Candida, reducing oxidized LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Use one teaspoon of coconut oil, swished through the teeth for a minimum of 7 to 25 minutes, and then spit it out and rinse the mouth thoroughly. Repeat this routine daily for four to five weeks. Another option is using sesame oil with a drop of oregano oil, clove thyme or tea tree oil.
Dr. Westin Price, a nutritionist who found that after years of research that eating local foods and avoiding industrialized processed foods will maintain straight teeth and a strong jawbone. Spices such turmeric and ginger are also used against inflammation, Recommended alkaline foods include acai fruits fish, garlic, onions, leeks, barley, broccoli, cabbage, hot peppers nuts, sprouts and yogurt—also antioxidants such as lipoic acid, vitamins C and E, glutathione (the master anti-oxidant), lycopene, CoQ10 and flavonoids.
Preventive visits to a biological dental office, where the priority is the support of healing as emphasized in Eastern medicine, are essential. The doctor priority will be equipped to avoid and eliminate toxins from dental materials and use only biocompatible and non-toxic elements that support the patients health and well-being.
Florentina Galla is a registered dental hygienist with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in holistic nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health. She is also the author of Confessions of a Holistic Hygienist in a New Era of Wellness available at Amazon.com