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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Whole-Body Health and Periodontal Disease

Jul 31, 2020 10:00AM ● By Carol Layton
Periodontal disease, an infection, is the second-most common cause of tooth loss in this country after tooth decay. A study, “Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010,” that appeared in the Journal of Dental Research, estimates that 47.2 percent, or 64.7 million, American adults have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, a more advanced form of periodontal disease. In adults 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent.

Many microorganisms have been implicated as casual factors in the development of gum disease, such as bacteria, protozoa, viruses or even fungi. Periodontal disease is a long-term, chronic degenerative disease and can be associated with cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. The clinical symptoms and progression of periodontal disease indicate that the body’s defenses are being challenged, and that the immune system is unable to adequately defend against the invaders.

The understanding of periodontal disease has improved dramatically over the years, as well as treatment methods. Today, treatment includes oral factors (symptoms of infection), systemic risk factors (existing whole-body conditions) and environmental risks (i.e. lifestyle concerns such as smoking and diet). The goal is to help patients achieve optimal periodontal health and long-term immunological resistance to infection. Treatments of choice no longer involve frequent removal of tissue (scaling and root planning, removing cementum or periodontal surgery), but treating causes, not effects. Biocompatible periodontal therapy may include:

·  Consulting with treating M.D.s about existing medical conditions and/or systemic tests such as complete blood count or nutritional deficiencies.

·  Proper diagnosis includes periodontal probing, recording of tissue color and texture, bleeding sites, odor or pus discharge, mobility, recession of gum tissue and/or gum tissue destruction and bone loss.

·  Microbiological tests such as phase contract microscopy or cultures if available.

·  Diet analysis and lifestyle consulting.

·  Proper removal of deposits such as calculus and plaque that may be harboring microorganisms and their toxins, preventing proper home dental care. Patient is given advice and suggestions on home dental care.

·  Use of nutritional supplements not supplied by traditional diets, such as grape seed extract, CoQ10, echinacea, folic acid or extra vitamin C.

·  Use of specific oral probiotics to rebalance the oral microbiome reducing pathogens and improving clinical signs of disease. Probiotics may serve as adjunct or replacement therapy substitute for antibiotics, as well.

·  Ozone therapy in all its application forms—gas, water and oil. The beneficial biological effects of ozone, its antimicrobial activity, oxidation of bio-molecule precursors and microbial toxins implicated in periodontal diseases and its healing and tissue regeneration properties, make the use of ozone well indicated in all stages of gingival and periodontal diseases.

Health begins in the mouth. An unhealthy mouth affects the total body, the immune system and an individual’s ability to resist disease.

Carol Layton, DMD, is a biological general dentist who practices mercury-free, metal-free, fluoride-free and mercury-safe dentistry at Hershey Dental Associates, LLC, located at 253 Hershey Rd., in Hummelstown. For more information, call 717-220-1792 or visit