In my last post I admitted that I was shocked – and to be honest – disturbed by the dental hygienist's announcement that I had gum disease. I thought since I was brushing and flossing regularly – meaning at least once a day and sometimes twice – that my gums should be great. But obviously that's not the case! I've been doing a lot of research and there is a lot of information to digest.
In the meantime, let me share what I've learned so far:
If your hygienist finds bleeding when she probes your gums, and pockets deeper than 1 mm you've got gum disease. I think I can safely say your gum disease is in the first stages but you definitely want to start paying attention because healthy gums are tight against the teeth with a pocket measuring 1 mm or less, and there should be no bleeding when the gums are probed.
I have mentioned this to a few people and the automatic response was of course there's going to be blood, she just poked you with a sharp instrument. But what I've learned is that healthy gums should not bleed, and if they do, you have some degree of gum disease.
Why is gum disease bad? Well, on a very basic level you've got an active infection in your mouth. Having an infection anywhere in your body is going to affect the way you feel. And I never really put this together, but did you ever realize that your oral health is directly related to your gut health? Dr. Tom O'Bryan is one of the speakers in the summit and his talk is entitled: Digestive Solutions: The Oral Gut-Health Connection. I will definitely be tuning in for this one (Day 4 March 15th Thursday).
It seems to be generally accepted (in the “regular” dental world) that the pockets can be from 1 mm to 3 mm and as long as their is no bleeding, everything is just fine. However, Dr. Behm (a holistic dentist) states “In healthy gums, the depth of the sulcus is less than 1 mm. If the pockets exceed 1 mm it tells you and the hygienist that bacteria are getting the upper hand, entering the sulcus, attaching to the tooth and tissue forming a biofilm, a hard layer of protection around the bacterial colony.” Source: The Secret to Healthy Gums: How to Keep Your Teeth for the Rest of your Life.
What are these pockets? The technical term is sulcus (the term Dr. Behm used above) and it's the area between your gums and teeth. Ideally there is no gap there at all, but when there is, bacteria like to hang out there. One of the goals of brushing is to disrupt bacteria in this area at least once every 24 hours, otherwise they can begin to take hold and the pocket will grow bigger. My understanding is this all has something to do with the waste that the bacteria give off (so… these bacteria dudes are um… going potty in the sulcus?) And I'm realizing that it's also important to get your teeth cleaned regularly, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I totally get it. Remember I'm the one that doesn't go to the dentist for 2, 3, 4, 5 years in a row? Ugh.
I am going to be 55 this year, and never knew there was a proper way to brush one's teeth. I'm going to link to this video again from OraWellness where Will is going to demonstrate the proper method.
By the way, if you learn that your pockets are measuring over 1 mm you'll need to do more than just brushing and disrupting the bacteria on a daily basis. With my newfound knowledge that the bacteria are toileting in my gums I guess this is like flushing the toilet… yeah… uh…
Please do take a few minutes to jump over to Dr. Behm's post: The Secret to Healthy Gums: How to Keep Your Teeth for the Rest of your Life
In the past week, I have flossed and brushed morning and night, faithfully. I know it's not enough though and I plan to incorporate The Secret again once I build up my stamina because it's a commitment!
In my last post, I shared that the hygienist said the improvement to my gum disease was remarkable. In that post I mentioned my progress but wanted to create a visual representation to show the comparison of improvement between the recent visit and the one from a year ago.
There are six positions around each tooth on the gums where the hygienist checks (probes) for bleeding. Left, right and center at the front and back of each tooth.
The image below indicates where my gums were healthy (not bleeding) vs. unhealthy (bleeding) for teeth 1 through 16 using red boxes with the letter “B” to indicate bleeding, with pink boxes and the letter “N” to indicate no blood.
If you squint while looking at the image you can see that the bottom grid has much less red.
57 positions with bleeding in 2017. 39 healthy.
I have almost 50% less bleeding now with 30 positions bleeding, and 66 healthy.
Next here is the grid showing the gum bleeding on teeth 17 to 32 (notice that it goes backwards as that is how the periodontal chart is laid out).
58 positions with bleeding in 2017. 38 healthy.
Currently only 33 positions are bleeding, with 63 healthy.
I am determined the restore the health of my gums and I really want to reduce the depth of my pockets.
If you are also interested in gum disease and what you should know and can do from a holistic point of view, the Holistic Oral Health Summit (it begins Monday March 12th and it's completely FREE) features two speakers who will be talking about gum disease. Get registered and then mark your calendars:
- Day 2 Tuesday March 13th – John Rothchild DDS – The Truth about Gum Disease
- Day 3 Wednesday March 14th – Lane Freeman DDS – Gum Disease: Signs, Symptoms and Solutions
- Day 4 Thursday March 15th – Dr. Tom O'Bryan – Digestive Solutions: The Oral Gut-Health Connection
Each day there are five talks with five different experts and you can listen free throughout the day. On Day 8 of the summit, just in case you miss one of the talks, you will be able to listen to any of the talks.
If you have to work, like me, you may want to consider buying the summit so that you can download all the talks and have unlimited access. That's what I'm planning to do!
If you are interested in oral health from a biological and holistic perspective please take a moment to register now so that you can take part in this free online event.
The Oral Health Summit is COMPLETELY FREE for seven days. You'll have the opportunity to glean current and innovative information from 35 of the best holistic Dental Health experts in the world.
You're going to learn about:
- Gum Disease
- The connection between Oral Health and Cancer
- Root Canals
- Wisdom Teeth
- Mercury Detox and Amalgam Removal
- How to Have Great Oral Health
- How to Find a Biological Dentist
- Why You Should Avoid Regular Dentists and more!