Gum disease is really interesting because as human beings, we have a microbiome, which basically means we’re actually born with it. As soon as we touch the physical world, we actually come in contact with bacteria. Microscopically, if we looked at our skin, we would see different types of bacteria there. The same thing happens in the gums. In the gums there are good bacteria, bad bacteria, and so what actually occurs in gum disease is the bad bacteria overgrow. We want to get rid of gum disease because every time you swallow, you swallow these bacteria into your system. When you’re swallowing these bacteria into your system, they are linked to heart disease, to basic immunity, diabetes, even Alzheimer’s. It’s really important to make sure that the gums are super clean.
The way you would know you have gum disease is if you bleed when you floss or when you brush. Sometimes you can have a bad taste in your mouth or you can smell. You feel like you have bad breath. You can also see red, swollen gums. Sometimes the teeth are a little loose and that’s a good indicator that there are signs of gum disease. It’s a really good time to get in and get things taken care of.
The best way to prevent gum disease is brushing and flossing. I always recommend floss first, then brush your teeth. Make sure your overall health is in good shape. That is the underlying factor for a lot of these things, especially when it comes to gum disease, because the mouth is the window to the body. The other thing, if you’re an advanced case, that you can do — we actually have something called Perio Protect in our practice. What Perio Protect is, is it’s basically a tray that you wear in the mouth for about 15 minutes a day. It’s loaded with peroxide, a prescription grade peroxide. For my advanced cases, that’s what I usually recommend. What that does is it keeps the bacteria out of the mouth on a regular basis. It’s actually like getting a cleaning coming into the office, but you’re doing that at home every single day.
A graduate of the University of Southern California and the University of California’s School of Dentistry, Dr. Patel is a leader in the movement to bring environmental sanity and well-being into the dental world. As a trusted dentist, Dr. Patel provides her patients with more than just world-class dental care — she helps them recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health. She is also a ForbesBooks and Amazon best-selling author.