Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, discusses naturally created gum tissue. She is the author of the best selling book, Age with Style: Your Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California. Helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health and author of the best selling book, Age with Style: Your Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today our topic is naturally creating gum tissue. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi John. Thank you for having me.

Reasons Behind Gum Tissue Loss

John: Sure. So, Dr Nammy, why do gums recede and how do we lose gum tissue throughout our lives?

Dr. Nammy: So John, gum tissue, actually you lose gum tissue with age. And it’s very common as we get older, especially 40s and 50s, that we really start seeing a lot of gum tissue that recedes. Some of the reasons why it happens also at younger ages is actually over brushing. If we’re using too much force on our toothbrush, it actually will abrade the natural gum tissue. It’s kind of like if we scrub our skin a little too much with a pumice stone, you’ll get rid of the outer layer. And that’s what happens with a toothbrush because we’re brushing our teeth every day.

And if we’re using too much force and hard bristles, it will actually wear away the gum tissue. And then some of the other reasons are really clenching and grinding. What happens with clenching and grinding is that when you’re putting a lot of forces on the teeth on the top, what happens is the roots of the tooth get a little inflamed and irritated. So it causes gum tissue to go away. Sometimes medications can do it. Also if there’s not enough room for the tongue to be there, and if somebody is snores and also has sleep apnea, anything along those lines, it will cause the gum tissues to recede.

Growing Back Gum Tissue

John: So, is it possible for us to grow gum tissue back once it’s started to go away, once we start to lose it?

Dr. Nammy: So, yes, there are. There ways to grow them back. So if you want your own body to grow them back, the way you would do it would be to move the teeth. Because as the tooth moves, one side of the gum tissue is taken away and the other side is built. So that would be the most natural way to stimulate tissue growth.

John: How do you accomplish that?

Dr. Nammy: So the other way that you can stimulate tissue growth is going to be pinhole procedure. So what we do is reflect the tissue and make little tiny little pinholes really, and stuff it with collagen. So as we stuff the gum tissue with collagen and we let it sit for about six weeks, your body sees the collagen as a foreign object. Because it is not something that’s your body’s, it’s actually a synthetic material. But it’s a raw material that your body can actually utilize in order to recreate naturally healthy gum tissue.

John: And how often do you recommend doing a procedure like that?

Dr. Nammy: A pinhole procedure would probably be necessary maybe every 10 years or so. A lot of times it can last for a lifetime, though.

Stimulating Gum Tissue Growth

John: And are there other natural ways to stimulate gum tissue growth or other procedures that you recommend?

Dr. Nammy: Pinhole, I would say, would be my favorite. The other would be to make sure if there’s positioning with the tongue issues, correcting those will actually help naturally recreate that gum tissue as well, because we’re getting rid of the underlying problem. Anytime we get rid of the underlying problem in putting the teeth back in harmony, it really allows that gum tissue to just really adapt to its environment.

John: If I do have issues like sleep apnea that you mentioned, are there ways to fix that so that I’m not causing more problems?

Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. We can actually make dental devices that actually lift the tongue away and open the nasal sinuses so that you can breathe better, and you have a [inaudible] airway, and you’re able to help with the gums. You’re able to help with your overall body.

John: All right, that’s great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: My pleasure.

John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call 415-578-9347.