Man has suffered seemingly from the beginning of existence from Dental Caries (Decay) and Periodontal (Gum) Disease with resulting loss of tooth structure, recession and loss of supporting structures and loss of the teeth themselves as well as all the associated pain, discomfort, aggravation and expense without any sure way to prevent this from happening.  All past efforts such as tooth brushing, flossing, irrigation, use of fluoride, sealants, mouthwashes, toothpastes, etc. have only reduced the amount of disease and destruction not eliminated it. Sadly almost without exception the public thinks that is the best we can do, that there are no better answers, and that dental disease and losing teeth are just part of life.

According to the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  47.2% of adults aged 30 years or older have some form of periodontal disease; that is 93,000,000 (93 million adult Americans).  Exact statistics on the incidence of gingivitis and periodontal disease in Europe and Worldwide are hard to find, but based on US Statistics it is shocking to realize that worldwide it is probable that more than 1.8 Billion people on Earth suffer from some sort of periodontal disease.

An alarming fact is that the bacteria that cause Gingivitis and Periodontal disease can go anywhere in the body and have been shown to be associated with Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Obesity, adverse pregnancy outcomes, Osteoporosis, Respiratory Disease, Cancer, higher risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer’s and Dementia as either a contributory or causative factor in the same way smoking is associated with Cancer.

The impact of dental disease worldwide is staggering: Besides the untold pain, suffering, and impact on systemic health, the global impact of dental disease amounts to well over US $400,000,000,000.00 dollars (400 Billion).

I want to mention here that my experience with using antibacterial therapy coupled with really effective home care while treating thousands of patients over my career has convinced me that not only can we radically reduce periodontal disease, but we can also radically reduce Dental Caries/ Dental Decay.  I believe although we are focusing on periodontal disease we need to note that preventive dental care can and has eliminated decay as an issue for thousands of patients.

There are over 600 varieties of microorganisms which can be found in the mouth.  A relatively small number of varieties are bad/ pathogenic (disease causing).  The consensus seems to be that the actual number of proven pathogens is 20 or less depending on whose research you use.  There are two main characteristics of these oral pathogenic bacteria (those bacteria which can cause decay or periodontal disease).  One is that they are anaerobic (do not like oxygen) and like to live where there is little or no oxygen, like between the teeth, under the gums, or in defects in the teeth or restorative dental work.   The second is that they have an incredibly fast metabolism (they move about  and multiply rapidly).   Because of this fast metabolism they need food constantly and form chemical which enable them to do this.  Because of the action of these bad/pathogenic bacteria our bodies immune system reacts to defend us from these bacteria.  The immune system walls off and tries to destroy these bad/pathogenic bacteria, but unfortunately in the process of building this defensive “wall”  the body has to break down a small amount of tissue structure and you do not get this back.   As a result over time this causes loss of the attachment mechanism that hold the teeth in place (gum recession, increase in crevise/pocket depth, and bone loss).  As this process progresses the teeth have less support and may become mobile,  the roots are exposed which are much more vulnerable than the enamel to wear, erosion, and decay.   This process may continue until tooth loss occurs. (During the entire time that an individual has Periodontal Disease it is important to note that the Disease causing Bacteria can and do enter the lymphatic and blood supply of the individual person and contribute or cause a negative impact on the body by contributing or causing the diseases and conditions we mentioned earlier)