This article first appeared in the Sept. 2018 issue of AustinAll Natural magazine.
© 2018, Austin All Natural
THE MOUTH IS A WINDOW INTO THE BODY: Integrative Biologic Dental Hygiene
by Matthew Carpenter, DDS, NMD
Everyone has dental plaque, a mixture of food and bacteria forming on your teeth 24/7. Bacteria in the mouth are normal, but harmful bacteria sometimes take residence in plaque and in spaces where gums meet teeth. These harmful bacteria form disease-causing biofilms and are allowed access to your internal environment and vital organs when oral bleeding occurs in the mouth – frequently the result of excess plaque sitting for long periods of time against the gums. For this reason, increasing your awareness of oral plaque is a key component in improving gum health and preventing decay.
Why we analyze your plaque…
As part of a biologic approach to oral health care, we analyze plaque forming around your teeth to determine if you have bacteria or parasites that are causing periodontal disease and/or other systemic health problems. Periodontal disease affects 80% of adults in North America, and approximately 62% of cases are caused by parasites, living animals that cause varying degrees of infection and symptoms – including digestive disturbances, prostate problems, and anemia.
When patients eliminate these pathogens from the mouth, we observe gingiva healing without surgery, 99% of the time. The goal is to identify the cause of gum problems by microscope, and then treat it without harmful chemicals or costly surgeries.
Bacteria, fungi, and parasites are around you every day, just like the common cold virus. It’s only when your immune system’s compromised that pathogens take hold and cause soft tissue and bone destruction associated with periodontal disease. If it’s not treated and controlled, teeth eventually loosen and fall out.
To evaluate the quality of organisms and the potential for disease in your mouth, a simple test is performed. A small sample of saliva and plaque from around your teeth is collected on a slide and examined using a phase contrast microscope – you can see on the computer monitor what we see under the microscope. By identifying pathogens, we can tailor a protocol that not only improves your oral health but helps in the elimination of systemic infections as well. Our practice specializes in improving immune function and the body’s built-in resistance to disease, and to these harmful microbes. This is, after all, your best defense. Along with our findings, recommendations are made for eliminating infection and boosting your body’s natural defense against opportunistic pathogens.
Then there’s the importance of brushing and flossing.
Diet plays a huge roll in the formation of cavities, but when bacteria sit around in your mouth for a long time, they form more and more sophisticated biofilms – like complex bacterial cities in the mouth. Wise old biofilms use many natural strategies to resist your natural salivary immune defenses that prevent disease, leading to periodontal disease and oral decay.
One key, therefore, is constantly and consistently disrupting these sophisticated biofilms that are always forming in the mouth. This is really the only goal of manual, oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing – disrupting the plaque matrix where biofilms develop.
We teach daily schedules and protocols for removing the plaque matrix that leads to the creation of disease-causing biofilms. We fight oral biofilms intelligently by using ozone when you’re in the office, share strategies for controlling plaque, employ high-quality essential oil blends that naturally kill bad bacteria and break down bio-films, and advocate products that alkalize the mouth and slow the growth of harmful bacteria.
We also repopulate the mouth with health-producing bacteria found in oral probiotics, helping change the culture of your mouth over time to one of health, beauty, confidence, and stability.
When you use most over-the-counter mouthwashes to prevent bad breath, you kill both good and bad bacteria – and it’s up to good bacteria to keep bacteria that cause bad breath in check. In fact, Streptococcussalivarius (not the one that causes Strep throat, but one that can fight oral infections) is often found in healthy mouths, yet is deficient in those who suffer from bad breath.
The best long-term solution to eradicating bad breath is repopulating your oral cavity with good oral bacteria. Typically, we try to mask bad breath with cosmetic products –mouth rinses, mints, gums, sprays. They may offer a quick fix, but those mints and other sugary products are often causing cavities.
Dr. Matthew Carpenter of Transcend Dental Health is an Integrative Biologic Dentist and Board Certified Naturopathic Physician, offering ozone therapy, natural oral care products incorporating essential oils, drill-free air abrasion, non-surgical gum disease treatment, safe mercury and root canal removal, and natural heavy metal elimination. (512) 255-3618, www.tdhtx.com