Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Reversing My Gum Disease Successfully

I reversed my gum disease successfully in 32 months by swishing frequently with water and cleaning once daily with a sonic toothbrush (Philips Sonicare) and a water flosser (Water Pik) before an intentional nightly fast. (2012 update: my new dentist pronounced me problem-free on December 10.)

In the 1990's at my first visit to Mountain View Family Dentistry at University Drive and Lindsay Road in Mesa, Arizona, I was told sternly that I was infected with advancing gum disease, and I was required to brush, floss, and rinse with Listerine after every meal, followed by no intake for 1/2 hour afterward. Never in my life had I flossed my teeth regularly, nor had I ever been a diligent brusher, but I served my sentence, and at the following examination, I was told my condition had improved.

Fast forward to April 6, 2010 at Bright Now! Dental at Greenfield Road and Baseline Road in Gilbert Arizona. I listened as the periodontal pocket depths were read one by one around my mouth, and I was alarmed to hear "6" fourteen times and "7" once. I had periodontal gum disease pockets 7 millimeters deep. That is over 1/4" deep!

For a few years I had been waiting for an excuse to fast for several days. The results of that dental exam alarmed me so much that I got on the internet to research gum disease cures, and bought that very day a Philips Sonicare toothbrush and a Water Pik water flosser and began preparing for a long water fast (fasting is a technical subject and a lost art not to be undertaken lightly; I had studied fasting for a few years).

My internet research on gum disease cures didn't specify fasting, but I was previously interested in fasting, and I knew it was helpful for all kinds of infections and diseases. What my research prompted me to do was buy a Water Pik and use bleach in it for a while based on the recommendations at that were allegedly published by the American Academy of Periodontology in 2004. Also based on that guide I bought some Stimudent toothpicks.

My fast lasted 12 days. By the end of it I had zero acne and zero ear infection symptoms. So it's likely my gum disease was also severely weakened.

After my fast, my oral hygiene has mainly consisted of using the Philips Sonicare brush and the Water Pik (sometimes with diluted Listerine in the reservoir) once daily before an intentional nightly fast. I have had two exams since April 6, At the most recent exam the worst readings were fifteen "4"s and four "5"s. That's improvement! (December 2011 update: fifteen "4"s and one "5") (December 2012 update: "no problems" and no charge for periodontal cleaning) I'll discuss the three components of my routine below:

Philips Sonicare toothbrush

The Philips Sonicare toothbrush was recommended by my dentist. It replaced the Braun Oral B Sonic Complete brush I was using previously. I rock it around to find and brush or rock gently with particular attention to the areas of maximum sensitivity around my teeth.  This is not an endorsement for the Philips Sonicare toothbrush or even for sonic toothbrushes in general.  It's merely a report of what I did.  But I believe brushing for two minutes was a key part of my healing, and I believe good results were easier with a sonic brush.

Water Pik

I use the Water Pik on about 1 or 2 power (out of ten), the minimum that will force water into my gums. I try to remember it is an irrigator, not a sandblaster. I use the nozzle that has a flexible needle-nose tip or the smallest glass nozzle to push down between teeth and gum. After I eat and brush, the Water Pik invariably flushes out additional seeds and bits of food. When I brush and water floss properly and regularly, I have no bad morning breath. Sometimes I follow the water flossing with a Hydrogen Peroxide or Listerine rinse.

Intentional Nightly Fast

Not just for oral hygiene, to reverse my gum disease, but for overall good health, I do my best to prolong my nightly fast between my water flossing and my breakfast. It's very reasonable to have a customary fast of 12 hours or more with nothing but plentiful water consumption. I have to confess I often feel so nice with my clean morning teeth and stomach that I don't eat until noon, prolonging my nightly fast for as much as 18 hours. Even so, I don't doubt a customary 12-hour fast (say from 6:00 to 6:00) would be effective for my mouth hygiene as well as my general health.


Throughout the day, I swished water through my teeth vigorously and frequently, especially after any snacks or meals.  See also my recent experience with Oil Pulling.

Summary, I have in 8 months reduced my periodontitis from fourteen 6-mm pockets and one 7-mm pocket to fifteen 4-mm pockets and four 5-mm pockets (December 2011 update: fifteen "4"s and one "5") (December 2012 update: "no problems" and no charge for periodontal cleaning) by beginning with a 12-day water fast (I happened to have the necessary knowledge) and maintaining with a nightly sonic brushing, water flossing, and 12-hour or longer fast.

Now for a conscientious plea:  Would you please consider moving all your money including your retirement from stocks and banks to a credit union?  It matters.


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Thomas Gail Haws said...

Nothing like a good freak out to spur a change. Barring some uncommon condition, if you ninja swish and nightly irrigate faithfully and occasionally read one of the blog posts here and the comments, your pockets should start reducing and you may save your teeth yet!

John Coffey said...

Sorry to jump in on this Tom,
Anonymous, when I had deep pockets I never felt a thing, I also had quite a bit of bone loss nor were any of my teeth loose. Personally, I would get a deep cleaning and then floss,Waterpik and then brush in that order. Be sure to use the Waterpik Pocket Tip also, my pockets went from 8-9 down to 2 and 3's. This worked for me,The bone loss can't be reversed from what I have been told but you can take care of the extra exposed teeth that came from it.

Loki Sigurdsson said...

Fasting for 12 days cannot be good at all and will lead to malnourishment and extreme weight loss. You also do not want to be putting bleach in your mouth, it is a poison.

Unknown said...

I never have had periodontal issues, I’m 63 yrs old and was recently told I have 2 10mm pockets at #3 and #30 and they said that srp and arrestin should reduce those pockets. My question, can the dg really reach the base of those pockets to scale them properly or is it a waste of my money to have her try and should I then just cxl and go to a periodontist to flap my gums?? Anxiously awaiting your response since my appt is this Sept 19, 2018

Unknown said...

I’m 63 yrs old and have never had periodontal issues. I was told by a new dentist that #3 and #30 molars have pockets of 10mm. My question, will it be a waste of time and money for the DG to do a srp and arrestin under the pretense that she can reach the base of those pockets and help reduce those pockets or should I cxl and just go to a periodontist to flap my gums?? Anxiously awaiting your response since my appt is scheduled for Sept 19, 2018..

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Unfortunately I don't know the answer to that.

Unknown said...

I’m surprised you don’t have an answer to my issue when you seem to have plenty of answers for many of your other guests.. I don’t mean to sound condescending, forgive me if it comes out that way. I just had some faith that you could give me some insight??

Thomas Gail Haws said...

No worries. I only know what I know.


Thomas Gail Haws said...

If you are motivated to make big changes like nightly irrigation and ninja swishing, it probably wouldn't hurt to postpone the cleaning a few months to see how things look after you change you ways. But only if it's clear to you that you will be doing something different for the intervening months.


Unknown said...

I have one 10mm pocket and one 7mm pocket. My two back upper teeth. Hygienist told me her tools can only go as deep as 6 mm and that I should go to a periodontist for surgery.. I’m not ready to have my sensitive teeth scraped down to the bone. I’ll try a water pik, and starve. Then in March I’ll see if any improvements. Going to have x-ray done too.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Fingers crossed. I hope the nightly waterpik is as miraculous for you as it was for me.

Erdal said...

hello Thomas,
Thank you for your article.
I read this article in 2015 and then I had to go through a deep cleaning of my gums.
I had several 7 mm pockets, 6 mm pockets and most 4 or 5 .
The deepest pockets were all in the back of my mouth (lower and upper).
After the treatment, I didn't visit the dentist anymore and after 3 years I decided to do a check.
It took so long because I was very busy, fed up with the dentist and mostly didn't had any issues.

Now it seems my gums are basically in the same conditions as 3 years ago, even little bit improvement.
So did another deep cleaning sessions and today was my second and last cleaning.
Last month I also got a new filling. Old one was 10 years old.
Beside that one filling I don't have any holes in my teeth, just the gums are the issue.

Now my gums are completely cleaned and I want to keep it that way.
I have a waterfloss at home and just purchased the sonic care toothbrush (which is quite amazingly good, cleans the teeth very good).

My plan is to brush teeth after the last meal, use floss, use the water flosser and use oil pulling at night or in the morning.
After every meal/snack I will swish with water to keep it clean.
After water floss, I will swish with sea salt water for disinfection.

What do you think, would this be a good regime?
And of course try to eat healthy food.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

You plan is good. The most important thing is diligent persistence in carrying it out. Item 1.

"1. Keep your teeth clean all the time. Make near 100% home care compliance a reality. Rinse promptly after putting any calories in your mouth, and go to sleep with clean teeth almost every night without fail. This may require some difficult spiritual work (learning to release control and enjoy a simple, slow, harmonious life), and it may be more a result than a cause, but you probably won't see your recession reverse until you see near 100% compliance happen. This is number one, and it is more important than anything else."

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I'm sorry I missed your comment. I hope everything is turning out okay.

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