Around 1999 I learned from Mountain View Family Dentistry in Mesa, AZ that I had gum disease, and I was instructed to brush, floss, and rinse with Listerine after every meal, followed by 1/2 hour without any intake. I adhered to those instructions until my next visit, when I was told my gum disease had improved. But I quickly dropped the habit soon afterward.
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On April 6, 2010, I listened at Bright Now! Dental near Greenfield Road and Baseline Road in Mesa while they read the depth of my periodontal pockets. The numbers were alarming, and after the visit I asked for a copy of the chart to guide my home maintenance. There were fourteen 6-mm deep pockets and one 7-mm deep pocket!
Since I had been studying fasting for a few years and had been wanting to do a longer fast, I took this as a wakeup call do take a few special measures. 1) I went shopping and bought a Philips Sonicare toothbrush as specified by Bright Now! Dental and a Waterpik (and other items) as suggested by a Periodontal Disease Treatment guide at http://www.periodontaldiseasetreatmentguide.com/. 2) I began emptying my fridge for a long fast.
I ended up fasting 12 days, by the end of which my acne and my ear infection had become asymptomatic. I suppose my gum disease responded similarly. I never used the antibiotics recommended by the disease treatment guide (since antibiotics are heavy stuff), but I did initially put a little bleach in my Waterpik. But for the next several months, my dental hygiene regimen consisted simply of brushing with the Philips Sonicare toothbrush and irrigating with either straight water or weak Listerine solution in the Waterpik on about 1 or 2 power before an intentional nightly fast.
So let me focus on the three elements I've been doing (2012 update, a bonus fourth element for even greater results: water swishing):
1. I've been brushing with the Philips Sonicare toothbrush before my nightly intentional fast. I haven't been using toothpaste. Occasionally (rarely) I have brushed with Listerine. I have been brushing at least as long as the Philips Sonicare lasts (it has an autostop when the alloted brushing time is over), or frequently restarting it for more brushing (though I'm sensitive to the possibility of abusive over-brushing). I generally do this at leisure, not rushed.
2. I've been irrigating with the Waterpik. Normally the Waterpik has plain water in it, but a lot of times, my sons put Listerine in the reservoir, which I enjoy. I use the Waterpik on 1 or 2 power out of 10. I focus the jet on my gum line, especially between teeth, and I feel for the passage of water between my tightly packed teeth. I generally do this at leisure, not rushed.
3. I follow the brushing and water flossing (irrigating) with an intentional nightly fast. That means that after I brush and irrigate, I normally take only water or Listerine for the next 12 or more hours. In the morning, my teeth feel so clean and my breath often so fresh that I am reluctant to eat anything. I believe the intentional nightly fast is an important part of my dental hygiene as well as my general health (it gives my organs a nice rest).
On my third visit counting from the April 6 exam at Bright Now! Dental, there were no 7-mm pockets, no 6-mm pockets, only four 5-mm pockets, and 15 4-mm pockets. I look forward to finding out how I'm doing at my next exam. (December 2011 update: fifteen "4"s and one "5") I'm going to have to ask my dentist if it's still appropriate for him to be charging me for a periodontal cleaning! (December 2012 update: "no problems" and no charge for periodontal cleaning)