Monday, December 10, 2012

I reversed my gum disease in 32 months cleaning once daily without flossing

On April 6, 2010 my dentist declared I had gum disease pockets, one 7mm deep and fourteen 6mm deep.  On December 10, 2012, my dentist told me I had "no problems" and gave me only a regular cleaning, not a periodontal cleaning.  In the 32 months between those two visits, I used no floss and little toothpaste, but I did faithfully sleep every night with teeth cleaned by sonic brushing and Waterpik irrigation.

On that April 6, I knew I had to do something serious.  I knew that floss and I do not get along.  My teeth are crooked and tight.  Floss breaks.  And it hurts my fingers.  I had also been looking for a reason to fast a bit longer than 2 or 3 days.

So that day I bought a Waterpik irrigator and a Philips Sonicare toothbrush (plus some other items I didn't end up using much in the long run such as Stimudents, GUM brand plastic plaque brushes, and povidone iodine) and began preparations for what turned out to be a 12-day water fast.  And since that day I have followed nearly 100% faithfully the following daily program.

1.  Swish after all snacks with small quantities of plain water.
2.  Fast nightly on water alone for 12 hours and occasionally up to 24 hours.
3.  Clean teeth before each night's fast with at least 2 minutes of sonic brushing (no toothpaste, but occasional germicide like Listerine or hydrogen peroxide)
4.  Clean/irrigate after brushing with more than one tank full of water (plus occasional Listerine or bleach) in the Waterpik on 2 to 3 power.
5.  Rinse with germicide (Listerine or hydrogen peroxide) usually after irrigating.  (2013 update: Note that Listerine is very helpful, but there are probably cheaper and better things to use on your teeth.  See comments below.)

To accomplish the above, I had to slow down my life.  I had to get a water bottle and keep it at my side nearly always.  I had to learn to detect and dislike the feeling of dirty teeth.

About the Waterpik.  There's also the possibility of flossing.  But I can't conceive how dental floss could ever clean and disinfect as well as an irrigator.  Flossing is a drag, and irrigating is a blast (hmm, quite literally, actually).  Flossing: painful, limited, gross.  Irrigation: refreshing, penetrating, disinfecting, cool.  And the price of the irrigator is trivial compared to the cost of dental problems.  I am a total advocate now for having an oral irrigator in every home.  How do you irrigate with more than one tank full of water?  Put the Waterpik without its lid in the sink under the spigot and run the water at a trickle while you irrigate.

Along the way, I had the constant reward of a clean and fresh feeling body and mouth every morning and cleaner smelling breath without perfumes.

My way isn't the only way to beat gum disease, I'm sure.  Some promote brushing thrice daily, oil pulling, frequent professional cleanings, etc.  But to be totally frank, I think my way was a lot more simple and fun.

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom

Good info on beating periodontal disease. I just have a few comments as a fellow sufferer of perio issues. Toothpaste is not so much an issue but what is inside it. If you buy a "holistic" type without fluoride and SLS, and artificial colors and flavors you should be fine. Baking soda based is good because its a good and safe dentrifice. Listerine though a good germ killer is very hard on your gums due to the alcohol base. I would avoid. There are better holistic brands of mouthwash that contain essential oils, herbs, aloe vera etc that should be far safer to use on a regular bases. Totally agree with sonic toothbrush and oral irrigation. Best of fortune to you.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I totally agree. I'm not down on toothpaste. It's simply the case that I haven't been using it at all because it's messy in combination with a sonic brush. But I agree with your conclusions. About Listerine too. Thanks for contributing to the conversation. This is important stuff to be sharing with each other.

Anne said...

Hi there Thomas! My names is Anne. I just read your blogs on gum recession 2 days ago. I have same case as yours.. I bought a water pik and a sonic care toothbrush too.. Thank you for all the information. You are a great help! I hope I can reverse my gum disease like you did.. I am getting scared each day.. but I am eager to do a religious homecare therapy like what you did...

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Hi, Anne.

I'm thinking habitual water swishing/rinsing/sipping is key also, and so very good for your general health. Don't forget to keep your water cup at your side.

As goes the morning breath, so goes the dental exam.

:-)

Anne said...

yea I started doing water fasting like what you did along with the water pik and sonic tootbrush use. How long do u think should I go back to the dentist and have my gums rechecked again? I hope I would have made an improvement whenever that time is..

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Anne, I discovered that when I became amazed at my awesome pink gums, my clean morning breath, and my gum regrowth lumps, my next dentist visit was clean! The *only* reason I would go to the dentist would be 1) for motivation and 2) for a copy of your periodontal exam sheet to guide your home care focus. For 2, maybe you can phone your dentist to request the sheet. Does that sound good to you?

Tom

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Umm, Anne, *only* may be extreme. I still plan to visit the dentist every 6 to 12 months for their nice cleanings.

Anne said...

Thanks Tom, I started with the water fasting yesterday but I have a main concern coz I am taking antidepressant medication which is paxil. I am just wondering if that will make my fasting useless. I really hope I can reverse this gum disease like you did. I have exactly same probe readings like you did.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I don't know much about medications. I wouldn't be able to guess what might happen. If I had a doctor who had given me medicine I had accepted, I might want to ask the doctor about what to do with the medication when fasting or whether it's possible to stop the medication during the fast.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Anne, Here's something from somebody more experienced than I specifically with medications and fasting. http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1343707

Anne said...

Hi Thomas! My medication have a dry mouth side effect. I don't have it but I researched and there are mouthwashes like biotene for dry mouth in case I get that side effect. Sometimes you can't just stop some medications suddenly as it worsens your current condition. Here's the good news! It's just a week that I use the waterpik and sonic brush and I have noticed my gums is getting pink and healthy.. the gum swelling is not visible like before and I have no gum bleeding anymore. I am happy about it.. I religiously brush and irrigate my teeth every after meal(twice a day).After each meal I swish like u said. I drink lots of alkaline water each day. I hope next time I get checked, there's an improvement. Thank you so much Tom! You are really a huge help!! :)

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Very cool, Anne. It sounds like you are on your way to healing. I'd forget about the long fasting for a while if it isn't going to work for you. I'd just focus on the "almost always clean" teeth via swishing and nightly brush/irrigate/germicide or biotene/fast. It sounds like that's working perfect for you.

Anonymous said...

Just a question...was your periodontal cleaning also called a root scaling and planing? I'm debating if I need that or if I can get good results without it. Thanks

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I don't know if it's a regional thing or what, but no dentist around here (Arizona) has ever mentioned to me root scaling and planing. All I know is I had 7mm pockets.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

Thomas, do you take any vitamins to help in an way??

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Sergio, I do sometimes take a multi-vitamin. I do believe that general health is important, but I focus more on eating fresh fruits and vegetables and getting enough water and sleep.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

What do you remcommend as toothpaste to brush my teeth?

Sergio Gonzalez said...

Thomas, do you rinse with water after using hydrogen peroxide on step 5?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Sergio, I do not. I spit a few times and leave the hydrogen peroxide fizzing on my teeth.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

That won't cause more harm? sorry so many questions, I just want to get this gum recession healed for good

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I am very interested to hear possible reasons why it may do harm. I don't know for sure about this.

I think that if you focus on the Big Things of 1) cleaning your teeth very well (including WaterPik) without fail before a good nightly fast and 2) rinsing with water after eating, you will see healing, assuming you are doing all the normal things like sleeping enough; eating fresh, wholesome food (vs. stored flour, oil, and sugar); and staying grateful and positive about life and people.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

What kind of peroxide do you use? And how much of it? Also during the morning what steps do you follow?
I really have faith in this and hopefully I can beat this gum recession, thank you for giving me hope Thomas

Thomas Gail Haws said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas Gail Haws said...

Sergio, for the 3 years it took to completely heal the gum disease, the only things I did in the morning were
1) to smell my breath to evaluate the effectiveness of my evening care,
2) to generally eat a bit later (give myself a bit longer fast, even sometimes skipping breakfast) than I had previously been used to doing, and
3) to keep swishing like crazy with water.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

Did you brush in the morning? or use the waterpick?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

No. Not with any significant frequency. Just water rinsing other than the nightly deep cleaning.

Sometimes in the morning I think I may have used hydrogen peroxide. But normally if my routine was good, I used only water rinsing in addition to the nightly deep cleaning.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

Can you explain to me how you would rinse with hydrogen peroxide please, like how much you would put in your mouth and what brand

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Initially I had a hydrogen peroxide based mouthwash I bought at the 99 Only store. Then I started using plain hydrogen peroxide with no particular branding. I put just a little squirt (maybe 5 to 15 ml or so) in my mouth, just barely enough to swish with. I swish until it's pure foam, and then I keep swishing for a minute or mouth, sometimes as I walk around the house. Then I spit out several times. I then go to bed directly or leave my mouth unrinsed until I have another drink of water.

Min Zhang said...

Thank you Tom, you are inspiring.

My dentist said I have truamatic biting--a kind of gum disease--that has caused my gum to recede. I feel it is more than that, it might have to do with the stress and how quickly I lose temper. I'll follow your method of cleaning and be grateful for life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom, you are so inspiring!

What do you think of gum recession due to traumic bite ? That was my doctor said about my gum recession. I think it must have to do with stress.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Min Zhang, I think you may have an important insight. As I began to practice periodic stopping and other practices intended to increase my awareness, one thing I noticed was that my teeth were often clenched. Now after practicing awareness for a few years, I notice that the normal position of my jaw is slightly ajar with my teeth not even touching and my tongue resting in the gap. Such a change might indeed relieve your traumatic malocclusion.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

Hey tom, what brand is your waterpik?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

It's a WaterPik brand. Just the first thing I found at the store.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Sergio, I'm not sure about toothpaste. I didn't use any. I suppose.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

So don't use toothpaste at all?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I didn't use any toothpaste in the period when I reversed my gum disease, because it was very messy with my sonic toothbrush, and my dentists had told me it wasn't necessary. I still do not use toothpaste.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

Okay thank you for telling me, now I have a question. do you think the hydrogen peroxide will have an affect if I have a cavity filling that is silver? It's on one of my molars and its right in the middle, not my whole tooth

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Hmm. It may be a good idea to try a different germicide. Did you see the full list? See number 4 at this post

Sergio Gonzalez said...

where can I get a hold of the grapeseed extract? Might use that instead of hydrogen peroxide just to be on the safe side

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I haven't tried that. You may have to buy it online.

Sergio Gonzalez said...

What do you think of a natural germicide mouthwash? Do you think it will be effective?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I think there are a wide variety of effective germicides. I also think that there may be a benefit to occasionally changing germicides. I also give a lot of credence to the Periodontal Treatment Guidelines I linked in my other post. I occasionally use weak bleach (5 ml of common 6% bleach in 500 ml water) in my WaterPik (that is what I am using this week). I occasionally use hydrogen peroxide. I ocassionally use nothing. I have also tried povidone iodine. I haven't tried grapefruit extract, but I hear it is very effective.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Actually, I probably am using weaker than 5 ml of 6% in 500 ml (1 tsp in 1 pint). Maybe half that strength. Many grocery store bleaches are a bit less than 6% strength. If you use bleach, you will be able to feel whether it's too strong or too weak. Be careful! Bleach is dangerous stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hey its sergio, so would using hydrogen peroxide every night be too much? Dangerous?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I don't think it's a problem. For weeks at a time I have rinsed with straight grocery store hydrogen peroxide right before lying down every night.

Anonymous said...

its sergio, Just started last night with the water pik and hydrogen peroxide in it and swishing after with hydrogen peroxide, hopefully everything goes well

Thomas Gail Haws said...

That's great. As long as you are faithful and do it before your nightly fast, it should do the trick.

Adam Wing said...

Hey Tom,

Thanks for this blog.
I'm writing cause I'm pretty horrified of losing my teeth ESPECIALLY since I'm less than 20 years old. In 2010 I was diagnosed with severe gingivitis (Juvenile) and have since been really watching my dental/oral hygiene.
Recently, I've noticed gaps between my front bottom teeth indicating that it has progressed to periodontal disease despite my good quality of care for my teeth leaving me to conclude that it has something to do with my genetics. (younger brothers are showing signs as well).
With regards to the waterpik, how long did you use it each time? Is it possible that my teeth might fall out while I'm using it? What does the waterpik actually do? Is it pretty much the devices/tools which dentists use to clean off tartar/plaque from gums/teeth?
Sorry for such a long message, I'm just so scared of losing my teeth this young despite my relatively good hygiene and also the fact that these cleans from dentists/periodontists cost a fortune :(

Thanks a lot!

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Hi, Adam. First the Waterpik and then some questions/ideas.

The WaterPik is a pulsing jet irrigator that flushes food and bacterial colonies from deep beneath your gums. You know it is effective 1) when you see food falling to the sink after a careful cleaning, 2) when your morning breath smells clean, and 3) when your gums appear healthier. I use mine for about 2 minutes every night, long enough to use just more than the capacity of the reservoir at power level 2.

Your eating habits can make a big difference. You didn't say anything about what you put in your mouth, but it can make all the difference and it can save your teeth.

First, your gums need a lot of clean time daily to heal. You may want to swish after all snacks/meals and start counting the hours your teeth spend clean vs. dirty each day, maybe even keeping a chart, calendar, or notepad. You may want to try developing a taste for pure water and substituting it for all between-meal snacks and drinks. You also may want to look into fasting.

Second, stale foods adhere more tenaciously to your teeth. Stale foods are foods that have been long dead, cooked, or ground including oil, sugar, and packaged flour products. This is not hypothetical or trivial; it is a demonstrated issue with dental/oral health. For the sake of your general health, consider the possibility of more recently live/viable foods, or at least keeping everything but water out of your mouth most of the day. Also, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is not only an inexpensive germicide, but a debriding agent, meaning that it can help fizz away the stale plaque that comes from any oil, sugar, and old flour you eat. Try using it every night after your WaterPik.

Bottom line: WaterPik and H2O2 nightly, Water swish snack/meal cleaning, and prolonged Water Only hours daily.

Adam Wing said...

Thanks for the reply Tom.
Awesome! Yeh I am of asian ethnicity so I constantly eat carbohydrates (rice) etc...

Where could I grab H2O2? From the chemist or something? How much percentage of H2O2? 5%?

If I oil pull at night, shoudl I swish with H2O2 before or after? Or just not swish H2O2 at all?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Adam, I don't think that eating carbohydrates has to be a problem. There is the "good carbs, bad carbs" idea. As long as you aren't drinking sugary drinks and having stale snacks all day, you should be fine. I live on roughly one smoothie, one big (over 1 liter) bowl of a bean/rice dish, and one big bowl of oats with fruit daily. Eating "constantly" could be a problem if you mean that literally, since your teeth, gums, and organs like a rest.

H2O2 is very cheap. You can buy a liter of 3% H2O2 at the grocery store in the mouthwash section for under $1. I'm not sure whether H2O2 or oil pulling last would be best. Try each and let me know what you observe and what you decide.

Adam Wing said...

Awesome thanks so much Tom, I'll get on it soon and get back to you as well.

With regards to the 3% H2O2, do you have to dilute it with water? If so, how much?

Thanks!

Thomas Gail Haws said...

The directions on the bottle say to dilute it 1:1 with water. But I just squirt a little straight into my mouth.

By the way, I just read tips another visitor pointed me to on gum disease that points out that hot drinks can also be a failure/damage mechanism, in case that relates to you. Pamper those gums!

Ariana GM said...

How long did it take before you noticed your gums growing back? I haven't been for my cleaning but it freaked me out one day I looking in the mirror and I can SEE my pockets?! AUGH! :-( So crazy, my granny is 87 and she has all of her teeth!?

So I looked up info on gum disease and it said use aloe gel on the gums. I've started it for a week and I can tell they aren't as sensitive but I can't see them growing back yet. I'm going to buy a Waterpik, man I won't be good at fasting but maybe I should try it?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Ariana, it might be good to try to pinpoint more carefully what is causing your gum problems. Maybe there is something amiss in your routine that you could fix. Can you take a careful look at my Top Ten Actions and let me know if anything clicks for you as you read it? Also, readers have reported the most surprising/amazing success with plain water rinsing/swishing.

Erdal Can said...

Hello Thomas,

I have been reading your blog with amazement.
I didn't know it was possible to reverse gum disease (let alone bone regrowth) !!!
Yes, I have also gum disease and in couple of days I need to do deep cleaning at the dentist
(holes of 4 till 6).
This is very frustrating for me, because I always floss and brush my teeth twice a day.
Every evening spending time (10 -20 min) to flush and brush.
At the moment I don't have any confidence to see the dentist for cleaning, because it won't solve the problem.
Also I realised that flossing and brushing teeth is not good enough.
So the water floss could be a game changer and will definitely get one !!
You nightly fast is also something I will start doing, because it sounds very logical and
even efficient. I will eat my last meal between 6-7 and then flush brush my teeth.
The rest of the evening will just drink water.

I also discovered about using salt (sea salt) as mouth wash and also to brush your teeth.
Do you have some experience with this? Brushing with salt seems to be working good, but I have also read it's bad for the teeth itself.
Seems that ancient Chinese were using sea salt to brush their teeth and never had problems.

Anyway, what I also wanted to know is:
is it better to go to the dentist and do deep cleaning or
should I first try your method and in a month or two go to the dentist.
Does you gums first need to be cleaned at the dentist before starting your regime?
Or if your regime works, the gums will heal themselves?

One more thing:
I have problems with my gums all my life , but never had problems with my teeth.
Did had one hole in my teeth couple of years ago, but I suspect it was the mouthwash (it was very strong).
In couple of days I will be 41 and my teeth are in great shape, except my gums.
I am happy I have such a healthy teeth, but if my gums disease is not solved, I will lose the teeth anyway, wouldn't that be ironic to have excellent teeth and still lose them because of the gum disease.

Anyway, you have given me great hope and from now on I am taking matters in my own hands and don't rely on dentists so much any more.

Thank you and God bless you

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Erdal, I can't offer any opinion about salt, unfortunately. About the cleaning, I do thing it is a good idea to get a regular periodontal cleaning. What I would avoid is any special oral surgery or root planing. It may be that your dentist is going to give you what amounts to a routine cleaning, but with an extra charge because it is a periodontal cleaning. You may want to check on this and go ahead if that is the case. But if it is something more invasive, you may want to wait 6 months.

I think that the WaterPik, nightly fasting, and post-food rinsing/swishing will make a significant difference for you. Make daily observations of your morning breath and your gums appearance, and I wouldn't be surprised if you get noticeable results before many weeks. Let me know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas!

It has occurred to me in the past that saliva is supposed to be very healthy for teeth, and that perhaps swishing them with just saliva could be a really important factor in keeping them clean. But there is probably an issue with swishing saliva for folks whose bodies are out of balance and don't have the proper PH balance that is beneficial for saliva (swallowing more saliva with food, for instance, is good for reducing cancer).

Another interesting concept I had regarding this was comparing teeth to a placenta (though, I know you're not talking about regrowing teeth but healing periodontal disease). So I found out that a placenta has different bumps and dips, and it is the "craters" of the placenta where blood collects on the mother's side of the placenta for the placenta to absorb to be able to transmit to the baby. It occurred to me that teeth are probably the same way - the grooves and pockets of teeth that are often seen as "bad" because they collect plaque and food residues could actually be there in order to collect and hold saliva that SHOULD be nourishing our teeth. Again, it may be that there is an imbalance in the natural chemistry of the saliva that is causing saliva not to do its job, or the fact that people don't salivate as much as they should.

All this to say, have you done any research on saliva swishing? It sounds weird and I haven't done any, but your "water swishing" was the closest I could get to it - of course, I've heard people talk about rinsing with water after eating, so there's no great A Ha! there, the real surprise is just in applying the principle and realizing it can have such a profound affect on oral health.

God bless.

Tabetha

Thomas Gail Haws said...

That is a really interesting hypothesis. But I don't know of any research on it. My experience is that it is hard to get enough saliva in the mouth at one time to do the mechanical action required.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Also, I think the tendency of saliva to foam reduces its swishing power compared to clean water.

Unknown said...

Hi Tom, when your gum disease was finally cured, did your teeth go back to where they should be? I have a couple of gaps which I never had before and my bite has changed dramatically. I have been following your same routine since July and my mouth is feeling better. Thanks so much for keeping us posted and helping so many people!! :) Marcia

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Marcia, I do not know about what you are asking. My teeth never moved. I am sorry to hear that your bite has changed. Maybe this is a good time to get braces! :-D

Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas
Have you heard of vitamin C therapy for periodontal disease? Which vitamin C to use Sodium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I haven't heard of it, but I know that vitamin C is important for healing wounds. I don't know the answer to your question.

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for this inspiring success story Thomas :) do you have any reccomendations of which irrigation flosser to get?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

You are very welcome! I have not reviewed irrigators. I am very happy with my WaterPik irrigator.

Jen said...

Great post. To those concerned about putting H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) into their mouths: Hydrogen Peroxide diluted to 3% is safe and is almost always recommended as written for oral debriding on the brown bottle you get at the drug store/supermarket etc. That particular kind does usually have some stabilizers in it so it's not 100% pure H2O2. If you want pure H2O2 you can get food grade probably online or at a health food store, just be sure it's diluted to 3%. I, myself, fill the WaterPik reservoir with equal parts water and 3% food grade H2O2. My breath is never fresher than when I use this combo and it seems that plaque actually dissolves with this method! Hydrogen peroxide is just water and oxygen, two substances critical for life.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Great comments. The debriding quality of H2O2 is pretty cool. That reminds me of a joke:

Two scientists walk into a bar. The first one says, "I'll have a glass of H two Oh." The second one says, "I'll have a glass of H two Oh too." The second one dies.

Jen said...

Ha! That's a good one.

Anonymous said...

those Sanders comments were not needed. Alot of us are Clinton supporters.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Thanks for the kindness of your comment. I felt that the good of the world was served by having the plea up for a while. I probably will not support Trump or Clinton for president, but I believe the time has come to remove my pleas. Thanks.

Arriale Henry said...

I stumbled across this page during an anxiety attack of finding out about my gum disease. Thanks for your transparency and willingness to share. I hope to reverse it also. Did you actually regrow your gums or just halt the process of further damage?

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Well, Arriale. That is an interesting question. Look at this Youtube video I posted a few years ago and let me know what you think.