I'm reversing my receding gums, having reduced my deepest pockets from 7 mm to 5 mm in two years (2013 update: I have now been pronounced free of gum problems at two dental exams). I'm also seeing what I understand to be bone regrowth around my molars.
Ruth, who chanced upon my blog, asked if I might post a list of the top ten actions to reverse gum recession. So for the first time in my life I am going to make a reverse order top ten list in the tradition of David Letterman. Putting these actions in any particular order was hard, so please forgive me if the order doesn't make sense. Also please forgive me if I have omitted oil pulling or Stimudents. :-)
10. Eat right and avoid your toxic food habits to boost your immunity and avoid harm to your gums. Consider changes to your eating habits (don't cook or damage your gums with smoking, hot food, tobacco, etc.) and be open to the possibility
you may have undiscovered food sensitivities or deficiencies that are taxing your body
9. Be observant of the connection between your gums and other body processes. Experiment; be present; be alert. "There are no local diseases, only local symptoms."
Notice the look, texture, nerve reports, and smell of your teeth and gums and other signs of bodily stress and
infection such as acne, twitching, clenched jaw, jitters, anger, and
other disease. Read and write. Keep a reliable written record/journal/log/diary/notepad. Avoid judging what you observe, but continue to observe
yourself ever more realistically and often. "Teeth clenched.
Interesting." "Screaming at son. Hmm, stress, resentment." "New mouth
sore/pimple/ache. Ate _____ on Monday." "Gums looking nice. Interesting." "Clean morning breath. Different." "Song stuck in head.
8. Request a copy of your examination chart from your dentist, study it,
and use it to guide your home care. It will tell you exactly where to
brush/irrigate/floss/etc. most carefully.
7. Rest and fast. Think about how much time your teeth and gums spend clean vs. dirty. Prolong your nightly fast after
cleaning. Give your gums their half of the day (12 hours) nightly.
Sleep enough. Finish eating and cleaning early in the evening, and
drink only water until breakfast. Learn about extended water fasts of
24 hours to 6 weeks, especially
the importance of water and rest and how to properly end the longer
ones. Consider the place of a short (one to three days), medium (4 days
to two weeks), or long (3 to 6 weeks) water fast with rest in your
healing process. Learn about the virtue of not-doing. Some diseases come out only by stopping and fasting.
Try a(nother) resting water fast. "The best of all medicines are rest and fasting" --Benjamin Franklin
lots of plain water for healing and for cleaning. Find a water bottle
that you love. Keep it full and always at your side. Sip or guzzle
plain water from it frequently. Find a life's work that allows frequent
bathroom breaks, and make those breaks purposeful total cessations of
your non-stop action. Find water that you love and trust, and use it.
Teach yourself to accept and enjoy (at least temporarily) any relatively
clean, safe water (even fluoridated, hard, warm, "yucky tasting" tap
water) that is widely available where you live and work. Make frequent
quenching of your deep, longing, natural, primal, unacknowledged thirst
an important part of your happier, simpler, slower, healthier life.
5. Swish vigorously and purposefully with small quantities of plain
water after you eat or drink something other than water. Repeat several
times as required. Find the optimum amount of water than causes the loudest and most explosive
swishing. Pamper yourself and rest your mouth between swishes. Slow
down. This is your personal happy time. You may need to do this in
private, and it may be an excellent occasion for a moment of pausing the
hectic pace of your life or diverting your focus from an addicting
task. Or do it quickly, quietly, and surreptitiously as the moment
requires. This will give your gums more clean time and less dirty time during the day.
4. Use a germicide nightly after you clean. Then for the only
time in your day, avoid swishing with water for a while. Consider or
alternate among hydrogen peroxide, povidone iodine (0.1% to 1%
solution), grapefruit seed extract (15 drops per 8 oz or 250 ml water),
sodium hypochlorite (bleach) (0.125% or 1 tsp of common (6%) bleach per 8
oz or 5 ml of common (6%) bleach ml per 250 ml water), or Listerine
(see Antimicrobial Periodontal Therapy by Michael Donahue, RDH, BA.) Let the condition of your morning breath inform and guide your nightly germicidal program.
3. Brush gently for at least two minutes with a sonic toothbrush before your nightly fast. Search for painful spots and rock the brush creatively on them.
2. Clean with an irrigator (like Interplak Oral Irrigator ($29), Waterpik ($39), and Hydrofloss ($70)) after you brush before your nightly fast. Pay individual attention to all sides of each tooth, especially as guided by your examination chart. If you cannot get an irrigator, use swishing, floss, and wooden or plastic picks between teeth and gums. Try to get all the food and bacterial colonies out before the nightly fast.
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.