Chemicals and Drugs used to treat Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Dental health is important for the prepared. Gum disease can be avoided.Considering the way we have grown up, we always think a pill or an ointment will help our medical problems.  I was born way back when penicillin was discovered.  Back then, a small amount of that antibiotic would do wonders for an infection.  As time went on, it took more and more penicillin to kill the same type of bacteria.  The bugs had developed a resistance to that specific type of penicillin.  Now we have super bugs, untreatable with any medicine.  So, it follows that treatment of periodontal disease, caused by your body’s inflammatory response to bacteria, has become more difficult to treat with antibiotics.   Of course, there are many types of bacteria and many types of response that your specific body will have.  Nevertheless, there are some things that you can do to have a healthier mouth without relying on drugs or medicine.

In previous articles I mentioned that the main two problems human beings have with their teeth is decay and periodontal disease, both caused by bacterial plaque.  Decay comes sooner, as soon as a mother leaves a bottle in a baby’s mouth overnight.   A Pedodontist can instruct young families how to prevent and treat early decay.  Later in life periodontal disease rears its ugly head.  There are some early types of periodontal disease, so timely visits to the dentist are important.  But in most cases, bone loss is not noted until some bone loss is seen between the teeth on x-rays.  Most dental insurance companies will not pay for treatment until bone loss is seen, and I think that is terrible.  That bone will seldom regenerate, and with a little more bone loss, the tooth is well on its way to the wastebasket.  When the crevice around the tooth becomes deeper than three millimeters it becomes difficult to clean all of the damaging plaque away, no matter how hard you try.  And try you may.  People use hard toothbrushes, overly forceful efforts, and all kinds of chemicals and drugs to get to the plaque way down below the three millimeter space.  If those efforts and drugs were effective, we dentists wouldn’t be making dentures and implants!!

If you have been missing the bacterial plaque, your gums respond with a kind of allergic reaction, each person has his own response.  Some have none, others lose their teeth in their twenties.  You can’t change your genetic response, but there are some things you can do before you have some disaster that limits your seeing a dentist for a week or much longer.  Get a dental exam by a dentist or a periodontist, and get treatment as needed.  Get a second opinion if you wish.  It is your mouth, and unlike medical insurance, you must always pay  part or all of the bill.  You don’t always need to get the most expensive treatment, which I will mention next time.  But get your disease treated.  Antibiotics won’t fix decay or gum disease, but may give some temporary relief.   Good reason for preppers to stockpile antibiotics that do not give you an allergic reaction.  If you have pain or swelling in the mouth, take the antibiotic as the bottle directs for at least a week, even if the problem gets better in a few days.  Get to a dentist as soon as possible.

Using the cleaning methods as described in a previous article will clean to about three millimeters into the crevice between the tooth and the gum and should result in no pain or bleeding when done properly after a week or two.  It is important to have professional cleanings every six or three months, as your dentist suggests.  But if the spaces are deeper, they are harboring bacteria which may very well cause a periodontal abscess in the future and loss of a tooth.  Your general dentist or hygienist may not be concerned with a five millimeter pocket, but as a periodontist, I am concerned.  Long term use of antibiotics can help the gum disease a little, but will cause loss of the bacteria in the gut system and causes super bugs.  Mouthwash doesn’t get  into a pocket, the  space deeper than three millimeter and the alcohol and other strong products may cause other problems with long term use.  Hydrogen peroxide is useless, too.    If you insist on a mouthwash, buy one that has no alcohol and has fluoride.  Mouthwash and periodic cleanings alone won’t stop gum disease.   As a prepper, I  stockpile food instead of mouthwash.

Invest in dental health for your family.  Prevention is much cheaper than treatment.  A periodic dental exam is much nicer than a dental emergency!  And clean every day like I mentioned, with brush, floss, rubber tip and proxybrush.  Next time I will discuss some of the dental treatment options that you may consider for yourself and your family to save money.  Prepping is expensive, but well worth it when the lights go out.

Everybody thinks he or she is an expert on politics, Same with opinions on Fluoride

If you have spent your hard earned money on treatment for decay and gum disease, it only follows that you don’t want to have these problems recur.  When I started dental school I started the long process of finding out what research was all about.  You can’t believe just one or two studies.  There needs to be multiple studies in professional journals that say approximately the same thing.   There can be only one variable.  There is a tremendous amount of dental research backing the use of fluoride to prevent decay.   The dental profession is pro fluoride, the health professionals who are not dentists say fluoride is bad.

Fluoride was discovered naturally occurring in some areas in Texas and Colorado.  It was noted that the over supply of fluoride in the drinking water Most brands of toothpaste contains fluoride.caused ugly yellow and white spotted teeth..but it stopped the decay process.  Further studies found that by adding a very small amount of fluoride in the water would help form decay resistant teeth if the water is used from birth (when the permanent teeth start forming) until all the teeth have formed and erupted in the mouth.  Using fluoride  toothpaste and mouthwash helps slightly after the teeth have errupted if early decay develops.  The fluoride replaces the demineralized enamel and makes the tooth as good a new, but you need to clean daily as I mentioned previously.  If you neglect cleaning  the dental disease recurs and your prepper supply money is spent at the dental office for root canal treatment and eventual extractions.  The dental community feels that fluoride is a essential nutritional element needed for dental health.  There is no proof that is is harmful, except for newborns.  The recommendations have changed because too much can cause damage, like any medicine.  You shouldn’t swallow toothpaste, spit it out.  Little kids will swallow, so limit the amount to the size of a pea.   Ask a Pedodontist (children’s dentist) for the current recommendations.

I participated in dentat research concerning decay in floridated and non-floridated communities while in dental school.  The difference was appalling !  Statistics are one thing, but looking into the mouths of children who did not have fluoride was shocking.  I later published research results on a type of stannous fluoride in mouthwash concerning early gum disease in adults.   It reduced the bleeding tendency, but didn’t improve the gingivitis scores.  (I didn’t become world famous with negative results.)

The non-dental side says fluoride is a medicine and they chose not to take this medicine.    Claims that it causes problems are anecdotal claims, but not proven.  If you don’t want to use fluoride, use baking soda, I don’t care, I don’t have stock in the companies.  I’m retired, and the other dentists can use the extra business.  I tell my grandchildren to use fluoride toothpaste and Act fluoride mouthwash.  They still eat candy and don’t brush or clean like I want.  I just paid $1000 for fillings on a grandson.  Life isn’t fair!

Stockpile baking soda as a prepper, it has many uses in addition to being an abrasive tooth cleaner.  You can buy several pounds of baking soda at pool supply stores.  Very cheap, store in empty coffee cans.  Don’t brush too hard with it or you can wear sensitive grooves at the intersection of your teeth and the gums.  Then you need sensitivity tooth paste to treat the sensitive grooves.  Sensitivity toothpaste with potassium nitrate as the active ingredient is the best for that.  That toothpaste is not for bleeding gums, but for sensitivity to hot or cold from exposed or grooved roots.

Next time the topic will be the chemicals and drugs used to treat periodontal disease.  Do they help you and bleeding gums or the corporations?