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  Newsletter: Let's Take a Look At Periodontal Disease - Bugs in Your Mouth! (Part 1) - October, 2004
Whole-Body News Update

Volume 8, Issue 7

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Feature Article

That's in my mouth? It's doing what! . . . Let's Take a Look at Periodontal Disease

It is estimated that 200 million Americans have periodontal disease. Let's get a few simple explanations out-of-the way first so you can better understand the information that follows.

Classically there are two different categories of periodontal disease. The earliest form is gingivitis. This is inflammation of the gum tissue. The gums may be red, swollen, and tend to bleed easily. Here pockets are shallow, 1-3 millimeters. A pocket is that measurable distance between the edge of your gum and the bone. With gingivitis there is no bone loss, the pockets are really due to swelling of the tissue. If this stage of periodontal disease is not remedied, it may progress to the next category; periodontitis. This means the disease has progressed to where bone loss is occurring, and pockets go from 3 to 10 millimeters and deeper.

What causes periodontal disease?

Trying to keep the answer as simple as possible - bugs. "But everyone has bacteria in their mouth", you say. This is true. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that there are 500 ENGINEs of bacteria in the mouth. It is not how many ENGINEs as much as the amount of the bad ones. Certain bugs in the mouth are always associated with bone destruction caused by periodontal disease.

Taking a look at the bugs that are in YOUR mouth (view Dr. Breiner's video)

How do I know what's in my mouth? To know specifically, you need to take a plaque sample from under your gum, and culture it. Plaque is that sticky substance that you sometimes can rub off of your tooth with your finger nail. Luckily, you do not have to go through that in order to know if you are in trouble.

A plaque sample can be taken and looked at under a microscope. In a healthy mouth, there will be little activity, few white blood cells, tiny circular bacteria, and in general, a quiet scene.

In a very unhealthy situation, there will be many, many white blood cells. The white blood cells are called into action to combat infection. So long before bone destruction begins, the presence of large numbers of white blood cells are present to warn us of impending problems. There will also be lots of snake-like bacteria called spirochetes, and usually large cigar shaped rods and amoeba present. The slide is frenetic, much like Times Square at rush hour.

In between these two extremes of health and severe problems are various stages of pathology.

Using a microscope is critical

Without the use of the microscope, I am like a carpenter without a hammer. I really do not have a clue as to what is going on. Taking a plaque sample and looking under a microscope is critical to evaluating the patient's status prior to treatment, and to monitor ongoing systemic and local treatment.

Traditional methods for assessing periodontal health

Most dentists do not use a microscope; instead they rely on traditional methods of assessing the periodontal health of the patient. This involves probing and measurement of pocket depth. Anything greater than 3 millimeters of depth is usually an indication of a problem. Another indication is bleeding upon probing. Most dentists view this as proof of periodontal disease. What this is really indicating is capillary fragility.

Capillary fragility may be an indication of periodontal disease; however, it may be present for other reasons, such as low levels of vitamin C, mercury fillings, hormonal fluctuations or imbalances, diet, or prescription drugs, for example birth control pills.

Loss of bone on x-ray is another traditional indication of periodontal disease. This is helpful, but is more of an indication that bone loss has occurred, and not necessarily that it is still ongoing. Knowing a patient has a pocket or has bone loss on an x-ray only tells me something historical, that bone loss has occurred in the past. To know if infection is still present, a microscope is indispensable.

You can live with a pocket and not have gum surgery if the pathological process that led to the bone loss is halted. This is why every new patient that I see has a slide taken. I cannot count the number of times that a mouth has seemingly looked healthy and on the slide is a raging battle.

Unexpected results from the slide of Health Practitioner resulted in early intervention.

One patient, a health care provider, very much into health and with no complaints was shocked when I showed him his slide. His mouth was a cesspool of spirochetes and amoeba. Something was not right; blood testing showed a compromised immune system, and anemia. It seems that the Vegan diet he was on was not optimal for him. The slide allowed us to intervene, before overt problems developed.

It is important to remember that these infections can be passed on to our loved ones through kissing, sharing food and drink. Thus, it becomes important to monitor the rest of the family, especially if resolution of the patient's problem is not occurring.

Two important reasons for treating periodontal disease

Why is it important to treat periodontal disease and to hopefully treat it at its earliest stage? There are two big reasons: 1) It is a sign there is a problem in host resistance and 2) The bacteria and its toxic by-products that are in the pockets do not necessarily stay there. The same blood which travels in your gums travels all over your body. In fact, periodontal bacteria have been found in the atherosclerotic plaque in the heart.

Next issue I will address the topic of periodontal bacterial and the heart, as well as other health problems that may be linked to periodontal disease.

© 2004, Mark A. Breiner, DDS

The information presented is for educational purposes only. You should consult a qualified dentist or health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.

Additional Information on periodontal disease is covered in Dr. Breiner's book, Whole-Body Dentistry, available on-line at www.wholebodydentistry.com or by phone at 1.800.BOOKLOG (800.266.5564).

Note From Dr. Breiner

This month's issue marks the one year anniversary of Whole-Body News Update. Our first issue covered Headaches, TMD and included a Self Test for TMD that I designed for readers. I repeated this popular and important issue just a few months ago for the benefit of new subscribers. Among the topics covered this past year were; Cautions on mercury removal; Alzheimer's disease and Dentistry; Electroacupuncture; Cautions on eating fish; Fluoride and your drinking water; Cavitations (holes in your bone that can store toxins); as well Natural Toothpaste ingredients.

Our subscriber list has grown and now thanks to the dynamics of the internet includes readers from around-the-globe. A number of you are my patients, some of you are dental and medical professionals, some are readers of my book, Whole-Body Dentistry, and some of you joined this newsletter because a friend passed it along. Whatever your background, we all share an interest in the whole-body health connection.

If you have been reading this newsletter for awhile, you will know that from time-to-time I mention the politics involving various health issues. For the most part, these concerns have to do with the United States and often include news from my home state, Connecticut - I would thank the readers from other countries as well as other regions of the U.S. for taking the time to read about these important news updates. Perhaps you have noticed that our concerns mirror the ones your country or region may share. Please let me know.

Thank you for your feedback and thank you for passing this newsletter along to your family, friends and colleagues.

 About Dr. Breiner

Whole Body News Update expert, Mark A. Breiner, DDS, FAGD, FIAOMT, is a leading authority and pioneer in the field of holistic dentistry. He is the author of the popular consumer education book, Whole-Body Dentistry, a guide to the "dental connection" to whole-body wellness. With more than 30 years experience, Dr. Breiner has helped patients from across the United States and other countries attain a higher overall level of dental health and general well-being. Dr. Breiner is the immediate past President of The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. He is in private practice in Connecticut.

"Whole-Body Dentistry is more than whether your teeth are healthy; it's whether you are healthy!" - Dr. Robert C. Atkins, M.D.

Attention Meeting Planners:

Need an expert to talk about dentistry and whole-body health for your group or organization? Dr. Breiner, a popular speaker, addresses both lay and professional audiences. Call 203.371.0300 or send an e-mail inquiry to DoctorBreiner@wholebodydentistry.com
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Whole Body News Update is your free monthly e-zine to stay up-to-date on many dental health issues as well as other important alternative health topics; featuring articles, interviews with experts, actual patient stories, Q&A on holistic health topics, with emphasis on the "Dental-Whole-Body Health Connection". This e-zine is designed to help you become a knowledgeable participant in your health care choices.

If you would like to offer feedback or suggestions for future topics for this e-zine please e-mail Dr. Breiner at DoctorBreiner@wholebodydentistry.com
To learn more about Dr. Breiner and Whole-Body Dentistry, visit www.wholebodydentistry.com 
is your free monthly e-zine to stay up-to-date on many dental health issues as well as other important alternative health topics; featuring articles, interviews with experts, actual patient stories, Q&A on holistic health topics, with emphasis on the "Dental-Whole-Body Health Connection". This e-zine is designed to help you become a knowledgeable participant in your health care choices.If you would like to offer feedback or suggestions for future topics for this e-zine please e-mail Dr. Breiner.

© Copyright 2004 Mark A. Breiner, D.D.S. All Rights Reserved.

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