September is National Gum Care Month
Did you know that September is National Gum Care Month? Your gums are one of the most important structures in your mouth. Not only do they help support your teeth, but they also serve as a protective barrier and prevent harmful bacteria from getting into your bloodstream. That’s why it’s important to continually take good care of your gums and be on the lookout for signs of gum disease.
In honor of this special event, I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss a unique service that my practice offers called Oral DNA Testing. Oral DNA Testing is an advanced treatment protocol designed to fight periodontal (gum) disease. It allows us to effectively identify oral pathogens that cause gum disease, eliminate harmful bacteria in the mouth, and, essentially, prevent periodontal disease from returning.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The human mouth is home to several hundred species of bacteria. The good news is, the majority of these bacteria are not harmful at all. In fact, some of them play a critical role in keeping your mouth healthy. They help break down proteins and sugars, aid digestion, prevent tooth decay, and protect against harmful microbes.
That being said, some species of bacteria are harmful. In a healthy mouth, however, these account for only 5% of the total population. The body has a natural way of preventing these bacteria from getting out of hand so in most cases, they’re not an issue.
However, if someone is genetically susceptible to periodontal disease or fails to practice good oral hygiene habits, it can throw the body’s natural system out of balance. The harmful bacteria start to take over, which eventually leads to gum disease. If left unchecked, gum disease can turn into severe periodontitis, which can eventually result in tooth loss, infection, bone loss, and other bodily diseases.
The Best Approach to Fighting Gum Disease Is Prevention
The problem with Periodontal Disease is that it can creep up on you. It’s sneaky. Most of the time, patients don’t even realize they have gum disease until the symptoms are severe. It progresses slowly, many times taking years before the effects are noticeable.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the patient is plagued by a slew of symptoms such as bleeding gums, gum pain, loose teeth, and, in some cases, bone loss. Bone loss, unfortunately, is irreparable.
Therefore, since gum disease is so hard to catch, the best way to avoid all of this is to prevent it from happening in the first place. That’s where Oral DNA Testing can help.
Using Oral DNA Testing to Screen for Harmful Bacteria
Oral DNA Testing is a preventative method that allows us to diagnose the cause of gum disease and treat it while it’s in early stages. The process starts with a Salivary Diagostic protocol. Using this method, we can screen a saliva sample and figure out if harmful bacteria are above threshold levels. We can also identify exactly which strains of bacteria we are dealing with, which can help my team and I create a more effective treatment plan.
Saliva testing is straightforward and non-invasive. It allows us to fully assess your bacterial profile and gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on with your oral health. Once we know exactly what we’re dealing with, we can create a plan of action.
Our next is to target the specific strains of bacteria causing disease and treat them with antimocribial therapies. To prevent gum disease from returning, we can clean deep beneath the gums through debridement, root planing, and scaling. This combination of antimicrobial therapy and full mouth disinfection helps prevent the progression of disease and also allows the body to heal efficiently so you can make a full recovery.
Identifying Pathogens & Preventing Oral-Systemic Disease
Oral DNA Testing has other benefits beyond treating gum disease. It can also help us detect harmful oral pathogens. Certain strains of oral bacteria are highly pathogenic and are linked to life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
If these pathogenic bacteria get out of control, things can quickly become dangerous. It’s a slippery slope. The bacteria can cause damage to tissues and instigate an inflammatory response in the body that affects other organs.
Oral pathogens are linked to cardiovascular disease, joint and muscle problems, dimentia, neurological issues, metabolic dysfunction, pregnancy complications, and, as previously mentioned, cancer. That’s why knowing what bacteria are present in the mouth, and at what levels, is important. Oral DNA Testing can provide us with these answers.
Schedule an Appointment for Oral DNA Testing
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of Oral DNA Testing, I encourage you to contact my office at (517) 882-7132 today to speak to a member of my team and schedule an appointment. We can make an Oral DNA Test part of your next dental exam or schedule a time for you to come in sooner if you have concerns or are experiencing symptoms of gum disease. My dental practice is located in Lansing, MI and we’re just a short drive from other surrounding cities including Holt, Okemos, Mason, Grand Ledge, Dewitt, Haslett, Williamston, St. Johns, Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, East Lansing, and Potterville. Contact our office today at 517-882-7132 to schedule your appointment and start your journey to better wellness.