Bio-hacking gum disease

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Mister Doctor
Mister Doctor

Nov 22, 2018 · 4 min read
 
 
 
 

Image by RyanMcGuire

April 2016 was the first time a dentist ever told me there was something wrong with my gums. He gave me a very scary lecture and insisted on a full periodontal deep cleaning, but I sought a second opinion. The second dentist took a more cautious approach. We did regular cleanings for a while, and he did a bit of scaling, but mostly we took it easy on my gums while I maintained good hygiene. Things didn’t really get better, but they didn’t get worse either.

Fast forward two years, I moved to a new town and found a new dentist, and received the same pressure to do a full periodontal scaling and root planing treatment. This time, I relented.

The treatment was quite painful and time-consuming. Afterward, I continued to gently treat my gums to meticulous daily hygiene, but the pain didn’t let up. At three months, I went in to see the periodontist, who stabbed me viciously with the measuring probe and reported that my pocket depths had actually gotten worse. She told me she wanted to do some very expensive surgeries and that eventually I was going to lose teeth no matter what I did. She even told me, unironically, that at some point even she would need gum surgery “even though I know all the right things to do.” Honey, if that’s the outcome you’re expecting, then you most certainly do not know all the right things to do.

After researching the “osseous periodontal surgery” she had recommended, I realized that it’s 2018 and the standard of care for diseased gums is to cut them out of your head. Nope, not for me. I headed to Pubmed and started designing a rehab program for myself.

At the time of this writing, it has been just under one month since I began phasing in these strategies. At this point, the gum pain which I was experiencing about 85% of the time is now only present about 10% of the time, so I am optimistic. In any case, the following strategies are evidence-based and subject to observation and change.

What is Periodontal Disease?

The dentists tell me again and again they want to “clean the bacteria” out of my mouth. Which bacteria? They don’t know. In fact, periodontal disease appears to be a multifactorial condition including both bacterial instigators and immunological maladaption. Here’s one of many nice descriptions I found in the literature:

Periodontitis is a complex chronic inflammatory noncommunicable disease, initiated by the development of a dysbiotic microbial plaque biofilm below the gingival margin. Whilst the pathogenic biofilm is a “necessary cause” of periodontitis, it is insufficient on its own to cause the disease, and a destructive immune-inflammatory response is a key to the translation of risk to destructive events. Other exposures or “component causes” include individual genetic predisposition, lifestyle (including smoking and nutrition), and environmental factors. (Periodontology 2000. 2018 Oct;78(1):129–153. doi: 10.1111/prd.12233.)

My Program

Dental Hygiene Routine

Daily lifestyle

Supplementation

There are some additional things I’m looking into and experimenting with. One is DMSO: in addition to exerting its own anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and being bacteriostatic or bactericidal at concentrations of 5–50%, DMSO appears to be an effective penetration-enhancer for localized delivery of both hydrophilic and lipophilic drugs and vitamins, and is safe for application to a variety of external and internal tissues. The stuff tastes godawful. I’m looking at developing some kind of concentrated gel to deliver between the teeth and into the periodontal pockets, to leave in place as long as I can tolerate.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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