I've blogged in the past on the impact of dental pathogens in the mouth and the impact of these microbes on our overall health. I cannot stress enough how important I feel it is to ensure that dental health is a priority.
In dealing with people with Lyme disease, there is already a total body burden of pathogens beyond that which our bodies can effectively manage. Reducing dental pathogen stress provides our immune system with significant additional energy that can be used to focus on systemic infections.
I've been asked what I personally do for dental health and thought I would share my program here.
1) I brush twice daily with an Oral-B toothbrush. I have used other similar brushes in the past, but prefer the Oral-B.
2) When brushing, I alternate one of three different products. All three are aimed at improving dental health. The first is Weleda Salt Toothpaste. The second is PerioPaste. The third is a blend of essential oils called OraMD that I use several drops on a toothbrush instead of toothpaste.
3) Putting the brush head in a UV-cleaner after each use is an important way to avoid recontaminating yourself with bacteria.
4) After my morning brushing, I use Perio Protect trays with a specific gel form of Hydrogen Peroxide gel obtained through my local dentist. The system is not inexpensive and is not covered by insurance, but I think it is one of the best things I have done for my dental health. Initially, I had gum pocket depths of 4 and 5 which are now reversed to 1, 2, and 3. Perio Protect was a notable part of that improvement.
5) I floss once a day before bedtime. I use dental tape rather than dental floss. It is my opinion that everyone with a chronic illness that wants to get well should be flossing on a daily basis. Not a few times a week....but daily.
6) Having listened to a recent lecture from Hal Huggins, a well known dentist ostracized for years for his belief that mercury is dangerous, I started using 1/2 teaspoon of Morton's Canning and Pickling Salt mixed in water and swished around the mouth vigorously and then spit out. I do this once a day, most commonly in the evening after flossing.
7) I go for preventative cleanings at my local dentist every 3 months instead of every 6 months. Finding a good biological dentist is critical. Once a chronic illness is present, I think a biological dentist is a must-have member of our healthcare team. Other more involved discussions on amalgam removal, the bite, cavitations, and other topics may be necessary and having a good biological dentist is a must in my opinion.
There are also a number of probiotic dental lozenges on the market now that may be helpful in balancing the oral flora. In the past, I've opened standard probiotic capsules and just let the powder dissolve in my mouth as well.
In my opinion, dental health is a significant part of what we must address in order to optimize our recovery. I'm often surprised by the number of people I speak to with Lyme disease that do not recognize the importance of dental health and how it is connected to our overall health. Many of the things I am doing are relatively inexpensive ways to support our bodies as we improve our health over time. Not striving for optimal oral health may delay our recovery and make our journey more difficult than it needs to be. Food for thought... Oh great, now I've got to go floss again.... :)
Special thanks to the dental team at Los Gatos Dental Group for taking such good care of me.