Gum Disease (cont.)
Steven B. Horne, DDS
Dr. Steve Horne began his career at Brigham Young University obtaining his BA in English. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 2007 from the University of Southern California where his pursuit for academic excellence landed him on the Dean's List. He was recognized for his superior clinical skills and invited to help teach other dental students in courses on restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, and tooth anatomy. During dental school, he provided dental care for underserved populations of Los Angeles and Orange County, Mexico, and Costa Rica with AYUDA. Following dental school, Dr. Horne entered active duty with the U.S. Army and practiced dentistry at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for four years. During this time, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and received multiple Army Achievement Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, and served as Company Commander. Dr. Horne currently practices full time at Torrey Pines Dental Arts in La Jolla, California, as a general dentist. Dr. Horne is a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Horne is married to his wife, Christy, and they have a chocolate Labrador named Roscoe.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is gum disease (gingivitis)?
- What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease?
- What causes gum disease?
- Does gum disease cause bad breath?
- What are other gum disease symptoms and signs?
- How is gum disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for gum disease?
- Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for gum disease?
- Can gum disease be reversed?
- Is gum disease associated with other health problems?
- How is gum disease managed in children?
- How is gum disease managed in pregnancy?
- Can gum disease be prevented?
- Is gum disease contagious?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for gum disease?
There has been evidence to suggest the effectiveness of the following as treatments for gum disease:
- Green tea has antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the body.
- Hydrogen peroxide helps kill bacteria when used as a mouthwash or as a gel in a custom fitted tray, but it cannot be swallowed.
- Warm saltwater rinse reduces inflammation and kills bacteria, but daily use will damage the teeth.
- Baking soda and water can be used to brush the teeth to help neutralize the acids that can cause gum disease.
- Oil pulling (swishing or rinsing) -- there has been little evidence to prove that sesame oil can help reduce bacteria that cause gum disease, but this is a popular practice.
Can gum disease be reversed?
As long as the causes of gum disease are correctly identified and the patient is persistent in improving their oral hygiene and seeking necessary treatment, the prognosis is very good for reversing the condition. The prognosis is best when treatment is obtained in early stages of gingivitis. At this stage, the affected person usually just needs a professional dental cleaning and more thorough brushing and flossing to reverse disease. As the condition turns from acute to chronic (chronic gingivitis), and from gingivitis to periodontitis or to ANUG, the prognosis gets less predictable. Therefore, it is very important to catch and treat gum disease as early as possible.
Is gum disease associated with other health problems?
There have been many attempts to understand the link between gum disease and other systemic health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Comparing the bacteria that cause dental plaque with the bacteria involved in heart disease suggests a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, but researchers have been unable to establish a cause and effect relationship. These types of relationships are difficult to prove or disprove, so it is fair to assume that aiming for a life free of gum disease will only help in leading a generally healthier life.
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