Katie To, DDS

A New Opportunity in Gum Disease Treatment and Maintenance

June 21, 2019
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Posted By: Dawn katietodds

One of the most destructive diseases to the gum and bone that supports the teeth is gum disease.  Gum disease is initiated by bacteria, yeast, and viruses that live in the mouth, or are acquired through saliva from someone else.  From multiple scientific studies, it is widely understood that about 10 to 15 bacteria, along with other yeast and viruses (pathogens), are mainly responsible for gum disease.  Often the pathogen types, and even the combination of pathogens causing the disease, are different for different people.  What makes this disease even more unique is that everybody has their own personalized reaction to the pathogens.  This personalized response is based on individual genetics and lifestyle.  A few examples of a much more extensive list of lifestyle issues that shape the personalized response are smoking, sleep apnea, nutrition, genetics, hydration, and even exercise.  So, bacteria (pathogens) must be present, but it is a unique personalized response that determines the expression, and ultimately the damage from the disease.

Since many of the genetic and lifestyle factors affecting the disease are difficult to treat, one of the things Dr. Katie and her team focus on is controlling the pathogen population.  A newer idea in disease management is to identify the pathogen population and use targeted therapeutic strategies to reduce the bacterial load.  Now dentists can use a 30 second rinse and spit test to identify and measure, the bacteria, yeast, and viruses using salivary diagnostics.

Saliva contains many bacteria, yeast and viruses, that typically live in and around the teeth and in other areas of the mouth.  Since the 10 to 15 bacteria, and specifically, one type of yeast responsible for periodontal disease are known, their DNA can be identified through a sophisticated process that is normally reserved for forensic scientists at crime scenes.  The pathogen DNA analysis (salivary diagnostics) is available, affordable, and reliable.  As the technology is expanding it is also used to identify and treat other diseases as well.

Again, salivary diagnostics provides useful information for our team that comprehensively treat oral infections.  Knowing the quality and quantity of the bacterial load allows us to identify the baseline population of bacteria at disease identification.  It allows Dr. Katie to see the differences in pathogen profiles between the disease presentation and when the disease is stabilized.  It also gives the us the ability to monitor the bacterial load over time to ensure that the disease stays stable.

Salivary diagnostics is 21st century science that can also be used for many other things in medicine.  Come in and see Dr. Katie and her team for an evaluation of the pathogens that could be negatively affecting your mouth and your overall health.

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