Gum recession and tooth sensitivity are no laughing matter... Age, hormones, gum disease, teeth grinding or overly aggressive brushing habits, are some of the many reasons the gums can recede over time! In my case, it all started with a few sensitive spots where my gums seemed to have receded. Things then progressed and my gums decided to shrink up even further to the point that I wasn't even able to enjoy an ice cold drink without hitting the roof sheer agony! My dentist hinted at gum surgery, but surely there had to be a gentler, more natural and readily available remedy that could help halt the recession process and reduce the uncomfortable tooth sensitivity that I had been experiencing. Lo and behold, my prayers had been answered! Red light therapy to the rescue!
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy, (otherwise known as phototherapy or low level laser therapy) is a proven technology that has been in use by professionals for over 50 years to relieve pain, heal wounds, fight infections, rejuvenate aging skin, treat acne and even improve conditions such seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The treatment works by delivering precise doses of low-level red light at specific wavelengths to improve blood flow, increase circulation, kill the bacteria responsible for gum disease, encourage cellular turnover and repair damaged tissue.
Red Light Therapy and Oral Care
Over time, the gums can recede or pull away from the teeth, leaving the vulnerable nerve area exposed. When this area is no longer protected by the gums and is exposed to hot and cold temperatures, it can become extremely sensitive. In some cases, gingivitus (a mild form of gum disease) can contribute to gum recession, where the gums can become inflamed and red due to bacterial infection.
Given the ability of red light to treat pain and repair damaged tissue in the body, it makes perfect sense that it would also be quite effective in treating sore, swollen or infected gums, gum recession and tooth sensitivity within the mouth. In fact, some dentists are now utilizing light therapy in their practices for this exact purpose. Unfortunately, given the relative newness of the technology to the dental industry, such in-office treatments can be expensive, may not be covered by insurance, and are not yet as widely available, used or accepted by the dental community.
DPL® Oral Care Light Therapy System
The DPL® Oral Light Therapy System is a light-driven device that reverses tooth sensitivity and improves gum health. MSRP $149.
Fortunately, there is a more affordable and obtainable do-it-yourself option available to those seeking home treatment. Enter the new DPL® Oral Care Light Therapy System. Be sure to use coupon code: SMILE to save $10 on your purchase.
This small but mighty light treatment device definitely brought me much needed relief. Bring on the ice cream and make it a double scoop, please!
What Is It?
Shaped like a small mouth guard, the device features 12 red (660 nm), 12 infrared (880 nm) and 6 blue (415 nm) light emitting diodes designed to improve the health of your gums and teeth in as little as 10 minutes per day. The device fits comfortably within the mouth where the healing LEDs bathe the upper and lower gums and teeth in stimulating, deep healing medical-grade light to improve kill bacteria, reduce redness, reverse tooth sensitivity and calm inflammation by increasing circulation and stimulating the surrounding gum tissue. Several red light wavelengths have been found to be effective in healing various areas of the body, however the ones most effective in treating oral health issues fall within the 660nm to 830nm range (nm = namometer which is a measure of wavelength within the spectrum of visible light).
How Does It Work?
The DPL® Oral Care Light Therapy System is comprised of two parts including an interchangeable mouth tray which is the piece that contains the red, infrared and blue LEDs, and the oral care control device. The mouth tray attaches to the control device via a small USB connector. To charge the device, the mouth tray is separated from the control device and plugged into the provided power supply. The device takes about 4-6 hours to fully charge and will last for about 50 minutes (I typically let mine charge overnight). The mouth tray is cleaned by running it under warm water and letting it air dry. For gum health, the device should be used for a minimum of 10 minutes per day. The system also features 6 blue LEDs in the 415 nm range which help kill the harmful bacteria that causes gum disease. Blue light also helps whiten teeth when used in conjunction with a professional tooth whitening gel (not included). It is recommended that the device be used once per day for 20 minutes for teeth whitening.
What Are The Benefits Of Oral Red Light Treatment?
Reduced Tooth Sensitivity
The area below your tooth enamel (dentin) is in a constant state of regeneration and can take time to repair itself. Red and infrared wavelengths help decease tooth sensitivity by speeding up this natural reparative process. To further expedite the healing process, red light oral treatment may be used in conjunction with a quality remineralizing toothpaste such as Apagard Premio. This unique toothpaste contains a powerful ingredient called "Nano-hydroxyapatite" which is naturally found in our teeth. Hydroxyapatite strengthens the tooth enamel, seals the underlying dentin and protects the tooth from demineralization and erosion. I notice that my teeth are noticeably smoother, cleaner and whiter after each and every use!
Helps Gum Recession and Heals Inflammation
Otherwise known as "gingivitus", an overgrowth of bad bacteria within the mouth can cause inflammation resulting in red, swollen gum tissue that has the tendency to bleed quite easily. The key to preventing the onset of gum recession is to prevent infections from occurring in the first place. Red light in the 630 nm to 830 nm range has been proven to kill the oral bacteria that causes gum infections and cavities. It also has the ability to reduce swelling and redness and can help return the gum tissue back to its normal state. For optimal results, oral red light treatment should be combined with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. If you grind your teeth at night like I do, consider wearing a quality moldable mouth guard which will protect your teeth from further recession and sensitivity. I had a very hard time finding one that offered a comfortable fit so I went through quite a few of them. I finally settled on the DentalCare Labs Dental Night Guard - a long-lasting, do-it-yourself, moldable mouth guard that offers a nice comfortable, custom fit that is comparable to and much more affordable than the expensive versions offered by dentists.
How To Maintain Healthy Gums and Eliminate Tooth Sensitivity
- Gently brush teeth using a quality remineralizing toothpaste and floss well.
- Rub a thin layer of remineralizing toothpaste on sensitive areas where the gum meets the tooth.
- Immediately treat with the DPL® Oral Care Device for 10 to 20 minutes.
I repeat the above steps twice per day - once in the morning and once before bed and like magic, my sensitivity to hot and cold significantly improved almost immediately. I also found that my "manual" brushing technique with a toothbrush was causing gum recession so on the advice of my dentist, I invested in a Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush which uses gentle sonic vibrations to very gently and thoroughly clean the teeth. I've had it for six years now and absolutely love the way it makes my teeth feel smooth and look whiter. It even offers a "whitening" mode. Just be sure to purchase the "sensitive" replacement brush heads as they tend to be softer and less aggressive on the gums.