Gum recession and tooth sensitivity are no laughing matter... Age, hormones, gum disease, teeth grinding or overly aggressive brushing habits, are just a few of the many reasons why the gums can recede over time. In my case, it all started with a few sensitive spots where my gums had slightly receded. Then slowly over time, my gums began to further recess. At that point, I wasn't even able to enjoy an ice cold drink without hitting the roof out of sheer agony! My dentist hinted at gum surgery if conditions worsened, but surely there had to be a gentler, more natural and readily available home remedy that could help halt the recession process and reduce the uncomfortable tooth sensitivity that I had been enduring for so long. After much research, my prayers had been answered... Light therapy to the rescue! In the past, I had used it to improve the condition of my skin, heal the odd acne breakout and to help calm inflammation caused by the odd sports injury so I asked myself, "why wouldn't it heal gum tissues and reverse my tooth sensitivity?"
What Is Light Therapy?
Light therapy, (otherwise known as phototherapy) 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, fade acne redness and even improve conditions such seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The remedy works by delivering precise doses of low-level red light at specific wavelengths to improve blood flow, increase circulation, encourage cellular turnover and repair damaged tissue.
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, gingivitis (a mild form of gum disease) can contribute to gum recession when it progresses to a more serious stage called periodontitis, where the gums can become inflamed and red due to bacterial infection. This is where the gum tissue starts receding upward and away from the tooth, creating pockets where harmful bacteria can build up and cause infection and uncomfortable tooth sensitivity.
Given the ability of light at specific wavelengths to treat pain and repair damaged tissue in the body, it makes perfect sense that it would also be quite effective in treating gum recession, sore infected gum tissue and tooth sensitivity. In fact, some dentists are now utilizing light therapy in their practices for this specific purpose. Unfortunately, given the relative newness of the technology to the dental industry, such a safe and natural in-office remedy can be expensive, may not be covered by insurance, and may not be as widely available, used, or accepted by the dental community.
What Is The DPL® Oral Care Home Light Therapy Device?
Fortunately, there is a new and more affordable do-it-yourself option available to those seeking a home remedy for sensitive teeth and receding gums... Enter the new DPL® Oral Care Light Therapy System. This small but mighty light therapy device definitely brought me much needed relief! Bring on the ice cream and make it a double scoop, please!
So, What Is It?
Shaped like a mouth guard, this "one size fits all" 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 teeth and gums in stimulating, deep healing medical-grade light which helps to 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 frequencies found to be 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). The system also features 6 blue LEDs in the 415 nm range which help eliminate harmful bacteria that causes gum disease. Blue light also helps whiten teeth when used in conjunction with a professional tooth whitening gel (this is not included with the system).
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. For teeth whitening, it is recommended that the device be used once per day for 20 minutes.
6 Ways Home Light Treatment Can Remedy Oral Health Issues
1) Reduces 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 healing, oral light 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 further demineralization and erosion. I notice that my teeth are noticeably smoother, cleaner and whiter after each and every use!
2) Prevents Gum Recession
Otherwise known as "gingivitus", an overgrowth of bad bacteria within the mouth can cause inflammation which can result 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. 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. This particular guard is comparable to and much more affordable than the expensive versions offered by dentists.
3) Heals Redness, Sores and Inflammation
Red and infrared light 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 light therapy should be combined with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist to prevent inflammation caused by tartar buildup.
4) Kills Gum and Tooth Disease Causing Bacteria
Red and blue light at specific wavelengths can also help attack and kill oral bacteria responsible for the onset of gum disease. This combined treatment helps reduce harmful bacteria, increases good bacteria and maintains a clean and balanced oral environment which reduces the occurrence of infections. Because light therapy is a natural, non-invasive remedy, it is no longer necessary to use harsh chemicals or compounds to eliminate the bad bacteria in your mouth and maintain proper dental hygiene.
5) Whitens and Brightens Teeth
Blue wavelengths of light in the 415 nm also has the ability to naturally fade stains on the teeth caused by foods and liquids such as coffee and tea and has been used for decades in dental offices across the world. Treatment results can be further enhanced by using your favorite peroxide toothpaste and/or tooth whitening gel.
6) Freshens Breath
Light therapy is also a great remedy for eliminating bad breath. Red and blue light a certain wavelengths promote fresher breath by killing nasty odor causing bacteria within the mouth.
How I Reduced My Tooth Sensitivity and Improved My Gum Health In 5 Simple Steps:
I have been adhering closely to the protocol below for the last two months and have noticed a significant improvement in overall sensitivity and a vast improvement in the condition of my gums. For best results, try following these simple steps preferably right before bedtime:
- Gently brush teeth with a quality ultrasonic toothbrush using a good re-mineralizing toothpaste containing Nano-hydroxyapatite.
- Spit out excess toothpaste after brushing, but DO NOT rinse yet!
- Floss teeth well (I use a waxed floss called Listerine Floss - Cool Mint which is blue in color and allows me to see exactly how much plaque I've removed. Seeing the results of your hard work can be very rewarding!)
- Apply a thin layer of re-mineralizing toothpaste to any sensitive areas where the gum meets the tooth.
- Immediately treat teeth and gums with the DPL® Oral Light Therapy System for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Complete the process with a final rinse.
Repeat the above steps before bed and you should notice that your sensitivity to hot and cold will improve quite quickly. The results are cumulative so try to maintain this regimen on a daily basis. I also found that my "manual" brushing technique with a simple 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 smoother and look whiter. The device even offers a convenient "whitening" mode. Just be sure to purchase the "sensitive" replacement brush heads as they have a much softer texture and are less prone to damaging the delicate gum line and wearing away the enamel. Please share any other tips or tricks that have worked for you to resolve your tooth sensitivity in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!