Hydrogen Peroxide vs. Antibiotics: A Safer System for Treating Gum Disease
The oral cavity is a complex and diverse ecosystem, home to over 700 species of bacteria. While most run the gamut from beneficial to innocuous, certain combinations of these microorganisms can have a massive impact on both oral and overall health. Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is caused by the proliferation of harmful bacteria into the spaces between gums and teeth. There, in the depths of periodontal pockets, unchecked growth of bacteria in communities called biofilms (living films) can lead to everything from minor inflammation and tenderness to infection, tooth loss, and potentially even systemic disease.
Historically, dental professionals have looked to antibiotics as a first-line defense against gum disease. In recent years, however, emerging concerns about the greater health implications of antibiotic use have given practitioners and their patients pause. Bacteria, particularly in the ideal microenvironment of the periodontal pocket, are stubbornly persistent—they adapt to survive and antibiotic therapy can be the catalyst for such adaptations, resulting in mutant, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise, with at least 2 million cases per year in the United States (23,000 of which prove fatal). The CDC likewise estimates that nearly half of antibiotics prescribed are not actually needed. These statistics, coupled with a host of other general health risks, have left dentists and their patients seeking alternatives.
One tried-and-true antimicrobial agent offers a solution. While hydrogen peroxide's utility against wounds and infection elsewhere on the body is perhaps more widely acknowledged, its safe and effective use in dentistry is lengthy and well-documented.3 For over 10 years, dentists have used Perio Trays® by Perio Protect® to deliver a 1.7% hydrogen peroxide gel deep below the gums to successfully combat gum disease. These sealed prescription trays are designed for at-home care between office visits and provide patients with a safe, strong, and sustainable way to improve their oral health, without the need for antibiotics.
The Perio Protect Method® works by administering a small concentration of bacteria-fighting hydrogen peroxide directly into pockets as deep as 9mm. Held in place for as little as 10 minutes, the peroxide gel gently debrides the microscopic lacerations caused by gum disease and fully cleanses the area of harmful bacteria. This process also creates a localized, oxygen-rich environment, modifying the ecology below the gums to promote a healthy bacterial balance and host healing. Clinical data speaks to the efficacy of non-invasive treatment with Perio Trays, with patients experiencing significantly less bleeding upon probing and reduced pocket depth just weeks into therapy.3 As an added bonus, patients using Perio Trays commonly report whiter teeth and fresher breath.
To learn more about the advantages of the Perio Protect Method and how it can benefit your patients and practice, visit Perio Protect’s website.