Do You Have Periodontal Disease?

Statistics show that adults in the United States have more periodontal disease than was previously thought. About 50% of young adults 30 years old have some level of gum disease and are unaware of it, mainly because the condition is painless and usually does not cause bleeding or swelling.

Ask Your Dentist

gum_disease_illustrationPeriodontal disease is serious and you must act quickly if you have this condition in your gums because the inflammation and germs can damage body health. Ask your dentist or hygienist at annual visits if they notice any signs of this disease and if they are unsure, there is a test called My Perio Path that detects periodontal bacteria in the mouth.

Periodontal Treatment – Options

Your dentist may prescribe deep cleanings, laser treatments, gum grafting or antibiotics for periodontal disease. Before you start these serious and expensive treatments, you may want to try my 2 simple steps for periodontal disease, even before your treatments begin.  8 -10 weeks on my program can offer amazing improvement in gum health, and many people have discovered they no longer needed treatments.  Remember this is a transmissible disease and others in your household may need the same regimen.

Here are my 2 simple steps for healing Periodontal Disease:

1)   Develop a healthy mouth ecosystem

  1. Take xylitol at least 5 times a day – best after meals and drinks
  2. Use the Complete Mouth Care System

2)   Stimulate gum healing

  1. Massaging your gums twice daily with a clean toothbrush (read more about gum massage below)
  2. Focus on good nutrition (maybe with vitamin supplements and 30-60 days of digestive probiotics)

Gum Massage: Stimulate the circulation in your gums with a clean toothbrush and move the brush (positioned high on the gums) around every area of your mouth, on the inside and outside gums. If you have always used a soft brush – you may actually be more successful with a small medium brush softened in warm water. Our soft Mouth Watchers toothbrush can also give your gums a stimulating massage to help to heal them. When circulation flows in the gums, the blood delivers nutrients and cells to the area, to help heal gums from the inside out.


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Categories: Common Problems, Complete Mouth Care System, Gum Disease, Mouth Care, Xylitol


  • 1/2 of adults are suffering from some form of gum disease, so there is no need to feel embarrassed if your dentist tells you to floss a little more! The key is to make sure you practice good oral hygiene daily and schedule regular checkups so minor issues don’t become major problems!

    • laura says:

      I brush and floss daily but still have perio disease. I see you recommend Closys and listerine, why both? Also, worried about enamel when doing a mouthwash before brushing. I also have a very dry mouth which makes me worried about listerine. I am really trying but seems my teeth are getting worse. I have never been a soda or coffee drinker but love my carbs.

      • Periodontal disease germs cannot be brushed or flossed away. You need a much more clever system to outsmart them and promote healthy bacteria to take their place. Closys provides oxygen to break up oxygen-hating bacteria. Listerine works on the immature plaque in a completely different way.I’d recommend you try my system before it is too late – but you have to get the EXACT products – and don’t forget to have Zellies mints or gum regularly throughout the day. You WILL see results in a matter of weeks. Here is a link to the system: LINK

        • dental phobic in london! says:

          Hi Dr Ellie, Can you guide me on UK equivalents to the products you recommend, eg Closys and Zellies? Also, do you think your system can avoid the need for deep gum pocket cleaning? I think I have an active infection in one gum pocket which I am trying to deal with by using salt water in a vitapik syringe, and would like to not have the deep cleaning if possible!

          • Thank you for your message. We always ask for feedback and help from people working to use this system in other countries! Please let us know if we need to update this information – but here is a link to our notes about the Complete Mouth Care System in other countries: LINK

  • Marwan says:

    Hi Dr. Ellie,

    I’d like to share my experience with your system, and it involves a question. A bit over a year ago, I went and got my teeth cleaned (first time in about years!). While there was no problem with caries, there was definitely inflammation and lots of tartar. It took two cleaning sessions and local anaesthetic to get the job done. That was about the time I started using your system. And I followed it to the dot, including a few grams of xylitol after each meal/snack. I should also mention that I rarely drink coffee/tea/soda/alcohol, and grain consumption is little to none.

    The results were impressive. At my next visit to the dentist, 8 months later, my gums were in excellent condition, and the cleaning was painless and easy. For the first time I can remember, my gums had a healthy pink look to them. The dentist was visibly surprised and asked me a bunch of questions about my routine.

    There was one problem, however. One of my bottom teeth was horribly stained. It looked really bad, and it was actually the reason I went back to the dentist. Turned out it was a superficial stain and it went away pretty easily. (it was a tooth that has a bit of overlap due to crowding). I figured it might be one of those one time stains that occurs due to dead plaque when your teeth are getting better. But I also suspected it may be the cetylpyridinium chloride found in the ACT rinse.

    I decided to do an experiment. I’d continue using the rinse, and if the stain returned, I’d go get it removed, and then stop using the rinse and see what happened. That’s exactly what I did. It returned quite fast. Within two months it was starting to become quite visible, so I went and got it removed (dentist said it was definitely an extrinsic stain). After that visit, I haven’t used the rinse once, and my teeth are stain free (my last visit was at the end of 2013).

    So I’m convinced that it is the ACT rinse that was causing the staining. Interestingly, it mainly affected the crowded tooth, probably because it managed to get lodged in the overlapped portion, and then build from there.

    My question is this:

    The ACT rinse serves at least two purposes, one of which is the application of the right type and concentration of fluoride, and the other is to neutralize the harsh effect of the listerine. Instead of ACT, I’ve been using CloSYS after the listerine. Will CloSYS be as effective at neutralizing the listerine? My guess is that it will, but I wanted to get your opinion on this matter.

    I’ve also thought about diluting some of the crest toothpaste in the CloSYS so I can get some of the fluoride benefit from time to time.

    • It’s hard for me to read your message – because I care so much and your story breaks my heart. You have first hand experience of how to reverse and cure your periodontal disease, but now you are going to use something else.

      I am convinced that staining is most often because:
      1) most of us brush the same way every time we brush – try to be very intentional, and ensure that brushing massages the gums- to stimulate circulation in this area.
      2) change from a very soft brush – soft brushes are often too soft to be effective in these difficult areas.

      Before you leave the Complete Mouth Care System, perhaps buy two new toothbrushes – possibly one rechargeable – but not necessarily (just two different styles). Alternate them – one in the am and one before bed at night. Think about your brushing technique and ensure you reach the inside and outside gum area where this staining is occurring – on the gum all around this area. If you have any digestive issues – I’d suggest you add a course of probiotics for a few weeks, and see if that makes a difference. You may just need to tip the balance of your oral bacteria and tiny changes make a big difference.

  • Marwan says:

    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it!

    I’m very good with my toothbrush. I keep it in my bedroom, and I use warm water and listerine after using it, I store it vertically with the head at the top, and I replace the head every couple months (it’s a terradent toothbrush that has a removable head, and I use the medium bristles).

    I also do massage my gums – in fact I spend about as much time massaging gums as I do brushing my actual teeth, and do both the inner and outer gums on both mandible and maxilla.

    I eat fermented food on a regular basis, saurkraut, kimchi, sour pickles (so I think I have my pro biotic needs covered!). My diet is probably 95% primal/paleo type, and I have no digestive issues.

    Is it not possible that it is the cetylpyridinium chloride that’s the culprit here? I did a pretty well controlled experiment, and the staining never returned after I stopped using the ACT rinse. Assuming it is, would CloSYS be effective at neutralizing the listerine?

  • anonymous says:

    i keep hearing about neem bark powder as a help in reducing periodontal disease.

    • I’d suggest you do a thorough search on the internet before deciding to use neem. Neem is most often used as an oil pressed from the seed of the neem tree, and it has a long history of use for skin and other ailments in India. I have no experience with any patients using this product, but I think there are some cautions ( for young children and pregnancy etc. ). I think that neem from the oil, leaf or bark may be of some help in plaque control, but I do not see any studies suggesting it targets the anaerobic pathogens of periodontal disease.

  • Connie Beck says:

    Is birch xylitol better than xylitol derived from corn? I have been using the corn xylitol and need to get more. Also wonder how important the brand of probiotic that I get is? thank you

    • I don’t believe it really makes a difference the source of xylitol – but you need to be able to trust the company name. Some companies add silica to xylitol (so you are paying for this mixed in the xylitol) and others add ( much worse) Splenda.
      Probiotics are another problem – and their usefulness depends on their manufacture and how they are stored before you purchase. Garden of Life ships product to stores in refrigerated or dry ice units – and we have had great success with this product. I guess if you don’t see or feel a difference – try another brand.

      • Connie Beck says:

        Thank you for your response. I will try the Garden of Life probiotic—–haven’t tried any yet —-was just eating Greek yogurt for the active cultures in it. Thanks again, Connie

  • Chris says:

    I have a history of periodontal disease. I had a deep cleaning by the dentist seven years ago. I have been using the complete mouth care system for three years now. I follow the instructions exactly and don’t miss days. I also clean my toothbrush with listerine and dry it before storing. I also take probiotics and use adequate amounts of Xylitol including granulated in my water. The hygienist said that it looked like plaque and tartar was building up below the gum line so I started doing the system three times a day. I floss once a day. I recently had my teeth cleaned again after using the system three times a day for six months and the hygienist said that I needed a perio therapy cleaning. She said the pockets ranged from 3-8. She said that I would need to be numbed and have two deep cleaning sessions with high powered water that lasted two hours each. Then a one hour follow up three months later for a regular cleaning and evaluation. The total of this three visit deep cleaning is $1,196. The hygienist recommended Butler Gum Perio Shield. Obviously, the system and Xylitol alone is not controlling my periodontal disease. How can I add the Perio Shield into the system? Would using a waterpik with the system be useful? How can I keep the tartar and plaque from forming under the gum line and shrink the pockets? Help!

  • If you have not seen adequate results from the Complete Mouth Care System – it is worth re-visiting the method one more time – and also ensure you address issues like digestive health – that are definitely associated. Here is a link to my other website – with ideas and suggestions:
    Hope this helps – Dr. Ellie

    • Joyce says:

      Like Chris, it took me several years to divorce myself from the periodontal cleanings. One thing that you suggested to me after I asked for more guidance, was to increase my rinse time with the Closys to at least 2 minutes. I think also doing a short manual brushing along with a longer sonic brushing (no flossing) helped me get to a healthy no cavity or gum disease.

      • Also like Chris, I thought that at first that the System and Xylitol were also not enough to manage, much less reverse, the periodontal disease in my mouth. I didn’t realize what the real problem was
        until a few months in. I noticed that while I was making considerable effort at improving my oral and general health, my husband was not. When he finally went to visit the dentist after years of dental neglect, we found out he had moderate-to-severe periodontal disease throughout his entire mouth (I had early-to-moderate development around my molars that I was trying to reverse). I never had a problem with my gums until I met my husband, and then I finally understood why (it’s transmissible!). We share food and saliva very regularly, and also had our toothbrushes stored in the same cup container and shared the same ACT bottle (on the occasions when he would brush his teeth). So I think the neglect of his oral and overall health was inhibiting my own health and healing process. I was also taking multiple courses of antibiotics during this time for chronic sinus infections, and I think that made it easy for my husband’s pathogens to take residence in my mouth. Once we got him on the System, Xylitol, and Probiotics, his pockets began reversing after 2 months (we stopped sharing ACT/Listerine/Closys bottles, kept our toothbrushes separate, and were diligent about not sharing saliva at times when only one mouth was brushed and the other was not, etc.); and when I resolved what was going on with my sinuses (chronic mold exposure at work), stopped the antibiotics (+ added Xlear nasal spray), and started brushing my gums with due diligence and a better toothbrush, then my gums finally began firming up and looking lighter pink. So the system was working, I just didn’t realize that the antibiotics and my husband’s mouth were the reasons why my progress was stalling.

        • Congratulations on your forensic /diagnostic and brilliant review of WHY people have periodontal disease! You are totally correct and you have cracked the CODE completely. Thanks SO MUCH for sharing 🙂

  • Chris says:

    I revisited the method again as you requested and I’m doing everything exactly as recommended – no substitutions of product or rinsing between steps. I have your book, read your blog and have been on the system for three years. I eat adequate xylitol, take probiotics, clean my toothbrush in listerine and store it away from the toilet area, etc. I started doing the system three times a day for over 6 months now. I’m going to continue with the system because I like it but I think that some people with periodontal disease need a little extra help than what the system can provide. I don’t want to have to keep getting deep cleanings done at the dentist despite my good home care. I’m thinking of adding an oral irrigator into my routine. I see that you don’t recommend them but I need an extra boost to the system to try to get my periodontal disease under control. I’m thinking of using the irrigator once a day before I do the system so I don’t rinse off any of the products in the steps.

  • val says:

    How do you prevent teeth with crowns or crowns with post structures from cracking down to roots

    • In dentistry there is a saying – “fillings grow up to be crowns”.
      There are two main reasons teeth deteriorate over time. Most often it is because the original problem is not addressed. This means that although fillings fix the damage, the disease continues to attack the edges of the fillings, so fillings break or need repair every few years. The correct approach is to eliminate disease first, then fix the damage that remains. This rarely happens because so few people understand xylitol.
      The second reason fillings or crowns deteriorate, split teeth or crack, is poor design, poor techniques, or imperfect materials. A small group of dentists formed the Academy of Biomimetic Dentistry. These dentists study filling design and restore teeth by “mimicking” natural tooth structure, which is hundreds of times stronger than a tooth damaged with a cavity. Nature has incredible mechanics that give teeth strength, but fillings damage this pristine tooth structure. Dentist who belong to the Academy of Biomimetic Dentistry learn to fix teeth in a way that maintains the tooth’s natural strength.
      You may want to find an ABD dentist to look at your mouth and give you some advice. Here is a link to their website: here

  • Bettye says:

    Dr. Ellie, I have a gap between two back molars, and when I don’t floss food becomes trapped there and cause my gums to become inflamed..then I feel like I must floss And I will have a decayed blob of food in that area…my gums bleed and hurt for a while…what can I do to avoid this besides flossing that area regularly? I am concerned that food left in that area will cause gum disease…that is the only area in my mouth with this issue…one tooth is a crown.

    • If flossing is helpful to remove stuck food, there is no problem using floss. Little interdental brushes can also be helpful in areas like this.
      I am not against flossing – I teach that flossing is not the best way to reverse gum disease and teeth need more precise and thorough care. Many people inaccurately believe the answer to dental problems is to “brush and floss”. I’d suggest the Complete Mouth Care System along with Zellies xylitol mints and gum for overall oral health.Here is a link to this system LINK

  • Rachel says:

    It’s a good practice to meet the dentist regularly and get some checkups done. One can’t be sure that if he/she has a periodontal disease or any sort of gum disease. So, by regular checkups one can avoid these problems. Informative post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Rosie says:

    Hi Dr Ellie
    I have been on your system for just over a year and have had great success, so much so that one of our top UK dentists who I have started seeing has said that he has not seen such good oral hygiene in all of his professional career.That is some accolade and did not surprise me!

    My question is about gum recession, I have too much bone loss apparently for pin-hole surgery so he can only advise a gingival vaneer which I do not want. You have said that gum recession is not a disease but some of my recession is from infected gums. When I cleared the infection with your system the gum disappeared along with the infection (pus disappeared and so did the gum).

    I am amazed at how much I have learned from you and challenge my dentists now. Do I go along with another deep cleaning of the gums ( which means he believes I still have bacteria in the gums) or do i go by instinct as my pockets are a normal 1 or 2?

    Very difficult to make a dentist feel that as a once rather ignorant periodontal patient I now know more than a very educated health professional.

    I hope you can help me decide what to do.

    • It’s great to hear such a positive story – especially since you have only been “on the system” for a year. Two years is average for seeing marked improvement – so I wouldn’t do anything until you have experienced two years of oral health adjustment. I’d extend the time between cleanings as far as you are comfortable. Write back if you need more support to extend the time between these visits! “Cleanings” do not necessarily do anything positive, and may negatively affect improvements and make teeth sensitive. I feel the same about flossing. It sounds as if you have things under control! Ensure you keep up with xylitol and you give your gums a great massage when you brush your teeth. Brush above teeth – on the inside and outside – with a medium (rather than a soft) brush. We need circulation to heal gums – and people often use toothbrushes that are inadequate for this. Check out the toothbrushing tip blog post:

  • saraswati says:

    I read your book earlier this year, and loved that you quoted maimonides- “let nothing which can be treated by diet be treated by anything else”, and also your emphasis on good diet and lifestyle in supporting dental health. I wanted to ask however if you feel dental problems can be treated by correcting our diet and habits rather than following any system, including yours? Or is that unrealistic? I like your approach and thinking but am not keen on using many mainstream products.

    Also, I know you mentioned in your book that you have seen successful results in some cases of people following your system who had very deep gum pockets- is this because the products can access the pocket depths? Or that they change the mouth’s ecosystem? I am worried about infection lingering deep down regardless of how I clean my teeth/gums.

    I am also very interested in your comment earlier in this thread that “ ‘Cleanings’ do not necessarily do anything positive, and may negatively affect improvements and make teeth sensitive.” I have delayed having any deep cleaning done and would prefer not to as don’t like the idea of some of the tooth surface being planed alongside the scaling, but do you think that this is usually necessary at some point in the peridontal disease process?

    • Periodontal gum disease is very dangerous to our health. I’d suggest you attack pocketing and gum disease with my system of care AND a focus on diet and nutrition.
      If you already have gum disease, you probably need more help than you can get from diet alone.
      Ensure you massage your gums with your toothbrush. Don’t use too soft a brush because you need to stimulate blood flow in the gums around your teeth:especially where you have pocketing.
      If you use the system I recommend twice a day, disinfect your toothbrush, and use xylitol to control mouth acidity each day…. I believe you can have any gum problems under control in less than two months. Then you can decide if you want to continue or not….but don’t delay – get gum disease taken care of ASAP. Remember this is a transmissible infection – shared with anyone in close contact.

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