The Other Ozone Layer
Tooth Decay is still not okay!
The newest tool in my dental hygiene toolbox, one that has lately changed the way I do dental hygiene, is the use of ozone. Ozone gas, or O3, is super oxygen. It fits in perfectly with my goal of helping patients heal and be healthy, and is truly one of my favorite topics. Ozone in the atmosphere protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. It’s not smog or pollution – Ozone gas actually cleans our air. Used here on earth, it is one of nature’s greatest oxidizers; a super cleaner. It ruptures the cell wall of bacteria, fungi, viruses, yeast, mold, and parasites instantly. Our healthy cells are not affected by it because they contain antioxidant enzymes in the cell membrane that protect those cells from being oxidized (antioxidant) by ozone. The final breakdown products of ozone are water and oxygen. Pure and natural, and you can’t get much better than that… Ozone is used routinely in the water purification systems throughout Europe and in many water municipalities here in the United States. It is used to disinfect fruits and vegetables. It has been used in medicine for over 100 years and dentistry for nearly that long. It’s use has been grandfathered in and does not need FDA approval.
I learned about ozone gas and its use in dentistry just over two years ago at a dental continuing education meeting given by the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics (ACE) I attended in Scottsdale, AZ. I’m always looking for something that can kill bacteria, fungi etc., and when Dr. Bill Domb came up to speak about ozone and what it can do, I was riveted! This was too good to be true! Why had I never even heard of it before and why was it not used extensively in medicine and dentistry? And, most importantly, how can I use this for myself, my family and my patients?
Ozone use is controversial. Medicine, including dentistry, does not have the best reputation to being open to things that interfere with the profit motive, and ozone certainly would do that; it is cheap to produce and easy to use. I have read enough research, though, to convince me it does exactly what the researchers say it does. Drs. Edward Lynch and Julian Holmes have done much of the research and have proven it safe and effective.
Points on Ozone
(from William M. Netzley, DDS)
- A naturally occurring gas with its three atoms of oxygen. It is an activated or energized form of oxygen. That fresh, wonderful smell on the mountains when you ski or after thunderstorms is ozone.
- It protects us from harmful radiation and responsible for the blue color in the sky.
- Has been used for medical treatment for over 80 years on millions of people with no ill effects.
- It is produced naturally by our own cells to fight infections.
- It is cheap, easy and safe to use.
- It helps the body to heal.
- It stops (arrests) tooth decay.
- It sterilizes roots canals.
- Eradicates cold sores.
- It hardens previously soft areas of decay.
- Allows the dentist to preserve more of the natural tooth.
- A gentler way to treat your teeth.
- Can stop sensitivity of the necks of teeth.
- Used as a refreshing mouth rinse.
- Disinfectant of water lines.
- It is the most important advancement in dentistry since the development of filling materials.
- Has been used to treat public water systems for over one hundred years.
- Breaks up chronic infections
- Reduces the costs of treatment.
- Improved sterilization of surgical instruments.
- The improved success in treatment leads to higher quality of life.
Remember that it is the bacterial biofilm that creates the perfect environment for disease bacteria to thrive. The mouth is an ideal incubator because it’s moist, warm, dark, undisturbed, and with plenty of food. This biofilm is hard to penetrate with antibiotics, and thus, hard to breakthrough and remove. As bacteria excrete their acid, they die and harden into tartar. Their bacteria babies continue this microscopic circle of life in this acid environment. (When you see tartar, know that’s a concrete hotel for more bacteria to hide in.) Ozone gas can penetrate this eco-niche and kill the bad bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses lurking in the tooth surface, and hiding under your gums. It changes the acidic environment to one that is neutral. Then good bacteria can repopulate the tooth and start healing and remineralizing it. Yes, you read that correctly– ozone can arrest and reverse tooth decay. The ideal time to spray teeth with oxygen/ozone gas is at the very early stages of the infection whether it is tooth decay or gum disease. Ozone can not regenerate missing enamel, though, so if you have a big hole in your tooth ozone can stop decay from progressing but you’ll still need a restoration of some kind. Ozone can disinfect under the gums and help heal gum disease, and can even desensitize teeth, as my daughter can attest! (More on ozone use specifically for gum disease and tooth desensitization in another post.)
To know if you are at risk for tooth decay have your dentist or dental hygienist run a diagnostic laser over your teeth. Our office uses a Diagnodent laser to see if there is beginning decay in the tooth fissures and grooves. We also do a swab test to see if you have the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Armed with these two pieces of information, we attack the bacteria with oxygen/ozone gas in the office, as well as work to change the oral environment with rinses for home use and remineralize the teeth with calcium, phosphate and fluoride tooth paste. Tooth decay is truly optional and voluntary. The best dentistry is no dentistry.
Learn more about ozone and make it part of your healthy mouth, healthy teeth, and healthy body plan!
I have never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful. -Anonymous