Guest Post: Dental Ozone Is for More Than Just Fighting Pathogens

Our thanks to the office of St. Louis biological dentist Dr. Michael Rehme for letting us share this post from their blog. The original is here.

ozone moleculeWhen you hear about ozone in dentistry, it’s usually about its power to fight infection. That power comes courtesy of a third oxygen atom that turns “breathing” oxygen (O2) into ozone (O3). This makes the molecule unstable. It really wants to lose that extra atom and become “regular” oxygen once again.

That instability is what makes it such a powerful antimicrobial. That third atom readily attaches to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, interfering with their function. Ozone also stimulates oxygen metabolism and activates the immune system, further defending against harmful microorganisms.

So ozone is ideal for treating infectious conditions such as gum disease and dental caries (tooth decay). It’s also used to support healing from dental surgery and preparing teeth for restorations.

What you don’t hear about so much in dentistry is ozone for treating pain, such as from tooth sensitivity or TMJ disorders. Yet here, too, it may have a role to play.

A new study in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation focuses on this – in particular, treating chronic pain in the chewing muscles. The trial compared treatment results between two groups of women, one that received ozone therapy, one that received sham ozone as a placebo.

Both groups experienced improvements, actually.

However, the study hypothesis that bio-oxidative ozone application to the sites of most severe pain would produce better results than sham bio-oxidative ozone application at predetermined points was supported. Bio-oxidative ozone application appeared to be superior to sham bio-oxidative ozone application and differences were significant. [emphasis added]

Pain intensity went down and patients’ pressure pain thresholds went up. They also experienced ”significantly better results” with respect to their ability to move their jaw compared to the placebo group.

masseter muscleThe follows earlier research suggesting that ozone may be more effective than drugs for treating TMJ pain. In one such study, 87% of patients receiving ozone therapy either improved or recovered completely. Only about a third of the patients in the drug group showed improvement, and none recovered completely.

Why should ozone help with pain? Dr. Frank Shallenberger, among others, has suggested that chronic pain results from a lack of oxygen utilization. “Reverse this,” he says, “and an area of chronic pain will become normal again. Reverse this, and an area of chronic degeneration will begin to regenerate exactly as it was supposed to in the first place.”

Cells need oxygen to heal. Ozone stimulates the healing response.

This makes it even more valuable to dentistry – and medicine – than ever. Powerful. Effective. Non-invasive. Safe. What more could you ask for in a treatment?

Masseter image by Anatomography

A Look Back at…Ozone for Oral Candidiasis

Originally posted July 16, 2015

Ozone for Oral Candidiasis? Yes, Says New Research

It’s normal to have small amounts of yeasts living in your body. But an overgrowth can mean trouble.

C. albicansFor instance, an overgrowth of Candida albicans (C. albicans) – one of the most studied types of fungus in the human microbiome – generates toxins that your immune system may struggle to cope with, leaving you feeling achy and tired. Unfortunately, the modern Western lifestyle does a lot to feed candidiasis. The sugary and highly acidic Standard American Diet and chronic stress are two major environmental triggers of the condition.

When candidiasis occurs in the mouth, the result is a condition called thrush, which is characterized by white bumps on the tongue, lips or other soft tissues. You may run a fever. Swallowing may be tough.

Candida can also raise your risk of caries and gum disease. Research published last year in Infection and Immunity showed how C. albicans teams up with S. mutans – one of the major caries-causing bacteria – to create stronger, more virulent biofilms (plaque) on the teeth.

Conventional treatment of candida overgrowth typically involves antibiotics and antifungal medicines, but a recent study points to another powerful – and less potentially problematic – tool: ozone.

Published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research, this small but compelling study compared ozone with clotrimazole – a common antifungal med – in the treatment of oral candidiasis. Patients in both groups showed a significant reduction of the yeast, but that reduction was more pronounced for those who were treated with the ozonated water. They experienced a 60.5% reduction – vs. a 32.3% reduction in the clotrimazole group.

And by the end of treatment, more than half of those in the ozone group who had been diagnosed with candidiasis showed no further signs of overgrowth.

“The results of our study,” note the authors,

should provide a guideline for further researches as present findings suggest that ozonated water might be useful to control oral infectious microorganisms, particularly C. albicans. Topical ozone therapy, when given in therapeutic doses through a controlled device, is the safest known therapy.

While and longer term studies are still needed, they add, the present one fits comfortably with previous research on and clinical experience of the power of ozone to treat both oral and systemic infections alike.

A Look Back at…The Power of Ozone

Originally posted October 23, 2014

Did you know that oxygen has a role to play in your oral health?

No, getting a breath of fresh air isn’t enough to kill harmful microbes in your mouth. But there’s a super-charged form of oxygen that helps eliminate bacteria, fungi, viruses – even parasites – that can create disease and dysfunction.

That highly reactive form of oxygen is called ozone. Yes, the same gas that protects you from harmful ultraviolet ray levels is a powerful disinfectant!

dental ozoneOzone is comprised of three oxygen atoms and so is sometimes referred to as O3. Too much of it for an extended period of time can cause problems – as in smog – but controlled, therapeutic use can help treat and heal a wide variety of dental and medical issues. (In fact, a medical team recently traveled to Sierra Leone to help combat ebola with ozone.)

Infections cannot survive when they encounter ozone’s volatile, reactionary nature, which makes it perfect for the minimally-invasive treatment of gum and bone infection. Not only does ozone therapy clear out the infection; it promotes better blood flow, enhanced immune response and quickens healing.

Most of the time, dental ozone is applied as a gas or via ozonated water – or both, as the situation demands. Some typical uses, as described by biological dentist Dr. Vern Erwin:

  • Ozonated water may be used as a gargle or rinse to treat oral abscesses, gum problems, sore throats and ulcerations. It may also be used for irrigation.
  • Ozone gas may be used as a preventive measure against tooth decay and periodontal disease.This is done by fitting a custom tray over the patient’s teeth and gums, and letting ozone into the tray for a short while.
  • Teeth that might otherwise be subject to a root canal or extraction may be treated by washing an exposed nerve first with ozonated water, then with ozone gas.
  • Ozone may be used as a disinfectant before a root canal or restorative dentistry is done. Ozonated water and gas can get through the walls of the tiny dentinal tubules, killing harmful bacteria that have taken up residence in these hard-to-reach, hard-to-clean places.
  • Temporomandibular joint pain may be treated with ozone, where gas injected right into the TMJ can kill harmful microbes, as well as reduce inflammation and spur the growth of new cartilage.

Additionally, some biological dentists will use ozone injections to treat cavitations – areas of dead and decaying tissue that can form after extractions if the socket is not cleaned thoroughly. (The periodontal ligament must be removed!) Left untreated, cavitations can contribute to a host of systemic health issues, including chronic pain, arthritis, cancer, heart disease and neurological problems. (Learn more about cavitations in this two part video.)

Ozone therapy helps us neutralize an area before filling a cavity or undergoing cosmetic surgery, thus reducing the chance that an infection will start. It has also shown great success in cleaning the gap left by a tooth that needed to be pulled.

A July 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry found that while chlorhexidine – a common oral disinfectant – was more effective against S. mutans (one of the main kinds of bacteria involved in tooth decay), ozone is still an “efficient cavity disinfectant when it is used appropriate concentration and period of time.”

Another study published that same year likewise found ozone effective.

Gaseous ozone demonstrated a strong antimicrobial effect on cariogenic bacteria in both in vitro and ex vivo conditions and it can be used as an adjuvant in caries therapy.

Most importantly, ozone therapy helps you heal more quickly with less pain. This was nicely demonstrated in a study published about a year ago in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Sixty subjects had their wisdom teeth removed. One extraction site was treated with ozone and the other with “sham ozone therapy.” Overall, participants reported less pain on the treated side, as well as using fewer painkillers.

A healthier mouth and better healing those times when dental work is needed? Who wouldn’t want that?

Ozone for Oral Candidiasis? Yes, Says New Research

It’s normal to have small amounts of yeasts living in your body. But an overgrowth can mean trouble.

C. albicansFor instance, an overgrowth of Candida albicans (C. albicans) – one of the most studied types of fungus in the human microbiome – generates toxins that your immune system may struggle to cope with, leaving you feeling achy and tired. Unfortunately, the modern Western lifestyle does a lot to feed candidiasis. The sugary and highly acidic Standard American Diet and chronic stress are two major environmental triggers of the condition.

When candidiasis occurs in the mouth, the result is a condition called thrush, which is characterized by white bumps on the tongue, lips or other soft tissues. You may run a fever. Swallowing may be tough.

Candida can also raise your risk of caries and gum disease. Research published last year in Infection and Immunity showed how C. albicans teams up with S. mutans – one of the major caries-causing bacteria – to create stronger, more virulent biofilms (plaque) on the teeth.

Conventional treatment of candida overgrowth typically involves antibiotics and antifungal medicines, but a recent study points to another powerful – and less potentially problematic – tool: ozone.

Published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research, this small but compelling study compared ozone with clotrimazole – a common antifungal med – in the treatment of oral candidiasis. Patients in both groups showed a significant reduction of the yeast, but that reduction was more pronounced for those who were treated with the ozonated water. They experienced a 60.5% reduction – vs. a 32.3% reduction in the clotrimazole group.

And by the end of treatment, more than half of those in the ozone group who had been diagnosed with candidiasis showed no further signs of overgrowth.

“The results of our study,” note the authors,

should provide a guideline for further researches as present findings suggest that ozonated water might be useful to control oral infectious microorganisms, particularly C. albicans. Topical ozone therapy, when given in therapeutic doses through a controlled device, is the safest known therapy.

While and longer term studies are still needed, they add, the present one fits comfortably with previous research on and clinical experience of the power of ozone to treat both oral and systemic infections alike.

The Power of Ozone

Did you know that oxygen has a role to play in your oral health?

No, getting a breath of fresh air isn’t enough to kill harmful microbes in your mouth. But there’s a super-charged form of oxygen that helps eliminate bacteria, fungi, viruses – even parasites – that can create disease and dysfunction.

That highly reactive form of oxygen is called ozone. Yes, the same gas that protects you from harmful ultraviolet ray levels is a powerful disinfectant!

dental ozoneOzone is comprised of three oxygen atoms and so is sometimes referred to as O3. Too much of it for an extended period of time can cause problems – as in smog – but controlled, therapeutic use can help treat and heal a wide variety of dental and medical issues. (In fact, a medical team recently traveled to Sierra Leone to help combat ebola with ozone.)

Infections cannot survive when they encounter ozone’s volatile, reactionary nature, which makes it perfect for the minimally-invasive treatment of gum and bone infection. Not only does ozone therapy clear out the infection; it promotes better blood flow, enhanced immune response and quickens healing.

Most of the time, dental ozone is applied as a gas or via ozonated water – or both, as the situation demands. Some typical uses, as described by biological dentist Dr. Vern Erwin:

  • Ozonated water may be used as a gargle or rinse to treat oral abscesses, gum problems, sore throats and ulcerations. It may also be used for irrigation.
  • Ozone gas may be used as a preventive measure against tooth decay and periodontal disease.This is done by fitting a custom tray over the patient’s teeth and gums, and letting ozone into the tray for a short while.
  • Teeth that might otherwise be subject to a root canal or extraction may be treated by washing an exposed nerve first with ozonated water, then with ozone gas.
  • Ozone may be used as a disinfectant before a root canal or restorative dentistry is done. Ozonated water and gas can get through the walls of the tiny dentinal tubules, killing harmful bacteria that have taken up residence in these hard-to-reach, hard-to-clean places.
  • Temporomandibular joint pain may be treated with ozone, where gas injected right into the TMJ can kill harmful microbes, as well as reduce inflammation and spur the growth of new cartilage.

Additionally, some biological dentists will use ozone injections to treat cavitations – areas of dead and decaying tissue that can form after extractions if the socket is not cleaned thoroughly. (The periodontal ligament must be removed!) Left untreated, cavitations can contribute to a host of systemic health issues, including chronic pain, arthritis, cancer, heart disease and neurological problems. (Learn more about cavitations in this two part video.)

Ozone therapy helps us neutralize an area before filling a cavity or undergoing cosmetic surgery, thus reducing the chance that an infection will start. It has also shown great success in cleaning the gap left by a tooth that needed to be pulled.

A July 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry found that while chlorhexidine – a common oral disinfectant – was more effective against S. mutans (one of the main kinds of bacteria involved in tooth decay), ozone is still an “efficient cavity disinfectant when it is used appropriate concentration and period of time.”

Another study published that same year likewise found ozone effective.

Gaseous ozone demonstrated a strong antimicrobial effect on cariogenic bacteria in both in vitro and ex vivo conditions and it can be used as an adjuvant in caries therapy.

Most importantly, ozone therapy helps you heal more quickly with less pain. This was nicely demonstrated in a study published about a year ago in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Sixty subjects had their wisdom teeth removed. One extraction site was treated with ozone and the other with “sham ozone therapy.” Overall, participants reported less pain on the treated side, as well as using fewer painkillers.

A healthier mouth and better healing those times when dental work is needed? Who wouldn’t want that?