The silent gum dis­ease 95 per­cent of den­tists miss—and the easy tooth­paste swap that cures it

Roslyn Sin­gle­ton, 55, was side­lined by fa­tigue and brain fog—un­til she dis­cov­ered the sur­pris­ing cul­prit and sim­ple strate­gies that gave her en­ergy to spare

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Get it to­gether. Your fam­ily is count­ing on you,” Roslyn told her­self be­tween yawns on the three-hour drive to check on her 84-year-old mother. “I’d just learned that Mom hadn’t been tak­ing her med­i­ca­tion and was in the hospi­tal again—I needed to be there. I fought to keep my eyes open as I sig­naled for the next high­way exit, des­per­ately need­ing cof­fee to shake off my ex­haus­tion so I could get back on the road fast.

Al­ways drag­ging

“Ev­ery day, I tried to power through my slug­gish­ness. Ac­tiv­i­ties that once came eas­ily, like gro­cery shop­ping, sud­denly seemed tor­tur­ous. I was a group fit­ness in­struc­tor, yet within five min­utes of lead­ing a class at my gym I’d be drag­ging, wor­ry­ing, How am I go­ing to make it through a whole hour? With 50 sets of eyes star­ing back at me, I stressed over whether or not peo­ple could tell I was strug­gling. The weird thing: I wasn’t out of shape. I’d been a cer­ti­fied trainer for 30 years, ate a bal­anced diet and took care of my­self. So why was I day­dream­ing of nap­ping in my car?

“I didn’t feel spot-on men­tally ei­ther. In the morn­ing I’d be fraz­zled won­der­ing, Where did I leave my keys? Or I’d have to turn my car around to re­trieve some­thing I’d for­got­ten. At night when I looked at my to-do list,

I’d think, I don’t want to tackle any projects that re­quire a lot of brain­power. I just need to crash.

“At first I chalked it up to fa­tigue and fog, as well as chronic si­nus in­fec­tions and need­ing antacids daily. Not to men­tion my busy life—I worked long days of 10, 12, some­times

14 hours to get ev­ery­thing done. Plus, I prided my­self on be­ing the solid rock for my whole ex­tended fam­ily.

“My per­sonal life was af­fected too. I of­ten had a weird taste in my mouth, so I stressed about bad breath. When I was in the gym closely train­ing a client, I didn’t want to open my mouth, or even smile, for fear of breath­ing in their face. I’d brush and re-brush my teeth and use a ton of an­ti­sep­tic mouth­wash, but still wor­ried. In all hon­esty, fears about my breath kept me from so­cial­iz­ing.

“De­spite it all, I didn’t want to com­plain to my doc­tor. I con­sid­ered my­self tough—some­one who could deal with in­con­ve­nience. I fig­ured the doc­tor would write off my symp­toms as aging

or hor­monal changes, so I pushed through, telling my­self, This is nor­mal.

“Then when I no­ticed my gums start to feel ten­der and bleed oc­ca­sion­ally when I flossed, I thought I was re­ally fall­ing apart. One day I men­tioned to my mom that I’d been so busy, I hadn’t been to the den­tist in a few years. She had just got­ten out of the hospi­tal and knew the value of health, so she urged me to get my butt there soon. Mom was right. It was time to take care of my­self.

The root cause

“My amaz­ing den­tist, Bobbi Stan­ley, D.D.S., ex­am­ined my mouth and di­ag­nosed gin­givi­tis, a form of pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease. At first, I was an­gry I’d let this hap­pen, but thank­ful to hear it was treat­able. And I was shocked when

Dr. Stan­ley ex­plained that oral health im­pacts over­all health, and that hid­den in­flam­ma­tion in my gums had been send­ing mi­crobes to the rest of my body, low­er­ing my immunity, cloud­ing my think­ing and trig­ger­ing my other symp­toms. What a rev­e­la­tion!

“The day af­ter my oral clean­ing, I woke up feel­ing en­er­gized and painfree, which was such a bless­ing be­cause I had to rush to the hospi­tal to check on an­other ill fam­ily mem­ber.

“With my den­tist’s guid­ance, I made tweaks to keep my mouth healthy. In ad­di­tion to brush­ing and floss­ing, I cut back on sug­ary and acidic foods and took a good mul­ti­vi­ta­min. To help clear away germs, I used a wa­ter pick or den­tal sticks and an al­co­hol-free, non­chem­i­cal mouth­wash (since al­co­hol re­duces the pro­duc­tion of an­tibac­te­rial saliva). I also started rins­ing my mouth out with wa­ter af­ter meals.

“Within three months, most of my health com­plaints—si­nus pres­sure, brain fog, breath wor­ries— were gone. I also stopped need­ing antacids. And at my re­turn visit to the den­tist four months later, she told me how much my in­flamed, re­ceded gums had im­proved.

“Now I han­dle ev­ery­thing bet­ter. I’m teach­ing five fit­ness classes a week and have an ex­tra kick in my step. And when I talk to my train­ing clients, I tell them, ‘If you’re tired, it’s time to go see your den­tist!’

“I’m so grate­ful to have more en­ergy to care for Mom and to men­tor my teenage nieces to be­come strong women. You could say this ‘rock’ of the fam­ily is even more solid now. And that gives me a lot to smile about!”

—as told to Lisa Maxbauer

Roslyn Sin­gle­ton, Cary, NC

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