IMPROVE YOUR overall oral health with ozone Therapy
Oxygen is the fuel that drives our internal engine enabling so many intricate systems within our body to function seamlessly. We definitely need a host of supporting actors to nourish us, to send signals back and forth throughout the body and to keep our metabolism running smoothly. Yet, good ole oxygen is the one element that none of us can do without for very long.
You may not remember high school chemistry class with its periodic table, protons, electron shells and all those formulas, so let’s just remind ourselves that the big “O” sitting in the “8” spot on the chart is a bit unstable as a single entity. However, when it “borrows” 2 electrons from a neighboring oxygen atom, a more stable double bond forms, which explains why you see oxygen written as O2.
So, what’s the deal with O3?
• Why would something happily stable in nature become unstable?
• Where have we all heard about ozone (O3) before anyway?
• And lastly, what kind of magical powers does it possess?
In response to an electrical charge or ultraviolet (UV) light, O2 is energized and temporarily changes into O3. Ozone is much less stable than O2 and has a limited lifespan before interacting with its surround- ings. As it changes from O3 back to O2, a highly reactive O (“singlet oxygen”) is released. This breaks down much of whatever it encounters through a powerful oxidative process, and that’s where the real magic of ozone begins.
Now that we’ve got the chemistry down, let’s move into environmental science for just a moment. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few decades, the media has certainly reported on the most common reference we have to this magical element by virtue of its continuous warnings about pollution, climate change, a “hole” up in the sky and many other concerns affecting something called the ozone layer!
High up in the stratosphere, this layer acts as a shield that surrounds our planet, protecting us from harmful UV rays emitted by the sun. That’s a darn good thing! Interestingly, while we’ve all heard of the ozone layer before, most of us have never really taken it a step further and associated O3 with anything truly useful in our daily lives. That’s because a lot of atten- tion has been given to the potential hazards of ozone by falsely claiming it’s a pollutant. In reality, it’s the products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hydrofluorocarbons and nitrogen created by exhaust from vehicles, power plants and other indus- trial waste that have greatly increased air pollution.
When the sun’s UV rays interact with these pollutants, oxygen in air is energized and ozone is created. Highly industrialized areas combined with major automobile and truck usage are ripe for creat- ing large amounts of pollution, leading to the creation of ozone in high concentrations, which can irritate lungs and eyes.
But, Is It the Ozone Layer or Pollution That’s Really the Problem?
Lots of stuff can be dangerous (ex. electricity, pH, sound) when the volume, intensity or concentration is too high. Therefore, the key is to simply operate within safe parameters so that we can reap the bene- fits of all these things, including ozone. That very same protection we get from way up at 50,000+ feet above sea level can also provide incredible benefits to our health and well-being, to our food and water supply, air purification, even recrea- tional benefits from pools to saunas. There’s a lot to unravel—layers of the onion to peel away—but a good dose of common sense will afford you the best opportunity to move past the controversy and under- stand the real magic of ozone. Incorporating O3 into your daily life and creating healthy routines are
clearly beneficial. It’s a journey worth exploring. Here’s how the story of ozone began. As early as 1785 when a Dutch scientist, Martin van Marum, pursued experiments with electricity, an odor to the air surrounding his machinery was described. How- ever, the initial discovery of ozone is credited to a German scientist, Christian Schonbein, in 1840 as he conducted experiments on the electrolysis of water, a process designed to generate hydrogen as a fuel. Because of the distinct odor detected in his lab, he chose the Greek word “ozein,” meaning “to smell,” to describe this gas.
Over the remainder of the 19th century, various innovators across Europe, Australia and the United States experimented with O3 to purify blood, get rid of bacterial infections and explore other therapeutic uses such as steam saunas and various naturopathic modalities. Nikola Tesla patented an ozone generator in 1896 and sold those machines as well as ozonated oils to doctors for medical care.
Medical Professionals Continued Exploring and They Found Something Remarkable! The medical profession continued to explore options for ozone therapy with their patients, including treatment of conditions ranging from asthma, pneu- monia and tuberculosis to diabetes, gout, ulcers and cancer.
Dentistry saw its first application of O3 for disin- fection and wound healing from surgical procedures in Switzerland by the early 30’s when Dr. E. A. Fisch, a German dentist, published multiple papers as well as a patent on the first ozone dental machine. In 1968, autohemotherapy was introduced, a novel approach to healing where blood is drawn from a patient, treated with ozone and then reinfused to eliminate disease and improve bodily functions.
During the HIV/AIDS crisis, ozone therapies were successfully employed to treat Kaposi’s Sarcoma and people diagnosed with AIDS. Many countries across the globe allow ozone therapy in the health arena, including Russia, Germany, Brazil, Cuba, Greece, Turkey, Portugal to name only a few. And, with the recent pandemic, patients in both Spain and Italy have been successfully managed with innovative ozone therapy to reverse the symptoms of COVID-19.
While the 20th century witnessed various applica- tions for ozone in the health industry, the ability of this reactive oxygen species to eliminate microbes allowed companies in many different countries to expand the use of ozone into food preservation, algae control, drinking water and even swimming pool and laundromat maintenance. Most of your beverages and their containers have undergone ozone treat- ment. When Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olym- pics, European swimmers would not even compete in
our chlorinated pools until the committee switched to ozone disinfection! Today, over 3,000 municipalities around the world treat water and sewage with ozone.
Let’s remember that the entire purpose of employing ozone for any of the above is because of this molecule’s incredible ability to eradicate bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa—you name the microbe and O3 will take care of it! The only thing for us to figure out is the concentration and time required, but this activated form of oxygen far exceeds anything else we have at our disposal on both speed and safety to accomplish those tasks. As we mentioned earlier, O3 is unstable—it wants desperately to return to a more comfortable double-bond O2 state. Letting go of that 3rd oxygen atom brings about the oxidation process that essentially zaps microbes making our internal and external worlds safer and healthier.
Different mediums can actually be ozonated, and that’s what we’ll explore in the next chapters, in particular as it relates to dentistry. O3 water, air and oils offer incredible benefits, including a much less- expensive and more natural approach toward im- proving and maintaining health.
Before we wrap up our introduction to ozone, I mentioned earlier the word controversy. The skeptic out there might want to know about the Food and Drug Administration involvement and any legal concerns that might exist preventing this form of therapy from being safely employed in the health professions or why the 1st page of any O3 Google search is filled with warnings and scathing reports about “quacks” and the damage ozone at any level can cause to humans.
Without question, exposing the lungs or the eyes to high concentrations of ozone can be extremely irritating. Truth is, if this occurred, you would imme- diately begin coughing and very likely leave the area quickly. A dose of Vitamin C, for example in the form of Emergen-C©, would quickly assist your recovery. Beyond that, nothing further would occur. Proper use of the technology just doesn’t get our patients cough- ing in the first place!
Unfortunately, that’s not what the internet would have you believe, and multiple sites are purposefully selective with their word choice in an effort to dispar- age the overwhelming benefits of such an easily available and inexpensive health remedy.
As for the FDA and any federal regulations, it is clear (and easily researched online) that there are no laws against the use of O3 in the health professions. No mandates exist against supervised applications of ozone beyond explaining to patients the risks, bene- fits and alternatives, such as would be done for a variety of possible treatments delivered by doctors. In 1993 during the Atkins case in New York, the higher court declared that the FDA cannot prevent doctors from offering treatments they deem beneficial for their patients, provided there is adequate informed consent. The FDA is charged with regulating equipment that generates ozone to ensure its proper function, that is their sole concern, not how a trained professional uses the device.