Periodontal Home Care: Dr. Katayama’s Holistic Approach to Gum Diseases

Nobo Komagata
April 24, 2017; Minor correction/revision: December 4, 2017

»»» Dedicated to Dr. Tsuneo Katayama (1910 – 2006) «««


One of the most common reasons for adults to lose teeth is gum diseases. In fact, the majority of adults must have experienced some forms of gum diseases. To deal with the condition, a motivated patient would see a periodontist regularly, e.g., every three months.

However, seeing dental professionals may not really solve the problem because the most important and essential part of dealing with gum diseases is home care. There are several problems associated with this. First, dental professionals do not have a very effective means to monitor and enforce proper home care. Second, beyond the basic dental home care, very little information, esp. for patients, is available about specifically how to deal with periodontal conditions. As a result, a huge number of periodontal patients seem to be losing the game.

Although virtually unknown outside Japan, there is an extremely effective approach to periodontal home care. This approach was developed by Dr. Tsuneo Katayama (1910 – 2006), a Japanese periodontist with over fifty years of clinical and research experience. The “Katayama method” is complex and time-consuming, esp. at the beginning. Although I cannot claim that I was able to practice this method pefectly, I can surely attest the effectiveness of the method. Through nearly thirty years of following the method, I no longer fear gum diseases at all. I could even say that I am practically “healed.” Now, I am eternally grateful to Dr. Katayama for sharing his method in his book (Katayama, 1990; the method was also introduced earlier in Asahi Shinbun-sha, 1987). In return, I am trying to share the basics of the Katayma method and my experience in this essay, which is dedicated to Dr. Katayama.

While the Katayama method emphasizes all aspects of gum disease care including toothbrushing, nutrition, and professional care, this essay focuses on the brushing aspect. For the nutritional aspect, there are some other books with useful information, including one by Weston Price (1939). It is dated but contains a lot of still valuable information. With respect to professional care, unfortunately, it would be almost impossible to find outside Japan a periodontist/dentist who is aware of the Katayama method. So, we, the patients, must proceed as such. I hope that the situation will change some day.

Note: The rest of the document can be read at and is also available in the PDF format:

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