All posts by Dr. Ellie

Are Cavities About Zip Code?

My book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye, was written when Dr. Richard Carmona was Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Carmona was concerned about the state of oral health in America and he graciously gave my book a glowing testimonial and his personal support. In chapter eight I explain why “community” water fluoridation (adding fluoride to drinking water) is so different from the use of a well-formulated fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse. Some fluoride in oral products can have a beneficial effect on the outside of teeth – but then we spit it out.

Children with good teeth do not need fluoride. Young children are in the most danger from “fluorosis” – something that happens to enamel when fluoride in drinking water is ingested. It can create voids in tooth enamel that are seen as brown or chalky white spots in the enamel. More important is the concern that drinking fluoride can harm a young child’s thyroid. I believe this may be a great risk for young girls, potentially impacting their fertility as adults.

Fluoride cannot prevent cavities, although it can help repair already-damaged teeth. Fluoride is like a “pill” to “fix” but it does nothing to prevent the “illness” of cavities. If you need a “fix” then sodium fluoride appears to be the safest topical fluoride, and a tube of Crest Cavity Protection Paste at WallMart costs $2/ tube for a year’s supply! apply to the damaged tooth and then spit it out!

Cavities are caused by harmful bacteria – and these are easy to eliminate from a baby’s mouth with a few xylitol crystals wiped on erupting teeth daily. Xylitol feeds healthy bacteria in a baby’s, toddler’s or adult’s mouth. Once healthy bacteria gain a foot-hold, they protect teeth from plaque and this will prevent cavities.

Remember these important facts:

1. Cavity “disease” is  a completely preventable bacterial disease.
2. Cavities are not genetic. Harmful bacteria travel from mouth to mouth by kissing and sharing food and utensils.
3. Fluoride has no effect on cavity-causing bacteria and does not prevent unhealthy germs from spreading to friends and family, and potentially building plaque to damage teeth and gums.
4. Fluoride can help rebuild damaged teeth as a “fix” – but fluoride is not a solution for plaque or plaque’s health-damaging effect.
5. Studies show daily xylitol eradicates 98% of plaque from teeth.
6. When baby teeth are “cleaned” with xylitol, healthy bacteria become a barrier – offering long-term protection to erupting teeth.
7. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) self-reports fluoridation as “one of the greatest .. achievements of the 21st Century”. They completely ignore the fears and dangers of fluoride consumption.

Our current US Surgeon General appears to take the ADA’s traditional position on drinking fluoride. Notice when you listen to Dr. Murthy’s video that he never says “fluoride PREVENTS cavities”. The truth is fluoride can only “fix” existing weakness (to reduce the prevalence and severity of cavities – it does nothing to eliminate plaque or prevent infection – which continues). Listen as he infers poor people have worse teeth because of their zip code. Remember thyroid health, fertility effects in girls, and fluoride’s lack of effect on plaque, are never mentioned.

Here is the You Tube Video of US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek H Murthy on water fluoridation:

 

Happy New Year!

In the 1950s people believed the world was about to change. World War II had concluded, antibiotics and other pharmacological wonders had arrived, and improvements in communication were about to bring a life of better health, world harmony and improved prosperity for everyone. Today, a generation later, we look at our senior population – our parents or grandparents – and see an epidemic of chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, dementia and Alzheimers. Many are experiencing a terrible ending to life: so what went wrong?

This is a story about bad information. Our parents were told low-fat and sugarless products were healthy. Artificial chemicals tasting like the “real thing” were used in foods and drinks. So many people, like my parents, believed these products were better than butter or home-grown vegetables. They followed the advice and swallowed toxic substances in foods, drinks and over-the-counter potions, thinking they were miracles to loose weight and live a long life.

For many reasons we must weigh advice from all sources. Today many doctors understand the value of natural food for health, and how the body can build it’s own defense system to fight illness and disease. Dentistry still lags in understanding nutrition for oral health and the value of unfilled, pristine teeth and sustainable oral health. Perhaps our biggest worry should be the link between mouth plaque and chronic disease.

Remember oral health can be protected and improved with xylitol – and consider 2016 a New Year for your teeth and gums!

Please give Zellie’s xylitol products and my Complete Mouth Care System an opportunity to empower you with the gift of healthier teeth – starting today!

Everyone in the Zellie’s Team would like to wish you and our many supporters a Healthy and Happy New Year! Here is a link to our Zellie’s story and our Healthy Teeth Fund. Zellie’s established the Gift of Healthy Teeth fund in 2014 because we believe healthy teeth are a greatly under-appreciated gift.

How Long Do Implants Last?

implantsYou may have been told you need a tooth extracted and your dentist can quickly fix the problem with an “implant”. Before you sign on to this kind of treatment, realize that an extraction, crown, and ongoing maintenance will ultimately cost you thousands of dollars. For this reason be sure to ask your dentist, “how long does an implant last?”

This can be a tough question for your dentist, who doesn’t want to give you false expectations, dissuade you, or loose you to another office. Implants are business, but implants are subject to disease as much as regular teeth. Implants are not permanent solutions if you have plaque. An implant will be infected by the infection that caused your tooth problems in the first place. You must get rid of any mouth infection before an implant – otherwise you will loose this implant and end up with dentures anyway.

Of course implants may be perfect replacements for an accidental injury or if an old tooth breaks in a healthy mouth. Problems happen when implants are put into infected mouths, which in my opinion, is neither ethical or wise.

Before implant treatment, I suggest :
1. Get your mouth healthy with Zellie’s and my Complete Mouth Care System – for at least 8 weeks
2. Take an OralDNA or other test to see if you have gum disease bacteria in your mouth
3. Consider building body health with a mineral-rich diet, probiotics and a good supplement regimen: before and after any surgery (3-6 months).

With a healthy mouth and a strong immune system, your chance of long-term implant success will be radically improved.

Adult Braces – A Threat to Gum Health

Adult bracesThe number of adults wearing braces is growing, and Orthodontists say nearly half of all newly installed braces are for adults – not kids! Often adults want to improve their smile and the makers of braces – knowing this – are ramping up serious marketing to adults. Braces can definitely improve the look of a smile, and today braces are more convenient and may be helpful – but they can be costly ….and the major cost may be your gum health!

Orhthodonists are trained to fit braces – and make no guarantee your teeth will be healthier at the end of treatment. They often have hygienists to help, but the truth is braces are a “risk factor’ for tooth decay and gum disease, and braces can have devastating outcomes for adults who have poor oral health at the start of treatment.

Prevention is so much easier than correcting problems when they have occurred! I suggest anyone considering braces – child or adult – should spend 2- 8 months using Zellie’s and the Complete Mouth Care System before braces are fitted, and stick with the System through the treatment. This system is effective even without flossing. Anyone with braces knows flossing around wires and brackets is impossible.

Adults considering braces should also take a mouth-bacteria test before starting treatment, to discover gum disease (periodontal pathogens) before they begin! Here is a link to find a provider who offers the My Perio Path testing: http://www.oraldna.com/FindDentist.aspx

Prepare to Repair!

It’s frightening to be told you have a disease in your mouth. Even those who brush their teeth and visit the dentist can end up with dental problems. Despite the fact that dentistry is Evidence Based, more specialized, and more available to the public than ever before, dental diseases continues to destroy teeth of children and adults – almost unchecked. 

Modern dentistry is fantastic at repairing damaged teeth and making them look good again, but it’s important to remember that the disease that caused the damage continues and will cause more problems down the road. You must never forget that fixing teeth is not the same as preventing dental infection – the disease that caused damage. Don’t trust the marvels of dentistry to protect you from future problems – because it cannot. This is something you have to do yourself with the help of good nutrition, good oral hygiene, and xylitol!

Most people “trust” their dentist – and want to believe they control cavities and dental disease. People have difficulty thinking a tiny Zellie’s mint or piece of gum can do more to prevent future dental problems than their dentist – with all his or her graduate training and expertise. A few grams of xylitol seems so small and insignificant to fight such big dental problems, like periodontal disease and caries. Even dentists have trouble putting faith in xylitol – until they see the results! 

If you have been diagnosed with dental problems, why not take a step of faith and try including a Zellie’s mint or piece of gum after every meal, snack, or drink, for a few months? Set yourself up to enjoy the benefits of prevention as you wait for your next appointment. Your dentist will do everything dentally possible to fix your teeth, but you will likely discover how much he appreciates your help and the help of Zellie’s mints and gum. 

Please let us know when improvements are witnessed at your next dental appointment and share your story – to help others believe in the power of xylitol! 

The AAOSH Challenge

AAOSH-LogoThe First Annual Oral Health Challenge was held at a recent meeting of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH). The competition was a test of mouth health for dentists, hygienists, physicians and other health professionals at the meeting. The “challenge” measured periodontal pathogens and looked for signs of plaque in arteries and inflammation in the blood. The health professionals taking this challenge place a high value on oral health, because of its impact on general health.

For over 30 years I’ve been a tireless messenger suggesting dentists must be kind to patients and to their mouths! I don’t think we should “kill bacteria” or “destroy biofilm” but instead we should see the bigger picture and work to promote a healthy oral ecosystem. As the mouth impacts our body, so the body impacts our mouth health. For ultimate oral health we must correct issues in the gut – working with patients to improve diet and nutrition, to ultimately strengthen the immune system.

I also believe we need to stop damaging bacteria in the mouth – and work to develop a healthy flora. I use xylitol to protect teeth from acidity with a mint or piece of gum at the end of every meal, drink or snack. I believe it’s essential to seed and nurture good bacteria as harmful ones are weeded away. Xylitol feeds healthy bacteria, and makes plaque slippery – so plaque is easily washed away by rinsing.

Twice-daily I treat my teeth to a rinse routine using traditional, over-the-counter products that allow me to maintain ultimate oral health. I’ve witnessed hundreds of patient success stories with this system – many recorded in my book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye.  The method is simple: mouth rinses in a sequence akin to a skin care regimen that cleanses, pH balances, and protects by using one product directly after another.

A gentle, balanced approach improves mouth health and maintains improvements, raising oral health to a new level  of “sustainable” or “ultimate” oral health. I’d recommend my whole-body, pro-active, and practical approach to anyone. I believe xylitol and the Complete Mouth Care System are effective and can help anyone win their own oral health challenge!

Halloween Advice – With a Grain of Xylitol

Today the Wall Street Journal published Halloween dental advice about preventing cavities. Dr. Ruchi Sahota, the spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, agreed “sugar-free chewing gum” combats harmful bacteria in the mouth and certain studies show xylitol adds minerals to tooth enamel. Then came the “but” ….as Dr. Sahota explains the evidence is not conclusive to show xylitol prevents cavities.

I want patients to be aware of this “cause” argument, because it is often used to muddy scientific waters. There are people who say bad teeth do not “cause” heart attacks, and gum disease does not “cause” dementia etc. They are technically correct because there is only a link. For example, gum disease bacteria produce inflammation that spreads through the body and results in higher risk for heart attack, dementia etc. As you can see, it’s politician-type talk. The words are correct but they give the wrong impression to the listener. I have a problem because it’s not truth – it’s deceptive.

The reason it’s so difficult to prove something is a “cause”of a health problems is because you’d have to create conditions that give some in the study group a heart attack etc. For teeth, we’d have to give one group of test children sugar candies to “cause” cavities and compare with the kids eating xylitol. Of course this would be unethical and scientists know it. The problem is that the public mis-interpret these statements – assuming it means “there is no connection” – which is grossly untrue.

I suggest you take what the ADA says about xylitol with a grain of salt (or xylitol) and although the ADA says “nothing takes the place of your toothbrush to keep your teeth and gums healthy” I’d like to see some causal science to prove that!

Here is a link to another blog article on this subject:
http://ultimateoralhealthguide.com/2013/01/28/xylitol-in-the-news-reading-beyond-the-headlines

Xylitol and the Ugly Sisters

cindarellaAs we think about outfits for Halloween, I’d like to suggest xylitol is the “Cinderella” of dentistry. The beauty of xylitol has been diminished and reviled for decades by her competitors, people and organizations who are fearful you will fall in love at first taste!

Xylitol has been giving her gentle support to diabetics for over 100 years. During World War II xylitol was table sugar in Europe, offering families a little sweetness during troubled times. When children consume xylitol in early life they have less ear infections, less cavities, less sinus and allergy problems and as adults we have less acid reflux, plaque, cavities, and perhaps less sickness and overall disease.

With so many benefits why has xylitol been locked in the attic all these years? Why hasn’t anyone suggested xylitol be introduced to the public? The military have used xylitol for 15 years to keep our troops’ teeth safer – yet most people are unaware xylitol even exists.

Years ago a couple of xylitol’s Ugly Sisters mixed a tiny amount of xylitol with sorbitol in their popular gum and mints. This masquarade product promoted xylitol on the wrapper – but the main ingredient was sorbitol – a stomach-twisting product that cast doubt on the benefits of xylitol.

Finally it’s time for xylitol’s Fairy Godmother (AKA Grandma Zellie) to wave her wand and help xylitol reach the embrace of that handsome Prince – your dentist!

Together we can outsmart those Ugly Sisters who have done all they can to keep Cinderella from going to the ball. They know how beautiful she is – they knew the Prince will fall in love immediately. Let’s give xylitol the chance of a lifetime – and then…….. we can all live happily, ever after!

Our Priorities in Preventing Cavities

Preschool_in_a_CircleWe agree about the need to prevent cavities, but how much more important is it to prevent cavities in children? Perhaps one of the most important groups to target with prevention are children with disabilities – those with compromised health or physical disabilities. Included in this group should be kids who are adopted and or who live in foster care. These children often have special social needs and should not have to endure additional burdens from painful cavities.

About half a million children in America live in foster care and a recent report indicates many of these children do not visit a doctor or dentist regularly. The error of the report is that it equates a lack of visiting to resultant health problems. The conclusion of the report is that health care providers must refer more children for dental and medical care. This will not end their problems – since no dentist in the world can stop dental disease.

Far more important, but less politically correct, is the idea of teaching families who welcome adopted or foster children into their homes, how to prevent cavities with xylitol. If they simply wipe erupting teeth with xylitol granules or eat a few delicious mints or gum each day at the end of meals, they can reduce the incidence of cavities by 98%.

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Turku sugar studies. V. Final report on the effect of sucrose, fructose and xylitol diets on the caries incidence in man. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/795260

Infection in the Dental Office

Dental splatter studyGiven that September is “Dental Infection Control Month”, I’d like to comment on a study that determined eye wear and masks are ineffective for protecting dentists from infection during treatment. Red dye showed how splatter travels from a patient’s mouth to a simulated face, positioned where a dentist or hygienist would sit in the dental office. Dentists drill teeth at high speeds (180,000 rpm to 500,000 rpm) and this generates spray and debris that travels up to 50 mph – particles of filling, tooth, calculus, and harmful pathogenic germs from teeth, saliva and blood. The study, illustrating the inadequacy of dental masks, was funded by inventors of a special debris deflector offering improved protection.

When I read this study, I ask the question, “what about the patient?”. Surely patients are at risk when lying horizontal with an open mouth, open nostrils, vulnerable eyes, and naked skin? What about debris floating in the air for hours after a patient leaves the office? What are the consequence for a child or adult who is next in line after someone with foul oral health? This seems an obvious concern, yet there is almost no other research. Perhaps we need “clean” rooms for examinations of children and those with healthy mouths.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for this!

For now I suggest the following:

1. Schedule a dental appointment as early in the day and week as possible, ideally after a long weekend when the office air will have settled.
2. Avoid Friday afternoon appointments.
3. Boost your immune system with a healthy diet and probiotics for several weeks before an appointment.
4. Adults should use the Complete Mouth Care System immediately before an appointment.
5. Eat Zellie’s as you exit the dental office.