All posts by Dr. Ellie

Fill the Chair – Fill your Wallet

Fill the Cavities. We'll Help Fill Your Chair.This screen shot and title is from an early morning email that I opened today. It’s emails like this that make me sick to my stomach. Any patient would be disgusted to imagine such a thought could enter the mind of a health professional. Could teeth possibly be viewed as a source of revenue?

Of course most dentists do not think this way – but unnecessary treatment is potentially harmful to mouth and body health. This is why everyone should be empowered and know the questions to ask, and warning signals – to avoid becoming a sitting target in the dental chair.

In 2007 a fun and friendly dentist, Dr. Fred Quarnstrom DDS, published a book called “Open Wider – Your Wallet, Not Your Mouth”. This is a consumers guide to dentistry. Fred claims this is everything you need to know for a visit to the dentist, and he dedicated the book to all the great dentists who treat patients fairly – with skill and dedication. Fred explains that not everyone is in good hands and he asks the question “who is looking out for patients?”.

Many dentists ostracized Fred for his book. I love Fred for having the guts to stand up for patients. We currently don’t have any dental organization for this kind of dentist, no group for those of us against water fluoridation, or dentists who advocate xylitol and the reversal of cavities and gum disease in the comfort of your own home. There certainly are dentists across the world who DO care about you and your families – and my next task is to try and help you find them.

My advice is begin now to help yourself using Zellie’s and the Complete Mouth Care System – to get your mouth in the best possible shape before your next visit. Then let’s try to find you a caring dentist who treats patients fairly – and one who genuinely celebrates your gaol – to enjoy Ultimate Oral Health!

Stress and Teeth

stress and teethLife is stressful – and stress can cause symptoms like migraines, digestive issues, and many kinds of aches and pains. Stress can also cause teeth and gums to experience symptoms that include:

  • Enamel loss (erosion)
  • Tooth wear (abrasion)
  • Bite problems with sensitivity at the gum line (abfraction)
  • Sensitivity
  • Darkening tooth color
  • Cavities

Fight or Flight

Stress has an effect on our nervous system and produces a “fight or flight” response. These changes are useful for a short burst of strength and energy, but if the response is prolonged it can damage general and oral health.
This fear response alters the circulatory and nervous systems. Blood is shunted to heart and limb muscles, giving them improved efficiently to help us run from danger. Less useful parts of the body – like the digestive tract – get less blood and function less efficiently. Less minerals are absorbed into the blood from the digestive system, and less blood and minerals reach saliva-producing glands.

Oral Health Problems

Stress results is less saliva and saliva with less minerals, which is consequently more acidic. Teeth lose their normal saliva protection and their ability to repair and re-mineralize. Teeth can even be damaged by the acidic saliva as it sucks minerals from enamel, causing additional weakness and porosity.
Lack of protection leaves teeth to dissolve in acidic drinks or acid reflux (erosion). Teeth can wear away during toothbrushing or if a patient grinds their teeth (abrasion). Fragments of weak enamel can fracture at the gum line leaving a sensitive groove (abfraction).

What Can You Do?

All these problems stem from acidic saliva and the loss of normal tooth protection. Don’t try to “fix” the symptoms of sensitivity, weakness or erosion with a sensitive toothpaste or a plastic bite guard! First consider any reasons for chronic stress and check your diet, consider supplements, digestive probiotics, and how to calm your body and improve digestive health.

Tips for Protecting Teeth

1. Use xylitol mints and gum throughout the day to protect teeth from acidic damage.
2. Consider Zellie’s and my Complete Mouth Care System to strengthen enamel and reverse problems of sensitivity, porosity, and cavities, by naturally re-mineralizing enamel.

An Ounce of Prevention!

measuring spoonsRecent studies suggest an ounce of milled flaxseed in our daily diet for six months can be beneficial to health. Flaxseed has high levels of Omega-3s and studies show it reduces blood pressure, especially for patients with hypertension. It also appears flax seed can neutralize age-associated inflammation in the body. Hard to believe, but maybe an ounce of flaxseed could save your life!

It’s equally difficult to imagine half an ounce (0.3 oz to be exact) of xylitol for six months can eliminate plaque on teeth, prevent the transmission of cavity-bacteria from one generation to the next, and stop gum disease and cavities. These problems seem too big and the solution too small and easy!

The most effective time to enjoy xylitol is immediately after meals to prevent the damage that normally happens after eating or drinking. Acidity from eating grows plaque and damages teeth. Xylitol instantly makes the mouth alkaline, makes plaque less sticky, and helps strengthen teeth.

Xylitol provides a simple option for a huge health problem. Why not use xylitol for 6 months and see how it works for you and your family?

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Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive Patients
http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/62/6/1081.full

Dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure in dyslipidaemic patients
http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v61/n10/abs/1602631a.html

Mutans Streptococci Dose Response to Xylitol Chewing Gum
http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/85/2/177.short

 

The ADA’s Message vs. Xylitol

Most dentists belong to the American Dental Association (ADA), an organization that co-ordinates and advertises dentistry. The ADA works with insurance companies to get as many men, women and children as possible to visit dental offices regularly. The ADA promotes the idea that we must brush, floss and visit the dentist every 6 months. This idea seems to make sense, but let’s look at the results?

Three-quarters of teens in the US have fillings or cavities, and today we have a nation-wide epidemic of decay in preschool children. 50% of thirty-year-olds have gum disease, and things don’t get better for adults -even those who visit the dentist and brush and floss regularly. The ADA supports the premise that dentists fix teeth when problems happen. A dentist cannot prevent cavities any more than a doctor can stop a sore throat!

Cavities are a bacterial infection and the easiest way to stop cavities is to eat a little xylitol each day. Cavity bacteria grow and multiply at the end of meals – when they feed on sugars in our foods and drinks. Cavity bacteria produce acids that destroy teeth – in addition to acids that may be in foods themselves.

Xylitol at the end of meals will protect teeth from acidity and protect teeth from harmful cavity-bacteria. One to two grams of xylitol five times a day, preferably at the end of meals or drinks, can reduce plaque by 98% at the end of six months. Why not try this and impress your dentist at your next office visit!

When to Use Xylitol

I’ve been wanting to make educational videos for a long time, but for various reasons it has been a difficult task. However, I think I’ve finally conquered the hurdles and I hope to share with you a series of videos to go along with my blog posts. The topics will be varied, and I’d love to hear your ideas for video topics (please post in the comments below).

As you know, I LOVE xylitol! I started my company Zellie’s because of how much I love xylitol. Xylitol is great for so many reasons, but for improved oral health, there are specific times when you want to be eating it. In this short video, I list 3 of the ways xylitol can help improve oral health and when it is the ideal time to use xylitol for healthier teeth.

Success Story: User Review of the Complete Mouth Care System

Fun to read Alice Bradley’s blog post “HELP FOR THE HOPELESS (MOUTH)” about her experience with my Complete Mouth Care System.

Yes – it IS possible to enjoy dental visits!

Read Alice’s fun post here: http://finslippy.squarespace.com/blog/help-for-the-hopeless-mouth.html

Tooth Truth about Cranberry Juice and Green Tea

Are Cranberry Juice and Green Tea good for Teeth?

Green tea

At the end of this post you will find some research and a list of benefits attributed to cranberry juice and green tea. It’s easy to imagine drinking cranberry juice or green tea will be good for oral health, but before you begin, consider the effect of beverages (healthy or unhealthy) on saliva and its ability to repair and strengthen teeth.

Saliva Repairs Teeth

Strong teeth are packed with minerals, but these minerals leach out as we eat or drink. Fortunately saliva protects teeth from weakness, because it has the ability to immediately replace any minerals that have been drawn out from the enamel. Saliva is a super-concentrated solution of the minerals needed to rebuild teeth. These minerals diffuse into the tooth as soon as they reach its surface and travel through to repair any weak areas. This process takes about 20-30 minutes to complete, and it can only occur in alkaline conditions and where there is an adequate flow of healthy saliva (which is why acidic and dry mouths are problematic for oral health).

Sipping Beverages

Sipping beverages causes disruption of this natural healing process and this is why drinks (especially acidic ones) are a problem for teeth. Before saliva has been given time to replace minerals lost from the first sip, another attack causes additional damage. Even water dilutes saliva and interferes with this natural repair process, no matter the pH of the water or it’s mineral content (since it cannot duplicate the super-saturated minerals in saliva). For oral health, keep drinks to meal times and give your teeth time to interact with saliva as often as possible – especially in the afternoon, when it’s at premium quality.

Biofilm is your Friend

When you read the attributes of green tea and cranberries, it’s important to know the difference between healthy and infected biofilms. Healthy biofilm is a covering that naturally protects tooth enamel from abrasion, chemical, and thermal damage. Mouth conditions influence the kind of bacteria in biofilm, and acidic conditions promote acid-loving bacteria like Strep.mutans. Infection by Strep. mutans grows biofilm into a thick layer known as plaque, and this acid-producing film is responsible for gum and tooth damage.  For mouth health we need to promote a healthy biofilm, not work to eradicate it. Perhaps the best way is to keep acidic foods and drinks (including healthy juices and teas) to meal times, and finish each meal or snack with xylitol to alkalize the mouth. This habit prevents exposure to acidity and promotes a healthy biofilm. Xylitol feeds healthy probiotic bacteria, encourages a flow of saliva, and makes harmful plaque slippery and less acidic.

Now Read the Studies

When you read the studies, you will see that cranberry juice and green tea can help remove biofilm. This may help reduce the burden in an infected mouth, but it does not translate into oral health. Cranberries may have uses, but not as a cranberry rinse, where its acidity could cause serious erosion. Remember teeth devoid of biofilm can be sensitive, weak, and experience recession and cavities. In the green tea studies you may read of a large group of men who had benefits from drinking green tea. It would be interesting to know if women experience the same results, or do they develop sensitivity and recession? My hunch is there are differences in saliva quality and we need to give more gender-specific recommendations.

So enjoy cranberries and green tea, but try to keep drinks to mealtimes whenever possible, and always protect teeth with Zellie’s mints and gum!

Cranberries (some general facts)

  • Cranberries are rich in antioxidants particularly proanthocyanidins, which is the compound that gives them a red color.
  • Cranberry pigments can inhibit biofilm and have been reported to have antimicrobial, anti-adhesion, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cranberry juice is often sweetened with other juices as a juice cocktail

Cranberries (some study facts)

Green tea: (some general facts)

  • Contains natural chemicals believed to offer health benefits, and has the highest concentration of catechins found in any natural food.
  • Provides a source of antioxidants (including epigallocatechin 3 gallate- known as EGCG), which may help fight inflammation, especially the kind produced by cigarette smoking.
  • Has a number of useful enzymes, amino acids, lipids, sterols, and minerals.
  • Differs from other black teas because its leaves are minimally oxidized
  • Quality varies dramatically with growing conditions and its beneficial phyto-chemicals are also affected by these factors.
  • Should not be brewed with boiling water, since high temperatures disable catechins, and 160-degree water is suggested.
  • Adding lemon may make the health compounds easier to absorb
  • Although some say that dairy should not be added, it appears that any protein-catechin complexes are re-activated during digestion, so this is disproven.
  • Green teas (particularly powdered green tea) can be a source of considerable fluoride. Here are three links to explore this subject:

o   http://fluoridealert.org/studies/tea02

o   http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/02/09/fluoride-tea.aspx

o   http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA22857

Green tea: (some study facts)

  • Most studies have been on animals, which is why reports state its benefits are unproven.
  • A 2008 study in the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry suggests to avoid tooth erosion people should drink brewed tea. The study compared teas with juice and soda, and concluded there was less enamel loss with tea.
  • Green tea may help remove biofilm from teeth and may be associated with decreased odds for tooth loss. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22226360
  • A 2009 a study in the Journal of Periodontology examined 940 males, aged 49-59 and found less gum disease in men who drank green tea, and the benefits increased with the amount of tea consumed. http://www.perio.org/consumer/green-tea

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Want to learn more about oral health? Click here to sign-up for our monthly e-guide!

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Download our latest guidebooks for Ultimate Oral Health:

Zellies Xylitol Booklet Cover     Zellies CMCS Booklet

——

For more information on oral health and xylitol, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites:


Zellies.com – learn more & order Zellies Xylitol Mints, Gum and Candies
Dr. Ellie.com – a great resource for learning more about oral health & Dr. Ellie
Dr. E Oral Health Coaching – articles, resources and videos to help you learn more

Join the conversation online on the Zellies Facebook page!

Baking Soda – The Craze

baking-soda-2Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) is a handy cleaning product that is mildly abrasive in solution and is excellent for dissolving grease and molds. It can also be used as a powder to absorb musty odors. For these reasons, baking soda is great in the laundry or for cleaning the refrigerator and the powder can take bad smells from musty old books. It’s easy to be a fan of such a versatile product but be cautious before you join the craze to use baking soda on your gums and teeth. The ADA seems blissful in their recent relationship with Arm and Hammer, running ads for home and professional toothpastes in every journal – but is everyone happy with results from baking soda products?

The History

When gum disease was first recognized as a dental problem, the suggested treatment was to cut the gums and reduce the depth of pockets around teeth. Dentists did not know this was an infection but believed poor brushing was the cause. They cut the gums to less than 4 mm (the length of a toothbrush bristle) assuming the toothbrush would now reach the bottom of the pocket. In the 1970s there was uproar when someone suggested a different approach and that bacteria were to blame for gum pockets.

Keyes Technique

In 1978 a dentist called Paul Keyes, working at the National Institute of Dental Research, caused this controversy when he used a special microscope to diagnose periodontal disease, identifying germs in gum pockets and suggesting the revolutionary idea of “non-surgical” treatment. Dr. Keyes used a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, followed by systemic antibiotics. Even Keyes describes sensitivity following his treatment and suggested fluoride may help.

Emergency Mixture

A mixture of baking soda and peroxide had been used fifty years previously to treat ANUG, an ulcerative gum infection in the teeth of veterans living in the trenches of WWI. This mixture appeared to kill aggressive spirochete bacteria, allowing the gums to heal. Obviously baking soda may be a useful emergency treatment, but beware if you have sensitivity, enamel erosion, or gum recession after using it. Also be aware peroxide can release mercury from silver fillings, and both products may cause the edges of fillings to deteriorate.

What’s the Risk?

Over many years as a clinician I noticed baking soda connected with sensitivity, erosion, and gum recession – particularly in women with poor saliva or on mouth-drying medications. My hypothesis is that baking soda may damage the protein layer that protects teeth and gums from mechanical, thermal, and chemical assault. This layer is also important for attracting minerals to teeth, so its loss would cause sensitivity. I never recommend “sensitive” toothpastes because they are a panacea and not a solution, and I often wonder if there is some link between baking soda and the makers of these toothpastes!

Whitening Teeth

For a clean mouth I’d suggest you explore my Complete Mouth Care System and cultivate protective mouth conditions. I recommend patients use digestive probiotics because I believe it is impossible to enjoy mouth health without a healthy digestion. Oral probiotics may seem a good idea, but many contain artificial sweeteners like Splenda, that can damage gut health and even promote acid reflux. If you want an oral probiotic, I recommend Garden of Life Probiotic Smile lozenges, which contain strains of Streptococcus uberis KJ2, S.oralis KJ3 and S.rattus JH145, plus xylitol to feed probiotic bacteria. This product claims to safely whiten teeth because these probiotics produce a kind of hydrogen peroxide that comfortably and naturally whitens teeth, without the harsh and damaging chemicals found in other whitening products.

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Want to learn more about oral health? Click here to sign-up for our monthly e-guide!

——

Download our latest guidebooks for Ultimate Oral Health:

Zellies Xylitol Booklet Cover     Zellies CMCS Booklet

——

For more information on oral health and xylitol, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites:


Zellies.com – learn more & order Zellies Xylitol Mints, Gum and Candies
Dr. Ellie.com – a great resource for learning more about oral health & Dr. Ellie
Dr. E Oral Health Coaching – articles, resources and videos to help you learn more

Join the conversation online on the Zellies Facebook page!

Do You Have Periodontal Disease?

Statistics show that adults in the United States have more periodontal disease than was previously thought. About 50% of young adults 30 years old have some level of gum disease and are unaware of it, mainly because the condition is painless and usually does not cause bleeding or swelling.

Ask Your Dentist

gum_disease_illustrationPeriodontal disease is serious and you must act quickly if you have this condition in your gums because the inflammation and germs can damage body health. Ask your dentist or hygienist at annual visits if they notice any signs of this disease and if they are unsure, there is a test called My Perio Path that detects periodontal bacteria in the mouth.

Periodontal Treatment – Options

Your dentist may prescribe deep cleanings, laser treatments, gum grafting or antibiotics for periodontal disease. Before you start these serious and expensive treatments, you may want to try my 2 simple steps for periodontal disease, even before your treatments begin.  8 -10 weeks on my program can offer amazing improvement in gum health, and many people have discovered they no longer needed treatments.  Remember this is a transmissible disease and others in your household may need the same regimen.

Here are my 2 simple steps for healing Periodontal Disease:

1)   Develop a healthy mouth ecosystem

  1. Take xylitol at least 5 times a day – best after meals and drinks
  2. Use the Complete Mouth Care System

2)   Stimulate gum healing

  1. Massaging your gums twice daily with a clean toothbrush (read more about gum massage below)
  2. Focus on good nutrition (maybe with vitamin supplements and 30-60 days of digestive probiotics)

Gum Massage: Stimulate the circulation in your gums with a clean toothbrush and move the brush (positioned high on the gums) around every area of your mouth, on the inside and outside gums. If you have always used a soft brush – you may actually be more successful with a small medium brush softened in warm water. Our soft Mouth Watchers toothbrush can also give your gums a stimulating massage to help to heal them. When circulation flows in the gums, the blood delivers nutrients and cells to the area, to help heal gums from the inside out.

——

Want to learn more about oral health? Click here to sign-up for our monthly e-guide!

——

Download our latest guidebooks for Ultimate Oral Health:

Zellies Xylitol Booklet Cover     Zellies CMCS Booklet

——

For more information on oral health and xylitol, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites:


Zellies.com – learn more & order Zellies Xylitol Mints, Gum and Candies
Dr. Ellie.com – a great resource for learning more about oral health & Dr. Ellie
Dr. E Oral Health Coaching – articles, resources and videos to help you learn more

Join the conversation online on the Zellies Facebook page!

What a Neat System!

We just received this photo from a follower of Dr. Ellie’s Complete Mouth Care System. Look how great these containers work for the rinses! Makes it easy for the whole family to use.

Complete Mouth Care System_user dispensing set up