Category Archives for Acidity

Have Healthier Teeth & Gums by Following These 5 Wellness Points!

Wishing for a healthier mouth in 2017? Want to put an end to gum disease, cavities, and other oral health issues? Take control of your own oral health. You can achieve Ultimate Oral Health this year by understanding these 5 Oral Wellness Points.

5 Oral Wellness Points

  1. Bacteria Transfer
  2. Eating Causes Acidity
  3. Saliva is Your Best Friend
  4. The Mouth’s Nightmare
  5. Mouth Health  Body Health

Bacteria Transfer
Mouth bacteria are both good and bad. There are substantially more good ones than bad, but the bad ones cause big problems like cavities and gum disease – so they are not welcome visitors in our mouths. These bacteria – good or bad – do not just stay on teeth, they can travel and reach places like our toothbrush bristles. This is why it is vital to clean your toothbrush as often as possible – ideally every day. Also get a new brush as often as possible, especially if you have cavities or are fighting gum disease.

The great news for families and friends is that when your mouth is healthy – you will be sharing healthy bacteria with the people you love. Early childhood is a time when the mouth bacterial composition is designed, and the input from family is very important in this process. Parents can clean their mouth health and feed good bacteria by consuming small amounts of xylitol at the end of every meal. Baby teeth can also be cleaned with a small amount of xylitol, rubbed or wiped over teeth.

Eating Causes Acidity
Every time we eat we can almost assume that acids are generated in our mouths. There are a few exemptions to this, but most foods contain natural or added sugars, carbohydrates or some form of acid. Organic, healthy foods can be as damaging as processed foods for teeth. Green smoothies often rate as some of the most damaging for teeth since kale and spinach contain oxalic acids which can destroy tooth enamel.

Acidity pulls minerals from teeth and also promotes the growth of unhealthy mouth bacteria. The longer the mouth remains acidic, the more damage is caused. Waiting for an hour before cleaning your teeth is allowing damage for too long each day. Eating a little xylitol mint or piece of pure xylitol gum after every meal, snack or drink will take away mouth acidity and also help to mineralize teeth and repair any defects.

[Read more about acidity and your teeth]

Saliva is Your Best Friend
Today there are a number of expensive “re-mineralizing” pastes and gels sold to repair soft, weak or sensitive teeth. Your own saliva contains the ideal mix of minerals and is far better than these artificial products for this job of mineralizing teeth. The problem is that minerals will only go into teeth when the mouth is at a specific and alkaline pH of around 7.4. Fortunately xylitol generates a flow of alkaline saliva in most mouths to bring it to this pH.

When saliva interacts with the surface of teeth, it will help the teeth to harden and become smoother and stronger. It’s important to give your teeth enough time to interact with saliva. Constant snacking and sipping is detrimental to this process and is the reason many people experience sensitive teeth. Saliva quality varies throughout the day and mid afternoon is the ideal time to stop eating and drinking and allow your teeth time to interact with your own natural saliva.

The Mouth’s Nightmare
The most difficult time for our mouth health is while we are sleeping. The mouth automatically becomes drier and our saliva more acidic – two conditions that wreck havoc on our teeth and gums. This is why it is so important to prepare our teeth before we go to sleep, helping them to overcome the difficulties of the hours while we are asleep. It’s no use thinking that you can clean your teeth in the morning and make up for ignoring them at night: it just doesn’t work that way.

It’s vital to clean and protect your teeth before going to sleep each night. Many products today are too acidic for mouth health, especially all the products made to whiten or control plaque in the mouth. Many toothpastes are equally poorly designed for the care that teeth need during the night.

My Complete Mouth Care System was designed specifically to care for teeth and protect them during the night. In fact, it does its job so well, your teeth may be stronger, shinier and look better in the morning than they did when you went to bed!

[Download my free “how to” guide for my Complete Mouth Care System]

Mouth Health  Body Health
Many studies point to various connections between mouth and body health. Body health also affects mouth health in a number of ways. Diet and good nutrition is vital if you are trying to correct a problem in your mouth, and I often talk with clients about their digestive health and the need to consider a good vitamin and mineral supplement in addition to a good digestive probiotic supplement.

The ideal time to develop mouth health is during the early years of childhood. In many countries xylitol is given to preschool children as xylitol candies during the school day. This has been a public health measure in Finland for about 50 years to prevent cavities, and prepare the mouths of children before the eruption of adult teeth. Healthy adult teeth require less treatment, no sealants and less maintenance care. Healthy teeth and gums will promote better general health and hopefully allow us all to live longer, healthier lives.

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.

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.

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

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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!

Ugh! Your Dentist Says You Have a New Cavity!

Ugh! Your Dentist Says You Have a New Cavity!Decay never targets one tooth. Cavity-forming germs live all over the mouth and even in saliva. If you have recently had a cavity, or been told you have one, it means cavity-forming germs are attacking every surface of every tooth, all day, every day (and particularly at night). These germs do not go away by themselves and worse yet, you can kiss them to others – especially to babies and kids in your family.

The really bad news is that a “filling” does nothing to get rid of these germs. In fact, they will attack the new filling, and probably erode its edges within a couple of years (this is called recurrent caries by your dentist).

Fight Back

If you want to stop a cavity or reverse one, you must do more than brush and floss. You need to:

  1. Eradicate cavity-forming germs
  2. Eat and drink well
  3. Protect your teeth from acidity
  4. Use products that strengthen enamel
  5. Help teeth re-build themselves
  6. Use an oral care system that makes teeth more acid-resistant
  7. Know what may put you at greater risk

1. Eradicate Cavity Germs

The only way to naturally eradicate cavity-forming germs is with xylitol. You only need 1-2 teaspoons a day (in small doses), but you need xylitol at opportune times –when cavity bacteria multiply. Mouth germs flourish after meals or when your mouth is dry or acidic. Xylitol can eradicate 92% of cavity-forming germs in an effective, progressive way.

2. Eat and Drink Well

I focus a lot on the fact that teeth need correct care and protection, but it’s also important to remember diet is important. Try to limit your total intake of sugary foods and drinks. I suggest keeping drinks to meal times as much as possible and avoid sipping on drinks for extended period of time. Select snacks that are tooth friendly, like cheese, nuts, or vegetables. You will feel better on a healthier diet, and some people benefit from additional whole-food vitamin supplements and digestive probiotics for a few months – at least as they begin or change to healthier life habits!

3. Protect Teeth from Acidity

Acidity weakens teeth by dissolving minerals out of them. This process is usually at its peak after eating, snacking, or after drinks that are acidic or contain sugar.  When teeth are sufficiently damaged, they will crumble into holes – known as cavities. The simplest way to protect teeth from acidic damage is to eat Zellies Mints or Gum after every meal, snack, or drink.

4. Use Products that Strengthen Teeth

It is possible to naturally repair a tooth. Minerals are easily eroded out of a tooth, but there is also a way for them to be replaced back again. Re-mineralization is the name for the “putting back of minerals” into a tooth. The sooner you begin to re-mineralize a cavity, the quicker it will reverse. If a cavity is ignored it becomes more difficult to stop, because bacteria travel deeper into the tooth. Xylitol and the correct use of fluoride can strengthen and re-mineralize teeth.

5. Help Teeth Re-build Themselves

Saliva in a healthy mouth is super-saturated with the exact minerals necessary to repair teeth. It’s good to let teeth interact with saliva, but the quality of our saliva varies. Saliva is diluted when you sip liquids and stress, hormones, pregnancy, medications and a variety of health problems affect its mineral content. Saliva is least helpful when we are sleeping at night, and is at its maximum capability to mineralize teeth in the afternoon. Try eating a healthy lunch, followed by some Zellies, and then give your teeth a few hours when you do not eat or drink during the afternoon.

6. Use an Oral Care System that makes Teeth More Acid-Resistant

Certain products can speed up the transfer of minerals from saliva to enamel. Used in a specific way, these products can help the new enamel become stronger and more resistant to acidic damage. We recommend Zellies and the Complete Mouth Care System.

7. Know What May Put You at Greater Risk

Some people have a dry mouth or saliva problems – often damage from radiation, mediations, chemotherapy, or disease. These people have no saliva to protect or repair their teeth. It is crazy to think that in the past doctors recommended people with a dry mouth suck lemon candies – which would be the worst thing for their teeth! Xylitol can greatly help a dry mouth and research shows that eating xylitol mints can reduce the risk of tooth decay by 40%.

Zellies are important for oral health – because they help in so many ways:

  1. Xylitol eliminates cavity-forming bacteria
  2. Xylitol helps protect teeth from acidic damage (especially when used after meals and drinks or when your mouth is dry)
  3. Xylitol helps re-build enamel and works in harmony with fluoride to strengthen and re-mineralize teeth
  4. Xylitol stimulates healthy saliva
  5. Xylitol is protective help for a dry mouth
  6. Xylitol makes it easier to clean teeth by loosening plaque

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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 CoverZellies CMCS Booklet

——

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


Zellies.com – learn more & order your Zellies Xylitol & the Complete Mouth Care System
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!

The Negative Effects of Bleaching Teeth

When something is commonplace, it is assumed to be safe – correct? Many people believe if whitening teeth were bad, someone would step in and stop the sale of bleaching products. The whitening industry has been growing rapidly over the past 10 years and currently generates over $11 billion a year. It is no wonder that we now have a huge turf fight, with dentistry trying to stop non-dentists from whitening teeth in malls and beauty parlors. Both sides are taking their cases to court, with non-dentists claiming that to make whitening a dentist-only treatment is giving dentists the monopoly in this lucrative business. You, my friends, have the teeth that everyone wants to bleach!

It is interesting that both sides claim the risks from bleaching “are minimal”. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry admits there is a problem of sensitivity after bleaching and hold this as one reason it should be a dentist-only treatment. The AACD admit that bleaching a decayed tooth can kill the nerve and Continue reading

3 Things You Need To Know If You Want Healthy Teeth

Brushing and flossing are not enough

I know many people who value their smiles and try to look after their teeth as carefully as possible. The problem is that you can religiously brush and floss, yet end up with ongoing fillings, repairs and other treatments. The blame is usually placed on poor Power Boyhabits, genetics, or defects in teeth themselves. Most people think you cannot stop fillings from aging, that it is impossible to control tartar build up or prevent tooth wear, cavities, gum recession, or periodontal disease. This is simply not true. But the caveat is that only YOU, the patient, have the power to control and prevent the destruction of your teeth and gums.

I interview many patients who have followed traditional advice to brush, floss, avoid sugar and get to their dentist every 6 months.They tell me stories of the ongoing treatments they received, only to end up with false or heavily restored teeth. It may shock you, but dentists cannot control the bad things that happen to your teeth. There is no filling, sealant, or anything in their dental office that can stop the consequences of progressive dental disease. But YOU can!

Dental problems are caused by acidity and dry mouth

Cavities and gum disease don’t “happen” by chance. Teeth do not randomly become weak or cracked. Dental problems are the result of minerals being pulled out of teeth. Often it is acidic bacteria in infected plaque that cause problems, but any acidic condition in the mouth will erode, weaken, and damage teeth. Acidic conditions also foster the growth of harmful acidic-forming plaque and plaque bacteria live everywhere, stuck on teeth but alsoContinue reading

How Sipping & Snacking Are Weakening Your Teeth

Why “To Go” Drinks Damage TeethCoffee cup

A few years ago I visited Paris and discovered, to my surprise, that take-out drinks were not readily available. The French appear to drink coffee seated at a table or the restaurant bar and don’t travel with drinks in hand or in a cup-holder (although Starbucks may initiate change)! If you cannot imagine such inconvenience or if you routinely enjoy portable drinks, read on and see how sipping could affect or damage your teeth.

Even Water!

Any drink (even water) dilutes the mineral-rich saliva that normally moistens your mouth and protects teeth. Dilute saliva has less tooth-healing and tooth-strengthening qualities. In a healthy mouth, undiluted saliva provides minerals that have the potential to reverse the damage that happens during normal eating or drinking. This instant repair process is the mechanism that keeps teeth strong and prevents cavities in a healthy mouth.

Breakdown and Repair – a Natural Process

Many things we eat and dink (even fruits and vegetables) cause minerals to dissolve from teeth, but fortunately we never get the chance to notice this damage, since saliva provides such a great repair system. Teeth soften in acidity (a process called de-mineralization) but minerals from salivaContinue reading

Is Flossing the Best Way to Prevent Dental Disease?

Overview

The dentist’s mantra is to “brush and floss” but is flossing useful or could other protocols keep teeth cleaner and healthier? Flossing has devotees who trust it is the only way to oral health, but where did their emphatic belief originate, and what if they are wrong? We have no science to support flossing (even multiple times a day) as a method of preventing caries. Maybe we will look back in 50 years and laugh at the concept of cleaning teeth with a length of string. Dr. Ellie thinks it is time to lay the flossing parrot to rest, empower patients with new ideas, and help more people enjoy disease-free dental visits!

Ultimate Oral Health

Patients believe dentists know how to prevent cavities, yet many compliant patients end up with cavities and gum disease. Presumably dentists follow their own advice, but it’s no secret that plenty of dental professionals experience recession, caries, root canals and periodontal problems, and need fillings, extractions, bridges or implants. Some argue that people don’t follow directions, but this cannot excuse the damage dentists and hygienists experience.

Perhaps you believe fillings age, enamel thins, and teeth darken naturally, but what if the problem is our method of tooth care? What if brushing and flossing are inadequate to protect teeth against the ravages of life? Cochrane Database shows weak, unreliable evidence that flossing and brushing can reduce plaque at 1-3 months, and no studies indicate effectiveness of flossing and brushing to prevent caries.

Facts

seniors missing teeth

The Surgeon General’s Report in 2001 shows an epidemic of decay in 2 year olds, 70% of teenagers have fillings, and one in two 30 year olds has compromised periodontal health. By age 65 , 178 million Americans are missing teeth and over 35 million Americans are edentulous. The number of partially edentulous is expected to rise to 200 million over the next 15 years.

Patients enjoy dental visits when they feel empowered, but become fearful if they constantly need treatment or loose teeth for reasons they don’t understand. Perhaps it’s time to question the advice we offer patients and ask why, if caries and periodontal disease are preventable, don’t our strategies lead more people to ultimate oral health?

Fixing Damage

Imagine a handyman repairs a floor in your home. Every few years you call him to fix the work he has previously done. With each repair the project becomes more complicated, until eventually he tells you the entire floor must now be replaced. You are grateful for the excellent repairs and pay a substantial charge. Imagine when you discover the water faucet that is responsible for the damage, was never shut off.Continue reading

Q&A with Dr. Ellie: What About Good Bacteria?

Q&A Bubbles
Every month Dr. Ellie Phillips will answer your oral health questions as part of the Ultimate Oral Health Guide.

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Q: I have just started using your system and am blown away by it. I have bought your book for other members of the family! There is just one thing, what happens to the good bacteria, is it wiped out with the bad guys?

– PaulineContinue reading