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
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!
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.
Xylitol isn’t just for young people! Many seniors accept dental problems, thinking they simply happen as teeth age.
Xylitol helps to keep teeth young and ageless – by preventing damage caused by plaque, mouth acidity or dry mouth. Xylitol can help protect the oral health of denture wearers– by protecting the mouth and lips from infections like thrush, oral sores or angular cheilitis.
Thousands of studies on xylitol confirm wide-ranging general health benefits for patients with diabetes, hormone imbalance, osteoporosis, cavities, gum disease, ear infections, sinus infections or allergies. Xylitol will help seniors protect themselves from the spread of dental infection that happen when they move from independent living into group or community environments.
Beware the confusion between xylitol and other sweeteners with similar sounding names! Sorbitol is never recommended for oral health yet it is often mixed into products that claim to be made with xylitol. Sorbitol causes gastric discomfort in very small amounts. Studies show that even young children tolerate xylitol well and that introducing it slowly is best –starting with a few grams per day – divided into half -gram or one-gram amounts – ideally enjoyed after meals.
Xylitol gum and mints are familiar to many, but it is also possible to use xylitol effectively in its granular, crystalline form. A few crystals can be eaten directly from a spoon or sprinkled onto fruits as an ending to a meal. Crystals may be dissolved in water to sip during the day or night to help keep gums healthy, and this may be an ideal way for a denture wearer to enjoy some xylitol. Dissolving xylitol in water is not as effective as eating mints or gum if you want a method to strengthen your teeth or protect you from the build up of plaque or calculus .
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
If you want to stop a cavity or reverse one, you must do more than brush and floss. You need to:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
Download our latest guidebooks for Ultimate Oral Health:
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
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