Category Archives for Mouth Care

Interview with Howard Farran: The Benefits of Xylitol

I originally did this interview with Howard Farran back in early January 2017. Reposting for those who may have missed it!

Tooth Brushing Tip

We all know we need to brush our teeth to maintain our healthy pearly whites. But are you brushing properly for optimum gum health?

In this quick 1-minute video, I explain how to maximize your daily brushing for ultimate gum health!

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!

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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!

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.

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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!

Global Dental Health

A number of my friends are dental missionaries and visit countries where problems from dental disease are intense. They see adults with many lost teeth and visible tooth damage that can be overwhelming. These dentists provide emergency extractions and care, but wish they could offer long-term help. Some take toothbrushes while others teach nurses to apply fluoride varnish. Any concept must be simple and sustainable since complicated or costly programs will not continue after the team leaves. All this effort is admirable, but we have a gigantic problem, and need ideas that will work for every community around the globe.

American Teeth

Awful statistics that tell us that here the U.S., there is an epidemic of decay in preschool children and 90% of older adults have decayed, missing, or filled teeth. Of course we usually don’t see these problems because they are masked by skillful dentistry. Imagine if we took off the veneers, crowns, fillings, bridges, implants and dentures. We would be shocked by the horrific damage this progressive disease can cause in sixty years. This is not just a problem for distant countries, but something we must all consider. I believe 5 simple steps can help children grow up cavity free, anywhere on the globe.

No More Cavities

This preventive strategy is split into 3 categories. Each will make a difference, but when used in harmony will give greater results.  The concept is to prevent initial transmission of infection, promote healthy bacteria to protect teeth, and apply topical fluoride to strengthen new erupting adult teeth.

Prevent transmission:

1) Prevent mother-child transfer of cavity bacteria

2) Limit infection from toothbrushes or promote other methods of care

Promote healthy bacteria with xylitol:

3) As teeth erupt

4) During preschool years

Apply fluoride varnish:

5) On erupting permanent molars

 

1. Prevent Mother-Child Transfer of Cavity Bacteria

Regular use of xylitol reduces harmful bacteria and cultivates healthier ones in the mouth. Mothers are usually the carriers of dental infection that transfers from their mouth to their baby’s teeth. Studies show that mothers who consume 5 grams of xylitol daily, during the first years of their baby’s life (as baby teeth erupt) will reduce the chance of decay in their child’s teeth by 80%.

2. Limit infection from toothbrushes by promoting other methods of care

Toothbrushes are infected by a single use, and dirty toothbrushes spread infection. Brushing adult teeth can improve gum health, but not if brushes are infected. Let’s promote brush hygiene and, when appropriate, consider locally available tools, like chew sticks. The Miswak is recognized in many parts of the world as an effective tooth-cleaning device. This chew stick contains fluoride, silica, and resins to help teeth. A chew stick can massage gums and be discarded, or the end of the stick cut off to prevent re-infection at the next use.

3. Promote healthy bacteria as teeth erupt – with xylitol

A pound of xylitol is relatively inexpensive and these granules can be dissolved in water to wipe on erupting baby teeth. Studies show this can lower decay by 90%. This form of prevention is most effective before baby molars erupt (at 18 months). Xylitol promotes good bacteria in molar grooves, where they become reservoirs of bacteria to dominate the mouth. Children with healthy baby molars are more likely to have healthy adult molars.

4. Promote healthy bacteria during preschool years – with xylitol

Regular use of xylitol will help promote healthy bacteria in a child’s mouth. As children eat xylitol candies, like Zellie’s Polar Bears, they ensure their mouths have healthy bacteria before adult teeth erupt during Kindergarten years.

5. Apply fluoride varnish on erupting permanent molars 

Fluoride is last on this list because it has no power to adjust or promote healthy bacteria. Topical fluoride can, however, help strengthen enamel. Even healthy adult molars are soft as they erupt, and at risk for cavities. To give protection, a coat of fluoride varnish will encourage minerals to harden new molar teeth.

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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!

Oil Pulling – What the Science Says

Oil Pulling is sometimes called oil gargling and it is an old Ayurvedic method of cleaning the mouth that is said to have originated in India some 2,000 years ago. Currently there is excitement about oil pulling in online articles and blogs, and if you have bad breath or gum disease, oil pulling may be worth considering. This may also be useful if you suffer from chronic illness, asthma, arthritis or fatigue.

How to Oil PullOil Pulling

Sunflower, sesame or coconut oils are the oils most often used, and a small spoonful is swished around in the mouth for 15-20 minutes. Proponents suggest you do this first thing in the morning before eating, and then spit out the milky white liquid – being sure not to swallow it (since it is said to be full of bacteria and toxins). Be careful where you spit out the oil so that the liquid does not go down a drain or onto vegetation, since it will kill grass and flowers. After spitting, rinse your mouth with warm water and then brush your teeth. In essence oil pulling may “pull” disease bacteria away from gum pockets and from around teeth, thus reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth and the toxic burden they create, so eventually less toxins are absorbed by the body. Oil pulling may help improve mouth health for some people, but others should be cautious, since oil pulling can make certain mouth problems worse.

Oil Pulling – Scientific Studies

A review of the science on oil pulling shows most of the studies are from India and they compare the effectiveness of oil pulling with aggressive mouthwashes like chlorhexidine. These studies show oil pulling may be useful for gingivitis, bad breath and dry mouth, but there are no studies to show it is useful for tooth decay. There are many testimonials from people who say they have experienced healthier gums and fresher breath from using this method of mouth cleaning, and no reports of harm. Some researchers claim saliva interacts with fatty acids in the oils to activate detoxifying enzymes in saliva. Others suggest the oil emulsifies bacteria and loosens them from teeth, cleaning away any fungi at the same time. The most probable explanation is that certain oils contain lignans, which are compounds that have antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. Sesame oil has three lignans (sesamin, sesamolin and sesaminol) and contains high amounts of vitamin E, which could also contribute to the successes.

Oil Pulling Recommendations

To date there is not much science supporting oil pulling because the studies were too small, too short, or incomplete. This does not mean oil pulling is not useful, but be aware it does not appear to control cavities and is not recommended for very young children, especially those with early childhood caries (ECC). In addition anyone with gum recession or sensitivity should approach oil pulling with caution, since this technique may damage biofilm and pellicle proteins, essential components of a healthy mouth that govern mineralization and support gum health. For this reason oil pulling should probably be a short-term or periodic adjunct to oral care, recommended mainly for people fighting periodontal disease.



An Update on Oral Pulling

I wrote the above post just about 3 years ago. Since then there are more people trying oil pulling and some are finding their teeth become very sensitive and they experience gum recession. Watch the video below for my update:

 

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Want to learn what I believe are the 3 most important things to know in order to transform your oral health? Click Here

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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!

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!

Q&A with Dr. Ellie: Looking for Data

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:

Hello Dr. Phillips,

I’ve purchased the parts to your Complete Mouth Care System and have presented the program to my husband.  He is interested in what type of data you have assembled to support the use of your system.  Do you have actual data – control and experimental groups, etc?  

Sincerely, S.C

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A:

Hi S. C,

The answer to your question is in my book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye. In the book I describe how I became interested in finding a way to control dental disease. The book describes the science of cavities and gum disease and explains why people have dental problems. Cavities and gum disease don’t suddenly or mysteriously “happen”. It’s not natural for teeth to weaken, darken, die, or fall out. There are specific risk factors that make it more likely for people to develop cavities or gum disease, and there are ways to minimize, stop, and even reverse this damage, before it ruins your oral health.

Once you understand how risk factors impact teeth, you understand why the biochemistry of my system works. I discovered the effectiveness of this routine inContinue reading

Q&A with Dr. Ellie: Oil Pulling vs. Fluoride Rinse

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:

Hello Dr. Ellie, 

I recently found your book. I have suffered a recent decline in my dental health – which I believe corresponds to a battle with sinus infections over the same span of years. 

My dentist no longer knew how to care for my cavity-ridden mouth. I am now under the care of a holistic dentist. She does not promote the use of fluoride at all and has prescribed that I use a hydroflosser. She also recommends daily oil pulling with sesame oil. And, of course, nutrition. However, much of her nutritional plan has me eliminating many foods – including most fruits and all sugary foods – from my diet. In the short-term, for my own physical wellness, this restrictive treatment may be best, but I wonder about the long-term. 

As the patient, it seems there is so much conflicting information that abounds – for doctors and patients alike! I am now taking a very active role in my treatments and ultimately I will make the decision as to which treatment plan is best. Then again, it may be a system of trial and error in the coming months and years as I rebuild my health (of my body and my mouth).

I hope that you take the time to reply to my inquiries about fluoride vs. oil pulling. I’m already being treated for periodontal disease and on track to get many crowns (or onlays), especially in my rear teeth, plus fillings at the gum line. I currently use the non-fluoride toothpaste and a Sonicare toothbrush. 

Thank you for your book and the information and for time.

Warm regards,

Elizabeth

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Say Goodbye to Bad Breath!

Bad Breath Problems

Bad breath can silently damage a career, especially if your work puts you in close contact with the public, other employees, or your boss. Bad breath can also be the kiss of death to a romantic relationship, but who is going to tell you?

Bad breath may be an embarrassing and damaging inconvenience, but it is really a signal that you have an unhealthy mouth and potentially other health issues. Dental books state that 20 % of the population suffers from bad breath “halitosis” and that this should not be confused with coffee breath or smells from garlic-laden foods.

Halitosis odor comes from a group of smelly bacteria that grow on the back and top part of your tongue. Today there are devices to sample a patient’s breath with a chemical sensor or a syringe that captures air from inside the mouth.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Most people accept “morning breath” as a normal condition, but it is totally avoidable. During the night, we have less saliva, which leaves the mouth easily colonized (taken over) by harmful bacteria. Smoking, medications, and sleeping with your mouth open, can make your mouth drier, and acid reflux promotes very damaging conditions. It is essential to prepare your mouth last thing at night, to lessen the danger while you sleep. Eating or drinking in bed is inviting a problem, and if you need medications – try to take them before cleaning your teeth at night.

Continue reading