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.

Xylitol for Seniors: Keeping Teeth Young and Ageless

iStock_000019825373LargeXylitol 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 .

Granular Xylitol – the Perfect Sugar Alternative

Looking for a healthy sugar alternative for sweetening your beverages or for baking? Granular xylitol is the perfect solution! Granular xylitol has a low-glycemic index (7.0) and has 40% less calories and 75% fewer carbohydrates than sugar.

Granular xylitol is also a simple and easy way to care for teeth, especially for those who can’t use xylitol mints or gum.

In this short 3-minute video, Dr. Ellie explains why she loves granular xylitol for general health and more specifically for healthier teeth!

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!

——

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!

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.

——

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

——

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!

Dr. Ellie’s Upcoming Seminars – in TX and CA

Natural Solutions for Healing and Preventing Gum Disease and Cavities

Join us for upcoming presentations that will empower you to take control of your oral health
Dr. Ellie wil describe proven ways to stop, prevent, and reverse cavities and gum disease

Topics will include:Dr. Ellie Phillips

  • Cavities and Dental Disease: Why they occur and how to stop them. Cavities, filings, gum recession, lost teeth, root canals, periodontal disease, and implants can all easily be prevented!
  • Treatments and Preventive Strategies: Use of xylitol, diet, supplements, and methods to control, balance, and sustain oral health at all ages.
  • Myths and Truths: Facts about what really causes oral health problems and what actually works to prevent and stop the disease.
  • Q & A Session: Ask Dr. Ellie your specific oral health questions and concerns.

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**Seminars to be held in Austin, TX and Auburn, CA in October 2013!

See RSVP details below**

Monday, October 14th, 2013 in Auburn, CA: Learn more and RSVP HERE
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 in Austin, TX:
Learn more and RSVP HERE