Our oral health is at risk every time we travel. In this short video, I offer strategies that can help you to protect your teeth and gums while you travel.
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
- Bacteria Transfer
- Eating Causes Acidity
- Saliva is Your Best Friend
- The Mouth’s Nightmare
- Mouth Health Body Health
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.
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 .
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!
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!
My book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye, was written when Dr. Richard Carmona was Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Carmona was concerned about the state of oral health in America and he graciously gave my book a glowing testimonial and his personal support. In chapter eight I explain why “community” water fluoridation (adding fluoride to drinking water) is so different from the use of a well-formulated fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse. Some fluoride in oral products can have a beneficial effect on the outside of teeth – but then we spit it out.
Children with good teeth do not need fluoride. Young children are in the most danger from “fluorosis” – something that happens to enamel when fluoride in drinking water is ingested. It can create voids in tooth enamel that are seen as brown or chalky white spots in the enamel. More important is the concern that drinking fluoride can harm a young child’s thyroid. I believe this may be a great risk for young girls, potentially impacting their fertility as adults.
Fluoride cannot prevent cavities, although it can help repair already-damaged teeth. Fluoride is like a “pill” to “fix” but it does nothing to prevent the “illness” of cavities. If you need a “fix” then sodium fluoride appears to be the safest topical fluoride, and a tube of Crest Cavity Protection Paste at WallMart costs $2/ tube for a year’s supply! apply to the damaged tooth and then spit it out!
Cavities are caused by harmful bacteria – and these are easy to eliminate from a baby’s mouth with a few xylitol crystals wiped on erupting teeth daily. Xylitol feeds healthy bacteria in a baby’s, toddler’s or adult’s mouth. Once healthy bacteria gain a foot-hold, they protect teeth from plaque and this will prevent cavities.
Remember these important facts:
1. Cavity “disease” is a completely preventable bacterial disease.
2. Cavities are not genetic. Harmful bacteria travel from mouth to mouth by kissing and sharing food and utensils.
3. Fluoride has no effect on cavity-causing bacteria and does not prevent unhealthy germs from spreading to friends and family, and potentially building plaque to damage teeth and gums.
4. Fluoride can help rebuild damaged teeth as a “fix” – but fluoride is not a solution for plaque or plaque’s health-damaging effect.
5. Studies show daily xylitol eradicates 98% of plaque from teeth.
6. When baby teeth are “cleaned” with xylitol, healthy bacteria become a barrier – offering long-term protection to erupting teeth.
7. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) self-reports fluoridation as “one of the greatest .. achievements of the 21st Century”. They completely ignore the fears and dangers of fluoride consumption.
Our current US Surgeon General appears to take the ADA’s traditional position on drinking fluoride. Notice when you listen to Dr. Murthy’s video that he never says “fluoride PREVENTS cavities”. The truth is fluoride can only “fix” existing weakness (to reduce the prevalence and severity of cavities – it does nothing to eliminate plaque or prevent infection – which continues). Listen as he infers poor people have worse teeth because of their zip code. Remember thyroid health, fertility effects in girls, and fluoride’s lack of effect on plaque, are never mentioned.
Here is the You Tube Video of US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek H Murthy on water fluoridation:
In the 1950s people believed the world was about to change. World War II had concluded, antibiotics and other pharmacological wonders had arrived, and improvements in communication were about to bring a life of better health, world harmony and improved prosperity for everyone. Today, a generation later, we look at our senior population – our parents or grandparents – and see an epidemic of chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, dementia and Alzheimers. Many are experiencing a terrible ending to life: so what went wrong?
This is a story about bad information. Our parents were told low-fat and sugarless products were healthy. Artificial chemicals tasting like the “real thing” were used in foods and drinks. So many people, like my parents, believed these products were better than butter or home-grown vegetables. They followed the advice and swallowed toxic substances in foods, drinks and over-the-counter potions, thinking they were miracles to loose weight and live a long life.
For many reasons we must weigh advice from all sources. Today many doctors understand the value of natural food for health, and how the body can build it’s own defense system to fight illness and disease. Dentistry still lags in understanding nutrition for oral health and the value of unfilled, pristine teeth and sustainable oral health. Perhaps our biggest worry should be the link between mouth plaque and chronic disease.
Remember oral health can be protected and improved with xylitol – and consider 2016 a New Year for your teeth and gums!
Everyone in the Zellie’s Team would like to wish you and our many supporters a Healthy and Happy New Year! Here is a link to our Zellie’s story and our Healthy Teeth Fund. Zellie’s established the Gift of Healthy Teeth fund in 2014 because we believe healthy teeth are a greatly under-appreciated gift.
The number of adults wearing braces is growing, and Orthodontists say nearly half of all newly installed braces are for adults – not kids! Often adults want to improve their smile and the makers of braces – knowing this – are ramping up serious marketing to adults. Braces can definitely improve the look of a smile, and today braces are more convenient and may be helpful – but they can be costly ….and the major cost may be your gum health!
Orhthodonists are trained to fit braces – and make no guarantee your teeth will be healthier at the end of treatment. They often have hygienists to help, but the truth is braces are a “risk factor’ for tooth decay and gum disease, and braces can have devastating outcomes for adults who have poor oral health at the start of treatment.
Prevention is so much easier than correcting problems when they have occurred! I suggest anyone considering braces – child or adult – should spend 2- 8 months using Zellie’s and the Complete Mouth Care System before braces are fitted, and stick with the System through the treatment. This system is effective even without flossing. Anyone with braces knows flossing around wires and brackets is impossible.
Adults considering braces should also take a mouth-bacteria test before starting treatment, to discover gum disease (periodontal pathogens) before they begin! Here is a link to find a provider who offers the My Perio Path testing: http://www.oraldna.com/FindDentist.aspx
We agree about the need to prevent cavities, but how much more important is it to prevent cavities in children? Perhaps one of the most important groups to target with prevention are children with disabilities – those with compromised health or physical disabilities. Included in this group should be kids who are adopted and or who live in foster care. These children often have special social needs and should not have to endure additional burdens from painful cavities.
About half a million children in America live in foster care and a recent report indicates many of these children do not visit a doctor or dentist regularly. The error of the report is that it equates a lack of visiting to resultant health problems. The conclusion of the report is that health care providers must refer more children for dental and medical care. This will not end their problems – since no dentist in the world can stop dental disease.
Far more important, but less politically correct, is the idea of teaching families who welcome adopted or foster children into their homes, how to prevent cavities with xylitol. If they simply wipe erupting teeth with xylitol granules or eat a few delicious mints or gum each day at the end of meals, they can reduce the incidence of cavities by 98%.
Turku sugar studies. V. Final report on the effect of sucrose, fructose and xylitol diets on the caries incidence in man. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/795260
Given that September is “Dental Infection Control Month”, I’d like to comment on a study that determined eye wear and masks are ineffective for protecting dentists from infection during treatment. Red dye showed how splatter travels from a patient’s mouth to a simulated face, positioned where a dentist or hygienist would sit in the dental office. Dentists drill teeth at high speeds (180,000 rpm to 500,000 rpm) and this generates spray and debris that travels up to 50 mph – particles of filling, tooth, calculus, and harmful pathogenic germs from teeth, saliva and blood. The study, illustrating the inadequacy of dental masks, was funded by inventors of a special debris deflector offering improved protection.
When I read this study, I ask the question, “what about the patient?”. Surely patients are at risk when lying horizontal with an open mouth, open nostrils, vulnerable eyes, and naked skin? What about debris floating in the air for hours after a patient leaves the office? What are the consequence for a child or adult who is next in line after someone with foul oral health? This seems an obvious concern, yet there is almost no other research. Perhaps we need “clean” rooms for examinations of children and those with healthy mouths.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for this!
For now I suggest the following:
1. Schedule a dental appointment as early in the day and week as possible, ideally after a long weekend when the office air will have settled.
2. Avoid Friday afternoon appointments.
3. Boost your immune system with a healthy diet and probiotics for several weeks before an appointment.
4. Adults should use the Complete Mouth Care System immediately before an appointment.
5. Eat Zellie’s as you exit the dental office.