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Choosing the Right Mouthwash

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It pays to have a bottle of mouthwash handy and if you have been following our regular post, you will find that a mouth rinse is more than a breath freshener.

A research published earlier this year stated that mouthwashes – in combination with regular tooth brushing and flossing – are effective against cavities and tartar build-up. Researchers argue that mouth rinses can reach areas that tooth brushing and flossing cannot thus significantly reducing tooth decay and gingivitis.

The Right Mouthwash

It appears that if you really are intent on taking good care of your teeth and gums, mouthwashes should be part of your arsenal. However, the aisle at the pharmacy or supermarket is teeming with choices.

With so many brands and claims, choosing the right mouthwash may not be as easy as picking out a can of chickpeas. Since we all have different needs, here is a list to keep in mind before picking out a bottle.

Choose a mouthwash with germ fighting properties. Not all mouthwashes are created equal. Some are meant for freshening breath (cosmetical) and some are meant to do heavy work such as fighting tooth decay and preventing tartar (therapeutic). Indeed, cosmetic mouthwashes can still attack bacteria but mouthwashes with germ fighting action are the ones that pack a wallop.

Go for alcohol free mouthwashes. There were previous reports correlating oral cancer with alcohol based mouth rinses. While the claims of the study are still in question, alcohol is indeed harsh and delicate gum tissues may have a difficult time dealing with it.  Instead, scout around and read the labels. Choose alcohol-free mouth rinses and particularly look for those with calming ingredients such as aloe vera or chamomile.

Determine your needs. Select a mouthwash that is specifically formulated to suit your needs, whether it is fighting cavities or one that offers extra protection against tartar and gum disease.

Check the mouthwash for any seal of approval. Such seals verify the claims made by the product. Chances are these unbiased organizations have tested the products rigorously before giving it their stamp of approval.

Finally, consult your dentist. If you cannot quite decide on which mouthwash to purchase, ask your dentist. Your dentist will know which products will suit your needs.

If you have any questions, send us an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or please drop by for a visit. Our staff will be happy to answer your queries.

Mouthwashes Can Reduce Gingivitis

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Photo Source: Flickr.com/nataliepkcruz

In the arsenal of oral health care, toothbrushing and flossing are usually on top of the list. What many people tend to forget that mouthwash is more than colours, flavour, and according to research published on General Dentistry, it actually helps in the reduction and management of gum disease.

The research states that mouthwashes can significantly decrease plaque and gingivitis compared to toothbrushing alone.  Christine A.  Charles, RDH, BS, head of the research group shared that this is because “(m)outhrinses can reach nearly 100 percent of the mouth's surfaces, while brushing focuses on the teeth, which make up only 25 percent of the mouth.”

The six-month study involved a group of 139 adults with mild to moderate gingivitis. Broken down into two groups, one was asked to brush, floss, and rinse with a germ-killing mouthwash while the other was asked to brush, floss, and rinse with a placebo mouthwash. The results showed that the group rinsing with the germ-killing mouthwash reduced the occurrence of plaque by 26 percent and gingivitis by 20 percent.  What the study further reveals is that in fighting oral health problems, not just any mouthrinse will do.

Therapeutic Vs. Cosmetic Mouthwashes

To combat plaque and gingivitis, dentists recommend going for therapeuatic mouthwashes instead of the purely cosmetic ones. The difference between the two is quite simple. Cosmetic mouthrinses help in loosening food morsels, alleviating bad breath, and lessening bacteria to a certain degree but therapeutic mouthrinses have additional ingredients specifically meant to counter plaque and control the onset of gingivitis.

In selecting mouthrinses, find a product that has the seal of the approval from an independent body of scientists and health professionals. A product or brand claiming to control and reduce plaque and gingivitis should be able to support their claim and have the seal as proof of their claim.

Ask Your Dentist

Remember too, that even with current research substantiating the effectiveness of mouthwashes, it should not be considered a substitute and it only supplements toothbrush and flossing. 

Mouthwashes also contain components that may cause side effects so before purchasing a bottle, ask your dentist for any recommendations – or if you need one at all.

For further inquiries, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 

Poor Dental Health and Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer ’s disease - it’s a disease that’s currently afflicting a significant portion of the senior population in the US and according to a new study, it has a link with poor oral health.

The research study, conducted by a team from the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry, found a probable connection between the state of dental health and Alzheimer’s disease. Taking ten brain tissues samples from patients who have suffered dementia and comparing it with those without dementia, all tissue samples marked by Alzheimer’s revealed the presence of the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria.

Typically found in oral cavities and the number one cause of gingivitis, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream through brushing, chewing, and eating. However, experts have likewise stressed that is even more possible that the bacteria can penetrate the brain because of invasive dental treatments.  According to the research team, such treatments can cause the bacteria to go directly to the brain where it triggers an immune reaction. In turn, the chemicals released by the immune system also kill neurons in the part of the brain that is defenceless against Alzheimer’s.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

The disease, identified by German neurologist Alois Alzheimer, is a physical disability that targets the brain. The disease causes the deterioration and death of brain cells leading to several symptoms.

The British website, alzheimer’s.org. uk, describes the disease as a “progressive illness” that worsens gradually over time. As it advances, more brain cells are damaged and the symptoms leading to even more severe symptoms.

Symptoms include:

a.    Memory Loss and confusion.
b.     Mood swings.
c.    Withdrawal.
d.    Difficulty in accomplishing simple tasks.

However, symptoms may vary from patient to patient. The website further noted that care and support are even more vital as the disease progresses.

Bette Davis once said that old age is not for sissies and Alzheimer’s does not make it any easier. The results of this research may need further data but it all points to the conclusion that we’ve stated over and over again: take care of your teeth and it will take care of you.

For more info on senior oral health, check out our previous article. For a dental checkup or other concerns, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to schedule an appointment.


Reference:
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/10/08/a-link-between-gum-disease-and-alzheimers
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264164.php
http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=100

Should You Have Your Dental Amalgams Removed?

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Given the facts on mercury and dental amalgams, the question often raised by patients is, “Should I get my dental amalgams removed?”  There is a simple answer and it all boils down to the decision of the patient.

Dental amalgams, is a restorative material used by dentists to repair cavities brought about by tooth decay. Composed of mercury and other trace minerals, dentists have been employing this treatment for the past 150 years. For a number of years, its use was considered safe. However, research by health groups, including IAOMT or the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, revealed that dental amalgams might not be so benign after all.

According to IAOMT, mercury fumes are released by amalgams during chewing, drinking warm beverages, or simply by tooth brushing. The fumes could be easily absorbed by the body and overtime could accumulate in body organs, including kidneys, brain, gastrointestinal tract, and liver. Further, given that people are constantly exposed to mercury in the air, food, and through other sources – concerns were raised if fumes from dental amalgams could significantly add to mercury levels.

Protocols

IAOMT’s findings may appear alarmist but before heading off to the nearest dentist to get those silver fillings removed, IAOMT cautions that – most dentists around the world removed dental amalgams without any clear regard or knowledge of the risks involved in grinding them out.

As such, the group advises dentists to follow these procedures in removing amalgams.

1.    Ensure that the dentist has the proper equipment in removing amalgams. This is not a simple process and should be approached with caution, the dentist must have “(A) n efficient suction system in the oral cavity with a special tip or its equivalent to contain amalgam particles and mercury vapours.”

2.    The dentists and his/her staff must wear protective gear during the removal.

3.    Patients should likewise be protected. The patient’s face should be covered with a damp paper towel or a surgical drape.

4.    The patient must also be provided with piped-in air so as “to avoid breathing air directly over the mouth during amalgam removal.”

5.    The dentists should be applying generous amounts of water during the removal and

6.    The amalgam should be removed in large chunks to reduce mercury vapour.
It is also advisable to go to an IAOMT accredited dentist (with full equipment) for an amalgam removal. However, even with proper procedures and an IAOMT certificate, the decision still lies with the patient.

What a dentist has to say

According to Dr. Lillian Lasaten-Ebuen, Executive Director of IAOMT-Philippines, “The dentist should not be the one to push for amalgam removal but instead, it is the patient has the sole authority to seek its removal.”

To Dr. Ebuen, dental amalgam removal can be a complicated process. Several factors have to be considered, including the overall health of the tooth and teeth surrounding it. “Based on experience, removing an amalgam exposes deeper problems and that should be brought into the equation as well.” She explains. “The role of the dentist is to inform, facilitate, and to proceed with the wishes of the patient. Provided that ample knowledge is given and all options regarding the situation are fully discussed.” She asserts.


Out With Mercury!

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Dr. Lillian Lasaten-Ebuen of Total Body Dentisty and Executive Director of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) in the Philippines joins an IPEN meeting on toxic metals in Minamata this week.

During the meeting, she stated that, “IAOMT-Philippines is reaffirming its stand against mercury use, not only in the dental profession but also in other sectors and industries – from manufacturing to small-scale gold mining.”

Minamata Convention on Mercury signing this week

An international treaty on controlling and regulating the use of mercury is also up for signing this week. Known as the Minamata Convention on Mercury, in honor of the victims of mercury poisoning in Minamata, the convention clearly details steps in the phase-out and eventual elimination of mercury.

“As the Philippines is a signatory,” according to Dr. Ebuen, “The government should enact legislation that fulfils its obligation under the treaty. There are initiatives addressing mercury use in the health sector and small-scale mining,” Dr. Ebuen reports, “But we still have a long way to go with the dental sector.”

Dr.  Ebuen notes that, even while European countries are actively banning dental amalgams and switching to mercury-free alternatives, dental associations and dental schools in the Philippines still endorse dental amalgams for treating patients or for filling much needed school requirements.

Often, recipients of this form of treatment come from low-income families dependent on free dental services offered by dental students and dental missions.

Dr. Ebuen asserts however that these obstacles only demonstrate the need to stress IAOMT’s promotion of equality, social justice, and the people’s right to information. “We are determined to take ongoing action to highlight the damage caused by toxic metal pollution to human health and the environment and to foster international support for further national and global governance measures to reduce, and where possible eliminate, sources of toxic metal pollution such as mercury.”

Dr. Ebuen adds, “We are calling on all dental organizations, the private, and the public sectors to swiftly commence on the phasedown of dental amalgams and to not wait for the law to order them so. This is not only for the health of the patients, the dentists, and laboratory assistants but this is to protect vulnerable populations such as women and children as well.   The signing of the treaty now signifies the global agreement/consensus that dental amalgam is a pre-historic technology and one that is better left in the annals of history.”

It's All About The Patients

Written by Dan Abril.

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A new set of dental standards was recently adapted in the UK last month. Issued by the General Dental Council (GDC), the dental regulatory board of the UK, the new standards state:

1.    Put patients' interests first;

2.    Communicate effectively with patients;

3.    Obtain valid consent;

4.    Maintain and protect patients' information;

5.    Have a clear and effective complaints procedure;

6.    Work with colleagues in a way that serves the interests of patients;

7.    Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills;

8.    Raise concerns if patients are at risk;

9.    Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients' confidence in you and the dental profession.

The new standards is interesting because its puts emphasis on the patients. On the GDC website, the chief executive of the council, Evlynne Gilvarry stated that the principles guiding the new standards were based on previous talks with dental patients regarding their expectations.   “Patients have told us clearly what they expect when they seek dental treatment. The new standards reflect those expectations and guide the dental profession in meeting them.”

The rights of Filipino patients

We see this as an exciting move and further realize the patients – or the individual’s set of rights. While there is an existing Patient’s Bill of Rights and Obligations in the Philippines, we feel that more health practitioners (and even the patients themselves) should be encouraged to discuss or thoroughly inform patients of available treatments, surgeries, and even of alternative therapies.

Our bill of rights, particularly articles 5 and 6 addresses patient’s right to information and the right to refuse treatment based on the information given. This is particularly relevant in cases involving invasive treatments – or to be basic – the use of dental amalgams.

Education and information

After years of research by concerned groups such as the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) attesting to the dangerous effects of dental amalgams, its use as reparative treatment is still a topic of hot debate among dental professionals, institutions, and organizations.

When it comes to oral health care, we also believe that Filipino patients should be educated and have sufficient information on dental amalgams, the long-term effects of mercury exposure, and available alternatives.
 
Sources:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266792.php
http://www.gdc-uk.org/Newsandpublications/Pressreleases/Pages/Standards-for-dental-profession-put-new-focus-on-patients.aspx
http://www.cmaao.org/cmaao/eventsfl/eve_db_2.html