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Take Care Of Your Toothbrush

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A basic understanding of the mouth and body connection has taught us to be more aware of what we put in our mouths. We should not only be wary of toxins and unhealthy food but we should also handle our toothbrushes with care. As a vital weapon in our daily battle for dental health perfection, toothbrushes should not be taken for granted.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is a significant possibility that microorganisms present in the mouth and the environment can be transferred to a toothbrush.   Fortunately, there is no need for panic as the human body has a built-in mechanism that defends itself against the onslaught of germs and bacteria.

The ADA reports that there is still not enough data to backup the claim that bacteria from toothbrushes can causes illnesses. Still, it is recommended to take precaution and to observe the following guidelines when it comes to the care and use of toothbrushes. People with compromised immune systems in particular, are advised to observe these pointers.

Don’t share toothbrushes. There is no exemption. No matter if he/she is your significant other. Sharing toothbrushes puts everyone involved at a high risk of infection.

Store toothbrushes upright and allow it to air-dry. Enclosures tend to be moist making it a breeding ground for germs. Instead, allow it to air-dry. If stored with other toothbrushes, keep them in compartments to keep them from touching and potentially contaminating other brushes.

Don’t keep toothbrushes near the loo. Mythbusters did an episode on this. Although their results showed no ample evidence of germs spraying on the toothbrushes when you flush, it is still comforting to keep them away from the loo as much as possible.

Wash toothbrushes thoroughly. Wash the brushes thoroughly after every use. You don’t want those nasty black things growing on your toothbrush.

Replace toothbrush after recovering from any contagious ailment. As explained earlier, germs can be transferred and you might risk re-infecting yourself.

Replace toothbrushes after three or four months. As much as you’ve showered your toothbrush with TLC, it has to be replaced after three or four months. Over time, the bristles can become worn and it won’t be as effective.


Total Body Dentistry

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Total Body Dentistry believes in a holistic approach to health. When we talk about the importance of oral health, we see it as part of our overall well-being. Oral health cannot – and must never be taken out of the equation. As a number of studies have suggested, your overall health condition reflects the condition of your physical health.

Oral Health, Bacteria, and Diseases

While the mouth and body connection may not be readily obvious, the Mayo Clinic and other health and dental experts have determined that without proper oral health care, bacteria in the mouth can multiply, seep into body, and cause a myriad of health complications.

Saliva is another connection. The Mayo Clinic further stated that certain types of medication could hinder the production of saliva. As one of the body’s main line of defence, saliva does not only breaks down food but also helps in counteracting bacteria in the mouth. A dry mouth can cause an increase in bacteria and again lead to serious diseases.

Below is a quick rundown of diseases, identified by research to be closely connected with bad oral health.

  • Arthritis/Osteoporosis  – Painful joints and loss of bone mass is associated with gum disease and mouth bacteria.
  • Alzheimer's Disease - Recent studies have shown bacteria that causes gingivitis are found in the brain tissues of those afflicted with the disease.
  • Heart diseases – From clogged arteries to infection of the heart lining, studies have pointed a connection to mouth inflammation and the bacteria that causes it.
  • Diabetes – Because this debilitating disease can wreak havoc on the immune system, gums are more susceptible to infection.
  • Pregnancy complications – Another study suggested a link between gum disease and premature births.
  • HPV – Folks suffering from periodontal disease are at risk of developing oral cancer.
  • Psychological effects – loss of teeth and the host of complications that come with diseases can lead to stress and affect one’s self-confidence.

Prevention

As the old wives’ tale goes, “Prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” To ensure quality health, it is wise to take care of your teeth. Together with a smart diet, set a regular routine of flossing and brushing, using quality toothpastes and toothbrushes, and regular visits to the dentists.

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

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.