Also known as DIY, it has become a hot subject in the health field. After all, with healthcare costs rising, increased waiting times for Doctors and a generalized disgust with the entire system, the urge to just “do it yourself” can be enticing. However, DIY medicine comes with a slew of risks and dangers that you may want to avoid at all costs!
There are plenty of companies willing to take your money and help you out.
Do it yourself anti-depression treatment, hair regrowth, anti-snoring, arthritis remedies, headache relief, teeth whitening, and even teeth straightening systems are available.
Do it yourself therapies pander to our society’s urge for immediate gratification and cost savings. Why go to a Doctor when you can do a search on the internet and get the DIY product delivered to your door in a day, and for ½ the cost?
Yet, we know that immediate gratification can come at a cost that time not money can account for. Often, this cost is not realized until years down the road.
It’s estimated that up to 20% of people who use DIY products can actually be harmed by them. Part of that computation takes into consideration the fact that people who diagnose themselves incorrectly and use a DIY product, might be deferring effective treatments and could lead to significant worsening of the underlying disease.
And where’s the FDA and protection from the government?
Take the anti-snoring product, which rhymes with Zipper and is being heavily promoted by a Soprano’s sounding character all over the radio. While this product might, in fact, reduce or even eliminate snoring in some people, it can actually mask underlying, life-threatening problems such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) or Central Sleep Apnea (CSA).
It’s estimated that 50% of people who snore have some significant underlying and perhaps even life threatening problem, such as Sleep Apnea. And yes, Sleep Apnea can lead to DEATH. And an at-home appliance may mask the symptoms associated with Sleep Apnea.
And what about the significant potential for TMJ problems and teeth shifting that are common with any improperly fitted and monitored DIY mouth device?
You see, snoring is a symptom. And, most DIY products are aimed at relieving a symptom, not the underlying issue.
What you should always ask, as we at Linhart Dentistry do, is: What’s causing the symptom? It sounds logical; find out what’s causing the symptom and treat the underlying cause first. Then, the symptom will disappear. Sounds like common sense!
But, as the great Benjamin Franklin said; “common sense is very UNcommon!”
Our healthcare system is guilty of treating symptoms rather than discovering and resolving causes. It’s the basis behind all the pop-up clinics and “Doc-in-the-box” Emergency clinics so ubiquitous today.
Linhart Dentistry is bucking this trend. We believe that uncovering causes, while perhaps taking more time and even costing a bit more up front, yields more predictable, sustainable and less costly care in the long run. We believe that health is a marathon, not a sprint.
So why aren’t others following Linhart Dentistry’s lead? The answer to most of these questions is; Follow The Money!
There’s more money in treatment than there is in thinking and diagnosing causes. Thinking and diagnosing takes time! It’s just a matter of economics.
But we’ve always believed in the philosophy of ‘putting your money where your mouth is’. We think our investment in technologies and taking the time to help diagnose underlying causes is well worth the effort…in the long run…FOR YOU.
So the next time you see an at-home treatment for snoring, teeth-straightening with invisible aligners, whitening, or arthritis, ask your qualified health care professional what the RIGHT treatment is for you!
Medical Perils of the Internet
There’s a new disease out there to be wary of. “Cyberchondria” is caught by surfing the web for medical information.
Would you accept medical advice from a stranger on the street? That’s what most of the Internet consists of; a bunch of strangers. The Internet can indeed be a tangled, impossible to navigate, web when searching for medical information.
You might think that you can search published medical (or dental) journals and get accurate information but that’s not necessarily the best strategy. Journals often publish obscure and challenging cases that probably won’t give you information about what you’re looking for. Even seasoned professionals often have a difficult time sifting through these articles to extract the relevant information.
A recent scientific article looked at the search habits of people before they showed up to the Emergency Room. What they found was that 80% of the people who looked things up online reported that their searches actually improved their subsequent ER experience. They felt that they were better able to communicate symptoms and understand what the Doctor was telling them. So, the conclusion was that looking things up can be helpful.
But “search” has challenges too. A search for “endometriosis”, the subject of over 4.5 million searches a year, showed that only ONE of the top 54 results contained accurate information. That’s scary. The best sources of information are from trusted sites such as Academic Institutions, Medical Centers or other professionally monitored sources whose information is vetted. Going to Pubmed or Google Scholar might not be as fruitful as going to The Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic or Harvard Health.
And of course, one wouldn’t want to spend 20 minutes searching for the symptoms of a stroke, if that’s what’s happening, when you could have called 911 first!
In dentistry, the problem of search is just as perplexing. There’s a lot of bad and wrong information out there. That’s why we’ve begun sending out these email-newsletter-blogs. We want to be your trusted source of information.
We believe that the best medicine (and dentistry) is personalized. The Internet, at best, presents “One size fits all” solutions. At its worst, it presents “worst case” scenarios. Most problems are often in between. It’s “off the rack” advice. We prefer custom, individualized solutions and advice.
So here’s an invitation. If you have a symptom, problem or question, go ahead, do some Internet searching. Then, either call or email us. We’ll gladly answer your questions or give you advice based on what we know about you as an individual.
We’re here to help you at Linhart Dentistry. And, with our team of highly experienced specialists, we can give you the most accurate and best information possible. Whether its gums, teeth, tongue, TMJ, whitening, Invisalign, Sleep or snoring appliances, Cosmetics, Implants or any dental “search” you can think of, Linhart Dentistry has your answer. Just ask!
Gum recession is a dental condition that’s caused by the withdrawal of bone supporting gum tissue. This leads to irritation because it exposes the roots of the teeth.
The root is the lower 2/3 part of your tooth that’s not visible but it houses the blood and nerve supply of that region.
You won’t experience receding gums if your jaw bones are intact to hold everything in place.
So what causes receding gums? Look at some of them.
Causes Of Gum Recession
Aggressive brushing. Rough brushing. Or overbrushing if you like. They’re all talking about the same thing. Your failing to develop an appropriate dental technique because you believe that pressure has something to do with a white smile.
Can you replace a toothpick with a needle to get little food particles off your tooth? You’d hurt yourself, right? That’s exactly what happens when you brush roughly. You injure your gums, causing bleeding gums and initiating gum recession in the process.
Aggressive flossing is also a factor.
2. Whitening Strips
Problems usually arise when there’s an excessive use of these chemicals as they contain very corrosive ingredients that can destroy the gums.
3. Gum Disease
And a very common one is gingivitis, the inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis makes the gum swell, causing bad breath and degenerating into periodontitis if it’s not checked.
Gum recession is one of the symptoms too. And that’s because the inflammation in gum disease causes deterioration of the jaw bone.So check with the dentist if yours is a sign of a deeper infection.
So you had a rough day at work. Do you ease off by clenching and grinding your teeth at night? Maybe that’s what’s causing your receding gums. Grinding teeth weakens the structure of your jawbones.
I’m sure you know what can happen to your canines if you’re constantly smacking them on every wall you find. They could get chipped or even fall off completely. So a traumatic injury to your teeth can cause receding gums.
This post has been all about how your jaw bones support your teeth and why that strength is needed to prevent gum recession.
But what if it’s not all in your control. Every physical feature you’re endowed with has a thing or two to do with inheritance. The thickness or thinness of your jaw bones too.
Though very uncommon, genetic disorders like Marfan Syndrome and Parry Romberg Syndrome cause thinning and underdevelopment of the jaw bones.
And if your teeth are abnormally positioned, gum recession could set in also.
7. Poor Oral Hygiene
Think of every dental infection that could be caused by poor oral hygiene. I’m talking things like a dental abscess and periodontitis. These infections have gum recession as symptoms and that’s why poor hygiene is a factor you can’t ignore.
So you don’t confuse gum recession with any other dental infection, here are some signs you should look out for.
1. Longer Teeth
If you suspect anything, just compare the present length with maybe an old photo, or ask a roommate to check.
2. Exposed Root
Gum recession exposes the root section of your teeth, so you’d see different colors when you look in the mirror. The white or greyish look of your crown would be followed by a brown section underneath.
That’s the root that has been exposed.
3. Loosened Teeth
The jaw bones can no longer support the teeth so the teeth are severely weakened, even shaking at times.
The exposed root exposes the blood vessels and nerves so you’d begin to feel sensitive to hot, cold and acidic foods. Pain signals are also transmitted.
5. Inflamed and Bleeding Gums
The margins of your gum would show patches of swelling that bleed when you brush or eat foods that need you to do a lot of chewing.
So how do you stop this?
5 Ways To Stop Receding Gums
1. Avoid Overbrushing
Pressure is not proportional to the brightness of your teeth. So focus on applying the right amount of pressure.
If that’s something too hard for you, get a toothbrush with a pressure sensor so you don’t injure your gums.
And you should consider getting a toothbrush with soft-bristles, it still gets the job done and is gentle on your teeth and gums.
Follow standard practice too. The ADA recommended brush-time is two minutes, don’t try to brush for five minutes. And you should brush twice daily also.
2. Adopt Proper Oral Hygiene Techniques
Flossing, rinsing, reducing sugary-food intake are practices that can prevent some of the consequences of poor oral hygiene.
3. Seek Help
If you’ve been involved in any traumatic attack to your teeth, see a dentist to examine the extent of damage. Check if you’d be needing any dental crowns or bridges if you have a chipped tooth.
And wear protective gear if you’re involved in contact sports or hunting.
If there’s any formula or whitening technique you want to try, consult with your dentist first so you don’t try something that’d erode your enamel.
4. Get A Mouth Guard
A mouth guard reduces the impact clenching and grinding have on your teeth so ask your dentist if this is something he’d recommend.
5. And All The Home Remedies
The anti-inflammatory properties of green tea check gum inflammation and strengthen the attachment of gums to the teeth.
Aloe Vera can reduce gum texture by restoring the right texture of gum tissue.
Coconut oil has antimicrobial agents that fight inflammation and reduce gum recession.
Lemon oil is antiseptic. It attacks the bacteria that act as causative agents to kick-start inflammation. It also has a pleasant smell that fights bad breath caused by bleeding gums.
A deficiency in vitamin C can cause bleeding gums so you should ensure you don’t have low vitamin C levels at any time.
Receding gums aren’t something you should take lightly. They’re dangerous on their own and could also appear as signs of other infections.
But now you know the signs to look out for, the causes and how you can stop this anomaly.
Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, a New Orleans dentist, invented floss in 1815. Flossing has been touted by dentists since as being the most effective way of preventing cavities and gum disease. Is it true?
Flossing is something most people think they need to do. After all, every dentist and hygienist I’ve ever met thinks flossing is imperative for good oral health. Yet, according to statistics, only 12% of Americans floss daily and 49% don’t floss at all.
The controversy about flossing was fueled by a NY Times article several years ago that discussed the matter and the fact that the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services dropped the mention of flossing as part of their hygiene recommendations due to lack of “evidence based” studies.
So what’s the scoop? Should YOU floss or not?
YES, you should, but it’s not always so simple. Unfortunately, as in most healthcare matters, there’s no simple answer as to whether flossing is right or wrong, effective or not? It’s complex and based on your personal, unique and individual needs and risks.
Every time you visit our hygienists, they evaluate the “effectiveness” of what you’ve been doing vis a vis your oral health. They ask about your medical health and any changes because we know how that can impact your mouth. They look for cavities, gum inflammation, tongue health and even cancer. They scrutinize all aspects of your mouth to make sure all is well. And, if there are areas of concern, they bring it to the attention of your dentist.
We want to help your mouth stay healthy because we know it will contribute to your overall health and wellness.
So, we might recommend that you change what you’re doing. We might recommend that you floss. We might recommend that you don’t and use some other method to clean between your teeth, like inter-dental brushes or an air flosser.
We might also recommend that you take a bacteria profile so we can see what’s happening microscopically. We might recommend that you use a different toothpaste, rinse or even an oral probiotic. We might recommend that you come to see us more frequently.
Indeed, in some cases, there are more effective systems than flossing to clean the “between the teeth” areas that can help prevent gum disease and especially, root cavities.
Your visits to the hygienists in our practice are often the most important for long term oral health. And for those who have invested a lot of time effort and money into their mouths, these maintenance visits pay off handsomely. They are indeed, the best return on investment you can make.
So floss, but we also may recommend adjunct treatments to help you clean between your teeth.
So, we’ll see you soon at your visit with one of our fantastic hygienists!
– The Linhart Dentistry Team
That’s the sound Rice Krispies are supposed to make when milk is poured over the popular breakfast cereal. It’s NOT what’s supposed to happen when your mouth opens or closes.
Creaky, crackling and noisy joints are symptoms that might be predictive of problems that could, if not dealt with, result in limitations of jaw movement such as lock-jaw. Imagine not being able to open your mouth wide enough to eat a sandwich? Or, what about not being able to chew without pain?
Some people haven’t been able to eat a Subway sandwich without pounding it down, all their lives. They just think such limitation is normal. If you can’t get at least 3 finger widths between your teeth, you might have a TMJ issue.
The jaw joint or TMJ, temporomandibular joint, is unique in the body. It’s a double joint, with one bone, the lower jaw suspended via a joint at either end. Movement of the lower jaw position is controlled by these joints and by the muscles, tendons and ligaments that attach to the head, jaws and neck.
Most often, joint sounds are innocuous. Many people don’t know they have any. Your dentist should include an examination of your TMJ’s as part of a comprehensive examination.
Sometimes, joint sounds are problematic. They can be indicative of a misalignment in the joint, arthritis or inflammation. In a car, such a misalignment will cause the tires to wear out unevenly. The same thing happens in the mouth, as teeth can also wear out.
How does a misalignment of the jaws happen?
The usual reasons are; wear and tear, clenching/grinding, muscle imbalances, sleep position, sleep disturbances, trauma, poor posture, stress, mineral deficiencies/overload and even medications.
Medications? Every drug has some unintended consequence. Some of the more common ones that can affect muscles are:
➢ Diuretics (like Lasix and hydrochlorthiazide),
➢ Procardia (for angina and hepertension)
➢ Proventil, Ventolin, Brethine (for asthma)
➢ Statins like Lipitor and Crestor(for cholesterol)
➢ Evista (used for osteoporosis)
➢ Antidepressants (Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro and other SSRI’s which can also be used to treat ADHD)
Millions of Americans take one or more of these medications. Yet, most people and even most doctors don’t associate the symptoms of muscle issues with these medications. The most common muscle complaints involve painful leg cramps, which might never be associated with medication use. But, such cramps and spasms can happen in any muscle.
Another common symptom of “TMJ” is fullness or even ringing in the ear (called tinnitus). These too can be signs of muscle issues. And to prove it to yourself, clench your teeth together tightly. When you do, does the background noise change a little? That’s because the muscles that close the jaw also have an affect on the ear.
Treatment of “TMJ” involves first making the proper diagnosis. Then appropriate recommendations for treatment can be made, which might include, self-care, medication modification, bite guards, physical therapy, orthodontics, bite adjustments and sleep appliances.
The takeaways here are:
- Pay attention to joint sounds or changes
- Bring such changes to your dentist or hygienist’s attention
- Tell your dentist and hygienist about all the medications you take
Your TMJ’s are too important to take for granted.
Dr. Michael Goldberg and the Linhart Dentistry Team
It’s completely normal to feel apprehensive after getting the news from your dentist that you’ll need your wisdom teeth removed – especially given this news is often received during your teenage years or early twenties.
But facts will always remain facts so let’s look at some of them.
1. Do You Really Need To Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Unlike carnivores, human beings have smaller jaw spaces and once the wisdom teeth get in there, it starts affecting chewing and speaking.
This is because most times, they don’t fully erupt and become impacted. If you want to identify them, check if you have any third molars, yep, that’s it.
The wisdom teeth begin to affect the second molars after some time, so removing them before that happens is usually a recommended option.
And if you want to know why our jaws can’t accommodate the teeth, it’s all down to the vitamin K2. This vitamin facilitates the transfer of calcium from the body into the bones.
Calcium is needed for proper development of the teeth and if you’re not getting enough of it, apart from putting you at the risk of being affected with certain dental conditions, you can also develop osteoporosis, which is a condition where your bones can be very easily fractured.
2. What If I Don’t Want Them Removed?
Apart from damaging other teeth, you also stand the chance of getting your other teeth decayed. Here’s how this works, remember I said wisdom teeth can affect your normal bite? When this occurs, the teeth combine with your second molar to create a pit in your mouth where food is trapped.
Tiny particles of this food become difficult to get rid of and harmful bacteria feast on it and you get plaque that if still not removed, degenerates into tartar and starts attacking your enamel creating holes in them.
All of these don’t affect you if you were born without wisdom teeth. If that’s you, just know you’re fine but there are more people with wisdom teeth than those without and that’s why you should check. This can lead to gum disease and other dental diseases of the mouth.
3. When Should I Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Extraction is always easier if it’s done before the roots are fully formed. Doing it at that time also reduces the duration of recovery from surgery and the associated pain.
The roots firmly implant the teeth into their sockets so that’s why it’s always better to get the process done early.
4. What is the Typical Recover Time from Removal of Wisdom Teeth?
One week is a good rule of thumb to have in mind. Your nutrition during this time also contributes to its length, try to stay away from foods that make your teeth sensitive. Your dentist will likely advise that very cold or hot food are a bad idea as they can cause pain at the extraction site.
5. Any Questions I Can Ask The Dentist?
Sure. So you’re comfortable with the entire process, you should ask questions like:
- how many of your wisdom teeth need to be removed?
- what type of anesthesia will be recommended for you, local and sedation anesthesia are common types?
- what should you do if you develop dry sockets?
- how often you need to change the gauze pads?
- what you should be thinking about for a post operative diet?
Armed with this information you should be well on your way to a smooth wisdom tooth removal procedure.
There are very few things as terrible as not being able to show off your smile because your teeth have been discolored.
Well, it’s said that if you know the causes of a problem you’re just on your way to solving it. Wanna know what’s causing your yellow teeth? And how to deal with the problem?
Here are six areas to pay attention to when evaluating what’s causing your yellowing teeth.
1. Your Genes
Every feature you can see on your physical body was inherited from your parents. Your blue or brown eyes, your round or curved nose and even your teeth.
You can inherit teeth colors like reddish gray and reddish brown from your parents.
2. Exposure Of Your Dentin
The enamel is normally a thick layer that covers the underlying gray dentin part of the teeth.
This exposure is caused by enamel erosion that results from the acidic attack of your enamel by acidic foods and drinks.
Poor oral hygiene also causes this enamel erosion.
Limiting your intake of acidic foods and committing to a proper brushing and flossing routine helps remineralize the enamel, improving its thickness in the process.
3. Smoking And Excessive Coffee Intake
Your enamel has this ability to absorb pigments from the foods and drinks you take, and these pigments decolorize the enamel when they seep in.
Two major culprits are nicotine from smoking and caffeine from coffee. These pigments get into the enamel giving it a brownish coloration.
So now you know why most smokers have brown teeth.
Your baby’s teeth are all formed in the womb. And there are reports that prove that tetracycline antibiotics stain teeth even while they’re developing in the gums.
If your mother took these antibiotics during the second trimester of her pregnancy or you took them before turning eight, then you may need some kind of bleaching treatment where chemicals like hydrogen peroxide are used to whiten your teeth beyond their natural color.
Dental fluorosis is a common disorder that occurs when large amounts of fluoride are ingested during enamel formation. Fluorosis appears as little whitish, yellowish or brownish spots on the teeth.
Train your kids not to swallow toothpaste or mouth rinses after using them to clean their teeth. And if they’re on any fluoride supplement, ask your dentist so an overdose of the supplement isn’t ingested.
A large amount of pressure directed on the teeth as in accidents can cause a crack in the enamel, exposing the interior dentin and sometimes serving as a sign of an internal bleeding that’s not been discovered.
If you’re pregnant, make sure you’re not brushing your mouth after vomiting while experiencing morning sickness. This is because the acid from the stomach makes up a large part of the vomit that bathes the enamel.
This acidic solution demineralizes and weakens the structure of the enamel, so brushing after vomiting makes it easier for the already weakened enamel to experience erosion.
So there you have it – six reasons why your teeth may become discolored over time along with the best practices on how to prevent each scenario.
There is plenty of dental advice on the Internet. But most of it is nothing specific. It’s just the usual make sure you brush your teeth and I hope you use a dental floss.
But very few people ever remember to say when to brush your teeth and how to floss your teeth.
And these things do matter, especially if you’re on treatment for a particular condition.
So here are some common questions about brushing and flossing and answers you can use:
1. Why Even Brush My Teeth?
You may have been doing it every day for years now but have you ever wondered why everyone gets involved in this daily routine? Well, you may have done that, and I’m guessing you thought it was to get rid of the stale morning breath.
And you were right, but that’s just one of the reasons. There’s a lot going on in your mouth as the day progresses, and it gets covered with a substance called plaque.
It’s even worse if you’re on a diet high in sugars ’cause that just means it’ll form quickly on your teeth. Brushing removes most of this plaque but, when avoided, can increase tooth can decay resulting in gum disease.
All of these infections come with their own problems, sometimes bleeding is involved. This affects your smile and some oral infections have been associated with heart disease and diabetes.
2. Can Going Vegan Eliminate Brushing?
One major reason we need to brush at least twice a day is to deal with plaque buildup. Most dentists advise we stay away from sugary foods, especially snacks and sweets.
Yes, switching diets to a more vitamin-rich one can help nourish your teeth but the problem with this is that there are vegetables that are high in sugar and most carbohydrates are broken down to simple sugars so there’s really no practical way you can avoid sugar in your diet.
You’ll still find deposits of plaque on your teeth at the end of the day so it’s best to just choose a healthy diet and stick to the 2-2 brush rule. That is, brush your teeth twice a day and for two minutes each time.
3. Can I Brush More Than Two Times In A Day?
Yes you can, but you may want to reconsider that.
Overbrushing causes gum recession and you can also injure your gums in the process so it’s never a good idea.
Stick to brushing in the morning and evening and you’ll be fine.
4. Can My Child See The Dentist (And If Yes, When)?
Yes, your child can see the dentist. You can start when the first tooth comes in. Our complete permanent teeth set are available at birth, it just takes some time before we are able to see and touch them.
Your child can also undergo dental x-rays when they’re at least two years of age.
5. What Toothbrush Do I Use?
The toothbrush industry is a large one, there are manual, battery-powered toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes, there are also brushes with rubber handles and those with plastic handles.
And pressure sensors are also included in some brands, this is something you need if you’re not able to time yourself to avoid over-brushing.
Manual toothbrushes have almost no recurring costs. But their bristles get worn out faster than the rest and they can get broken.
Instead, consider the Nano-Silver Toothbrush which combines a unique combination of antibacterial, ultra-soft, multi-length bristles.
When you’re shopping for a toothbrush, and you should normally do this once in three months in line with ADA’s standard, you should also get a case where you can store your toothbrush after each use.
Leaving your toothbrush exposed in the bathroom or in your room may be the perfect invitation for bacteria to rest on their wet bristles.
6. What’s A Good Brushing Technique Like?
Let your toothbrush be at a 45° angle to your teeth and move your toothbrush in a circular motion around your teeth.
And back to the bristles, any toothbrush you get should have be soft bristled so you don’t hurt your gums or injure your tongue in the process.
Brush all the surfaces of your teeth and don’t forget your tongue while you’re at it.
Your brush head is another thing to look at for this technique to work. We all have different jaw sizes so you should use something that can fit conveniently into your jaw space and move around without any problems.
7. Why Even Floss?
Many dentists agree that brushing can’t get all the plaque off your teeth. There are still very little margins, pits and crevices that even the most sophisticated toothbrushes can’t get to.
So getting and using a dental floss is the only way to stay 99.9% plaque free. Flossing also prevents common dental infections like cavities and periodontitis.
8. How Many Times Should I Floss?
As many times as you brush your teeth. So I guess that’s twice. Flossing doesn’t take as much mental energy as brushing so there’s no reason to skip it, you can floss even while listening to music or watching television.
9. What’s The Best Toothpaste?
There’s really nothing like a toothpaste that works for everyone at all times because some conditions can make you react to the contents of a particular paste.
But a fluoridated toothpaste is a good start. Fluoride is a very important element that helps strengthen the teeth. It also fights enamel erosion that occurs when your teeth are being attacked by demineralizing acids.
And if you’re looking to get a toothpaste to whiten your teeth, there are many options for you but it’s important you consult your dentist before using any or opting for traditional remedies.
There are many questions people have about brushing and flossing, this post should have answered some of yours.
Paleo diets are a big deal these days. Books on the diet seem to be everywhere, and searching “Paleo diet” in Google pulls up over 17 million results. And no wonder it’s so popular. The Paleo diet has been touted to help cut down on preservatives, help people lose weight and contains anti-inflammatory benefits from increased plant nutrients. It’s even supposed to help the teeth and gums. So below is your guide to Paleo diet dental health.
What is The Paleo Diet’s Link to Teeth?
To start, the Paleo diet aims to match what we believe mankind used to eat before agriculture was invented. There’s plenty of academic debate about what cavemen used to actually eat, but the paleolithic diet seeks to limit agricultural food nonetheless. Anything that seems like it would have been in a hunter-gatherer diet or plant-based diet is included.
That means people on a Paleo diet eat:
• Lean meats
• Fresh fruit
• Non-starchy veggies like lettuce, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach
• Plant-based oils like olive oil
People on a Paleo diet can’t eat:
• Starchy veggies like potatoes
• Legumes or beans
• High-fat meats like ribs or pepperoni
• Processed foods
• Salty foods
By now you may be wondering what this has to do with teeth, exactly. Our modern diets are what create many of the problems for our teeth and gums including gum disease. The bacteria in our mouth feed off of starchy food and sugar in particular, which creates acids. This acid, in turn, erodes the enamel of our teeth, which can lead to cavities. And the Paleo diet cuts out starchy food and processed sugar.
In fact, a study in the Journal of Periodontology looked at 10 people who lived in an environment replicating the Stone Age for four weeks.
As you can imagine, plaque and overall bacteria counts increased, so dentist appointments and cleaning are still important. But gum bleeding on probing decreased and gum pockets decreased. What this suggests is that the Paleo diet has some positive impacts on dental health.
What’s more, examination of old European hunter-gatherer dental samples shows fewer signs of cavities and periodontal disease than we have now. It wasn’t until widespread agriculture that the bacteria in the mouth shifted to the kind that is associated with disease. And the bacteria that cause tooth decay become dominant around the Industrial Revolution.
Granted it’s not all rosy. NPR reported that a cave in Morocco contained hunter-gather skeletons with teeth that were in horrible condition.
Just about everyone had cavities.
Turns out these people had a diet high in acorns, which are high in carbohydrates and stick to the teeth. So not all hunter-gathers were paragons of dental health. But it does make a case for achieving strong dental health through the Paleo diet, as the Moroccan cave dwellers’ downfall was through carb-based foods.
Paleo diet dental health with Dr. Weston A. Price
You won’t find Dr. Weston A. Price with his own health talk show or posting broad smiles on Instagram. Because he was a dentist from the 1930s in Cleveland. Yet his findings live on in the Weston A. Price Foundation.
He traveled all over the world looking for areas that have remained isolated from Western influence: indigenous North and South Americans, Gaelic communities in the Outer Hebrides, African tribes and Australian Aborigines, to name a few. And these communities had healthy, beautiful teeth.
According to The Weston A. Price Foundation
When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated peoples he found that, in comparison to the American diet of his day, they provided at least four times the water-soluble vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins, from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs and animal fats—the very cholesterol-rich foods now shunned by the American public as unhealthful. These healthy traditional peoples knew instinctively what scientists of Dr. Price’s day had recently discovered—that these fat-soluble vitamins, vitamins A and D, were vital to health because they acted as catalysts to mineral absorption and protein utilization.
Because of the nutrients involved with Paleo diet dental health, maybe it’s time to consider getting back to a purer diet.
Poor dental care affects your overall health and well-being, so oral hygiene isn’t something you can ignore. If you’ve been doing things that are harmful to your teeth, you’ll likely end up with one (or more) dental infections.
But like every other periodontal disease, if it’s detected on time, you can see a dentist for proper treatment.
So you want to know more about these diseases? The signs to look for? How you can prevent them? Let’s jump in.
1. Oral Herpes
Oral herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus, you may be familiar with the common names like cold sores or fever blisters. That’s because you’d likely see sores on your lips or gums if you’re infected.
Once the virus gets into your body, it’s there for life but that’s nothing to worry about ‘cause it’d be inactive.
You can get infected by sharing toothbrushes and dental floss with carriers and even kissing or any other form of skin contact.
You’d find it difficult eating if you’re infected but healing is usually complete in 14 days.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and is another periodontal disease with bacterial roots. It usually affects people who’ve failed to adopt the right brushing and flossing routines. And it’s not too difficult to know why.
After every meal, plaque will begin to form on to your teeth. But that’s not the problem. It only gets dangerous when nothing is done to remove the plaque. And remember plaque is a mass of bacteria, so when it gets below the gum line, gingivitis sets in.
Some signs to look out for are swollen and bleeding gums and pain when chewing.
And the best treatment for it? The best way to prevent gingivitis? Obey the ADA’s 222 rule, brush and floss twice daily!
Don’t treat gingivitis and you get periodontitis, it’s that simple. That’s because the infection spreads from the gums to the ligaments and bones that support the teeth making the teeth fall out. The periodontitis disease also increases the rate of bone destruction around the teeth.
The symptoms are very similar to gingivitis except for the loose teeth also experienced. Your dentist may require you undergo an x-ray to show the lost bones.
If the problem gets too bad, a tooth or more may have to be removed so the infection doesn’t spread to others.
And sticking to a good brushing and flossing routine helps with treatment also.
Another dental infection you should look out for is Herpangina, it’s a viral infection expressed by small, blister-like ulcers on the roof of the mouth and in the back of the throat.
It normally affects children so you can see why you can’t ignore your little one’s oral care.
Sore throat, loss of appetite and vomiting are some of the symptoms and the ulcers at the back of the mouth have a gray color.
You should seek dental care if a sore throat lasts for more than five days and common symptoms of dehydration like dry mouth and reduced urine output are expressed.
Herpangina is caused by the coxsackieviruses which are contagious so you should wash your hands if you come in contact with a carrier and encourage them to cover their mouths while coughing or sneezing.
5. Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
Let’s call it HFMD. It’s a viral infection that’s similar to herpangina and is of huge importance to all dental practitioners.
It’s also caused by a coxsackievirus and very contagious. The symptoms are similar to that of herpangina with red spots appearing on your child’s palms and the soles of their feet.
But it’s not something to worry about. Your child would normally recover anywhere between seven to ten days without medical treatment.
Practicing proper hygiene and avoiding close contact with carriers are some preventive measures to adopt.
6. Dental Caries
You can call it cavities or tooth decay, it’s the same thing. Dental caries is caused by bacteria that destroys the enamel and the dentin under it. These acids also attack the cementum layer of the tooth.
This happens when bacteria in plaque convert the sugars in your food to enamel-attacking acids. If this continues unchecked, holes would be seen on the tooth and they’d get larger over time.
Common symptoms are increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks as the decay progresses.
Regular brushing (with a fluoridated toothpaste) and flossing help to remineralize the enamel, fighting the acid breakdown in the process.
And for treatment, you definitely need to see a dentist, especially for the late stages.
When tooth decay gets to the pulp of the tooth, the bacteria causes an inflammation of the dental pulp and that’s pulpitis. As the pulp swells, it’s trapped by the dentin and this pressure causes a toothache. That’s why a common name for pulpitis is toothache.
The pulp cavity is a very sensitive area of the tooth, so if the dental infection to that area isn’t treated quickly, it dies. In such cases, usually called irreversible pulpitis, the dentist may need to drill into the pulp and remove the infected matter from the tooth.
In reversible pulpitis, a filling procedure can save the tooth.
Cutting down on sugary foods is one way to prevent pulpitis.
8. Canker Sores
Canker sores are painful ulcers or sores on the mouth, tongue, lips or throat. They could be caused by injury to the mouth, rough brushing techniques, dental braces, vitamin deficiencies or even spicy foods.
Some symptoms are bleeding gums and painful gums. It’s a viral infection that exhibits some symptoms of oral cancer so you should run a check to be sure.
Canker sores aren’t contagious so don’t confuse them with the contagious oral herpes.
They normally don’t require any treatment to heal but you should avoid spicy foods and vigorous brushing to ease the pain.
9. Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is a fungal dental infection that can affect the mouth, tongue and the gum. It’s usually seen in babies and causes bumps or rashes to form on the tongue.
Apart from the rashes, other symptoms are dry skin at the inner cheek and difficulty swallowing.
Infected babies can pass the fungus to their mothers during breastfeeding, so if you’re a nursing mother, it’s something to watch.
You should practice good oral hygiene to prevent oral thrush.
Anyone can get a dental infection. But when you know how to prevent and treat most of the common names, you’d understand what the dentist is doing and make the necessary lifestyle changes.