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gum disease

  • About half of all Americans, no matter how healthy they are, are more likely to develop oral health problems.

    Women need to be aware that they are at higher risk for periodontal disease and gum disease during puberty, pregnancy, their menstrual cycle each month, and then menopause—let’s face it, we’re at risk most of our lives. We now also know there is a correlation between high hormone levels in the body and inflammation in the gums surrounding the teeth as well as in the epidemic numbers of the disorder fibromyalgia—which afflicts mostly women.

    When hormone levels are very high, women can be more sensitive to a small amount of plaque or bacteria. For example, if you weren’t pregnant, and you forgot to floss for a couple of days, it probably wouldn’t be an issue. But if you’re pregnant and forget to floss, and plaque collects, you can develop swollen, painful growths in your gums that otherwise probably wouldn’t manifest as quickly.

    Being pregnant and having periodontal disease may also put your baby at risk. Studies show that pregnant women with periodontal disease have higher risk of premature labor and low birth weight. Scientists believe this occurs due to the inflammation and bacteria in the mouth that makes its way into the bloodstream. Author’s Note: A myth voiced by most dentists in years past is that pregnancy does not create more cavities; given the above data, that is not a correct assumption.

    A Timely Connection
    A few years ago I was honored to be invited to experience and consult with a globally-respected integrative medical hospital, medical and dental clinic and spa, located on the Pacific coast in Baja California.

    Having worked in the clinical and research dental field for eleven years myself, with my investigative “eye” continually searching to find a link between soft and connective tissue disorders like fibromyalgia and dental health, I was introduced to the director of the dental clinic, Walter De La O, DDS. The following are notes taken during discussions with Dr. De La O and his clinical experiences and methodologies for the potential connection of the oral cavity (mouth) to fibromyalgia, as discussed during my investigative visit and later validated in my clients’ experiences when their oral health issues were resolved.

    Fibromyalgia and Mercury… Dr. De LA O and I both agree that we have observed a strong relationship between fibromyalgia and the health and alignment of the oral cavity—as evidenced by clinical observation and research. There are many dental factors in play in disorders like fibromyalgia. This summary represents only a few “clues” as underlying contributing causes that my investigative work has uncovered.

    We KNOW the health-depleting effects of mercury amalgam fillings (silver fillings), which can be very toxic for the body— releasing mercury in the form of toxic vapors. This vapor release from mercury occurs every time the teeth make contact with one another (occlusion), when the pH of the saliva is altered, when friction is created on the teeth, or when the temperature inside the mouth is raised. This means that every time we are eating, swallowing (saliva or food), chewing, clenching/grinding, brushing our teeth or even smoking, we are potentially exposed to mercury vapors from our amalgam filling—which is most of the time.

    Toxic levels of mercury can cause or exacerbate the following, but definitely not limited to:

    • autoimmune diseases (i.e., lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, cancer etc.)
    • infections (i.e., chronic vaginal yeast in women, jock itch in men, sinus infection, swollen glands, thrush, etc.)
    • unexplained chronic fatigue
    • depression
    • nerve impairment
    • memory problems, decreased mental clarity, brain-fog
    • bowel disorders (chronic constipation, IBS, Crohn’s, etc.)
    • anxiety, panic disorders, ADD/ADHD, autism, Asperger’s syndrome
    • emotional outbursts and instability
    • soft and connective tissue pain (fibromyalgia, arthritis, rheumatism, etc.)
    • migraine headaches
    • insomnia and sleep disorders
    • autoimmune autoimmune disorders
    • sluggish lymphatic system and swollen/tender lymph nodes and;
    • many other disorders that are seemingly unrelated.

    When the mercury vapors enter our body, they get deposited in various organs. Once they are stored, they begin generating free-radicals—the accumulations of both have been known contributing factors in disorders like fibromyalgia.

    Fibromyalgia and TMJS…
    In addition, there is another contributing factor to consider if you have fibromyalgia—temporo-mandibular joint syndrome (TMJS).

    The following is a summary by Dr. Wesley Shankland, author of over 65 publications on TMJS and facial pain, and president of the American Academy of Head, Neck, and Facial Pain. His statement and methodologies about TMJS and fibromyalgia are important to consider:

    Fibromyalgia is a chronic, painful muscle and nerve condition characterized by pain in the skeletal muscles, tendons (which attach muscles to bone), ligaments (which attach bones to bones) and bursa (sac-like structures which are filled with synovial fluid and provide lubrication and nutrition to joints).

    Symptoms of fibromyalgia are characterized by generalized muscle soreness and stiffness lasting more than three months, poor sleep with morning fatigue and stiffness, tenderness at 11 of 18 specific sites and ‘normal’ blood test results. The more common painful areas include the low cervical spine, the shoulders, the second rib, the arms, the buttocks and the knees.

    Many other physical conditions are also found frequently with fibromyalgia. Each of these can, and does occur separately; however, they are also quite commonly associated with fibromyalgia.

    Many patients suffering with TMJS also suffer with fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t recognize either TMJS or fibromyalgia or fail to see the connection of these two pain syndromes. Fibromyalgia almost always intensifies the painful symptoms of TMJS and when one or both temporo-mandibular joints are dislocated, the pain of fibromyalgia in the neck and upper back is greatly magnified. Both TMJS and fibromyalgia produce similar painful symptoms in the muscles of the neck, shoulders, back, face and head as well as often causing dizziness.

    Fibromyalgia and Oral Health—The Biting Reality

    Body Balance and Alignment
    We are now aware that proper balancing of the body starts at your feet and how you actually take steps. Body balance and alignment will also depend on the length of your legs, position of your hips, deviation of the vertical spine and the balance of your shoulders.

    This balance doesn’t end in the shoulders; it ends in your head. Your head is supported and balanced by the vertical spine. This balancing, or alignment, also extends to the lower jaw, the mandible, being the only bone with mobility that is articulated/ hinged to the skull.

    The mandible has 3 pairs of muscles that elevate it: the masseter, the medial pterygoid and the temporalis. There are also four muscles that depress the mandible: the digastric, the geniohyoid, the mylohyoid and lateral pterygoid. In addition, there are other muscles that are active during the complex grinding actions of chewing.

    Important Muscles of the Head and Oral Cavity

    Masseter:
    A muscle in the cheek that moves the jaws during chewing. If you experience upper body pain and inflammation, be sure to have your biological dentist check your bite (occlusion) to see if the pain is originating from mal-aligned of the jaw.

    Masseter Muscle of the Jaw
    In humans, the masseter is the MOST powerful muscle of the body, with a record bite of 990 pounds observed in a man who suffered an epileptic seizure, which caused him to bite uncontrollably—shattering most of his teeth. Were the teeth of a human able to withstand the sufficient pressure, a human could bite a hole into an automobile tire inflated to 65 psi, chew up a cinder block, or bite through the rings or chain of a pair of handcuffs.

    The Biting Pain

    Muscles of the Head and Jaw
    Your masseter muscle is your primary chewing muscle, and it covers the sides of the jaw just behind the cheeks. It’s also the muscle that makes you clench your jaw and grind your teeth, unfortunately, and it may be the single most common location for trigger points (muscle or fibro knots) in the entire human body. It is an accomplice in pretty much every case of chronic jaw clenching, bruxism (that’s Latin for “grinding your teeth”), and temporo-mandibular joint syndrome (a painful condition of the jaw joint).

    The masseter muscle is often underestimated by the public and health care professionals alike (although I’m pleased to see a surprisingly strong interest in the subject among biological dentists and holistic practitioners). When irritated, the masseter’s muscle knots can cause and/or aggravate several problems including, but certainly not limited to:

    • Headaches, of course—this makes intuitive sense to most people.
    • Pain/Inflammation—especially felt in the neck, face, shoulders and upper back.
    • Earaches and Toothaches—which are much less obvious. A masseter trigger point can refer pain directly into a tooth, leading to disastrous results for an innocent tooth.
    • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness—both can be serious and complex problems, and are not necessarily caused by masseter trigger points. There are many other potential contributing factors—but the masseter is always a likely suspect that should be considered.
    • Bruxism—a grinding and cracking of molars.
    • Temporo-mandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)—a slow, painful failure of jaw joint function.

    Romancing the Masseter
    The therapy known as Perfect Spot No. 7 is extremely effective massage therapy for most jaw problems including bruxism, jaw clenching and TMJ syndrome. Fortunately, this procedure is extremely easy for the practitioner and just as much for the patient for self-therapy.

    The masseter muscle “hangs” from the underside of the cheekbone on the side of the face. The bottom of the muscle attaches to a broad area on the side of the jawbone.

    The Masseter Notch
    Perfect Spot No. 7 is conveniently located in a notch in the cheekbone, about one inch in front of your ears. The notch is on the underside of the cheekbone, it’s easy to find, and your thumb or fingertip will fit into it nicely, unless you have extremely large hands and fingers.

    If you press firmly inward and upwards with your thumb in this particular notch you will be rewarded with a sweet ache. The rest of the muscle, however, tends to feel like not much, or unpleasantly tender. Although the entire muscle can and should be rubbed gently, the Perfect Spot is definitely limited to that upper edge of the muscle.

    Note: The Perfect Spot Therapy is based primarily on the research and writing of Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons— pioneers of myofascial pain syndrome research. Dr. Travell expired in 1997 after decades of tireless efforts to educate her medical colleagues about trigger points and the benefit of massage.

    The existence and importance of trigger points is NOT scientifically controversial, but it is obscure—the challenge is to get the word out. Doctors and dentists are generally uninformed about musculoskeletal health care—it simply isn’t on their radar. According to Dr. Simons, “Muscle is an orphan organ. No medical specialty claims it.”

    Perfect Spot No. 7 is a sturdy piece of anatomy, so don’t be afraid to work steadily up to hard pressure—if that’s what it seems to want, listen to what it’s telling you! Either constant pressure or small, kneading circles are both appropriate. Since this spot is so tough, another good trick is to use a knuckle for extra pressure, or even a small wooden ball with a handle like the opposite end of a wood spiral honey-dipper.

    Fibromyalgia is a complex syndrome involving many triggers—some of them currently being discovered. What we do know in wholistic health is that when you begin to understand the connection to oral and intestinal health and overall body burden, we can then begin to solve the puzzle and regain quality of life…I did and so have the thousands of clients I’ve guided to wellness worldwide when everything else either didn’t provide relief or made them worse from toxic side-effects. Be informed; take charge of your health, Naturally.

  • SilverBiotics Oral Care, Tooth Gel, Glacial Mint, 4oz

    Tooth Gel Is Hands Down The Best Toothpaste We've Reviewed

    This is an amazing tooth gel (toothpaste). The staff at TotalHealth magazine definitely favor this product. We like the two-step process. Brush your teeth like normal and rinse. Then load up the toothbrush again and brush again but this time just spit out the excess and DO NOT rinse again. The antibacterial and antimicrobial action of the Silver Biotics Tooth Gel will keep your mouth amazingly clean. When you wake up in the morning you will often forget to brush first thing because your mouth feels so clean.

    The Importance of Killing Bad Bacteria in the Mouth

    Esophageal cancer starts in the cells of the esophagus, the tube of muscular tissue that moves food from the mouth to the stomach via the gullet.

    Annually almost 17,000 people find out that they have the disease and of those almost 16,000 die from it. Interestingly the cancer is more common in men than in women.

    In a study published in Cancer Research1 researchers found bacteria may play a role in esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). They found the periodontal pathogen Tannerella forsythia to be associated with higher risk of EAC. Furthermore, they found that depletion of the commensal genus Neisseria and the species Streptococcus pneumoniae was associated with lower EAC risk. the abundance of the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis trended with higher risk of ESCC. Overall, their findings have potential implications for the early detection and prevention of EAC and ESCC.

    The human oral cavity contains a number of different habitats, including the teeth, gingival sulcus, tongue, cheeks, hard and soft palates, and tonsils, which are colonized by bacteria. The oral microbiome is comprised of over 600 prevalent taxa at the species level, with distinct subsets predominating at different habitats.2

    Maintaining a Healthy Oral Microbiome

    Start using the best antimicrobial and antibacterial tooth gel on the market today!

    • Squeaky clean – that's what your teeth will feel like after using Silver Biotics Tooth Gel. That refreshing feeling doesn't leave as soon as you eat or drink something after brushing, but stays for hours.
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    • Natural glacial blue color with a refreshing mint flavor is exactly what you’ll get with Silver Sol Tooth Gel.
    • Unlike other common tooth gels or toothpastes, they've gotten rid of all the bad and kept only the good.
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    SilverBiotics Oral Care, Tooth Gel, Glacial Mint, 4oz is available on Amazon.com

    References:

    1. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/77/23/6777
    2. http://jb.asm.org/content/192/19/5002
  • Does the health of your mouth have anything to do with the overall health of your body? As it turns out, it has everything to do with your health!

    When the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Health stated, “You cannot be healthy without oral health. Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities,” it highlighted the growing awareness of the profound connection between the health of your mouth and the health of rest of your body. This connection is known as the oral-systemic link.

    The knowledge that what goes on in your mouth, does not stay in your mouth is revolutionizing the important role of dental health. When we think of gum disease or periodontal disease from a traditional perspective, it’s hard to understand how bleeding gums, deep pockets, abscesses, and loose teeth might impact the risk for many chronic illnesses. However, your oral condition has a systemic influence throughout all bodily systems because of the dangerous pathogens found in diseased gums and teeth. It is estimated that as many as 75 percent of Americans over the age of 35 may suffer from periodontal disease.

    The Hidden Life of Your Mouth
    The mouth is home to more than 450 species of microorganisms. While most are necessary to maintain healthy teeth and gums, there also exist harmful bacteria that can get out of control and do significant damage to gum tissue.

    The path to gum disease has many steps, beginning with plaque, an invisible, sticky film containing millions of bacteria. In healthy mouths, plaque itself actually provides some barrier against outside bacterial invasion. When it accumulates to excessive levels, however, plaque sticks to the surfaces of the teeth and adjacent gums and causes cellular injury, with subsequent swelling, redness, and heat. Although it is removed each time you brush, plaque can reform within 24 hours.

    When plaque stays on your teeth for longer than two or three days, it is transformed into calculus (commonly known as tartar) and gets under your gum line. It acts as a reservoir for bacteria and makes plaque even more difficult to brush away. Tartar has a rock-like consistency and grabs onto the tooth surface. It is much more difficult to remove than plaque, which is a soft mass.

    The longer that plaque and tartar persist, the more damage they inflict. Initially, they may just irritate and inflame the gingiva, the part of the gum around the base of your teeth causing gingivitis. If left untreated, however, gingivitis can progress to more severe periodontitis. Evidence now suggests that periodontal disease is an autoimmune disorder, in which immune factors in the body attack the person’s own cells and tissue—in this case, those in the gum. This final stage of gum disease leads to the development of pockets between your gums and teeth that fill with more plaque, tartar, and bacteria. Over time, these pockets can spread under your gum tissue. Chronic gum infection and periodontitis cause inflammation and damage that eventually destroys the support structures and bone and can lead to tooth loss.

    Periodontitis, however, is much more than just a serious gum infection; it is a chronic inflammatory oral disease that has direct impact on all at the systems of the body.

    There Is More to the Oral-Systemic Health Story
    The emerging field of oral-systemic health recognizes that the mouth is the window to the body’s immune system. Harmful bacteria found in the inflamed and damaged tissue in the gums can travel through the bloodstream and chronically impair many organs. Oral gram-negative (the harmful variety) of bacteria and accompanying inflammatory mediators can enter the bloodstream predisposing people to diabetes, insulin resistance, dementia, respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, complications in pregnancy, and cardio vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease.

    As an example, periodontal pathogenic bacteria were discovered in atherosclerotic plaques as well as major arteries. So the same nasty plaque bacteria causing periodontitis have been implicated in the thickening of the carotid artery. In fact, 50 percent of heart attacks are triggered by oral pathogens. Here is a shocking statistic: Gingivalis, an oral bacterium, raises risk for a heart attack by 13.6 times!

    Another study found a nearly five-fold increase in chronic respiratory disease in those with poor oral health compared with healthy people. Periodontal bacteria have also been cultured from infected lung fluids and tissues.

    Periodontitis has been called, “the sixth complication of diabetes” since it is twice as prevalent in diabetics as non-diabetics and also increases insulin resistance. Treating periodontitis was able to improve levels of glycated hemoglobin, a measure of long-term blood glucose control.

    The implications of compromised oral health can even affect pregnancy. Pregnant women with periodontitis were found to be 7.5 times more likely to have a preterm low-birth-weight infant than unaffected women and that the risk of preterm birth is directly related to the severity of periodontal disease. It has also been suggested that periodontal pathogens may even be able to enter the womb.

    But, it’s not just a one-way street. Some of these chronic health conditions may, in turn, increase the incidence and severity of periodontal disease by modifying the body’s immune response to periodontal bacteria and their by-products. Thus, there is an ongoing relationship between periodontal disease and systemic diseases. The oral-systemic approach understands that the body is one integrated whole. Improving oral health directly impacts overall health and vice versa.

    Reducing Risk Factors for Gum Disease
    Healthier choices have a direct impact on your mouth. Oral health can be improved by incorporating lifestyle, dietary, nutritional and specific dental strategies. The risks for periodontal disease increase with smoking, stress, a junk food diet and lack of exercise. Scheduling semi-annual dental visits with a dental hygienist for professional cleanings makes a big difference to oral health. It is especially necessary if gingivitis and periodontal disease is suspected.

    It’s Not Your Grandma’s Toothpaste
    While tooth brushing is synonymous with flashing white teeth and a perfect smile, it is actually one of the most important strategies to ensure oral-systemic health!

    From the time most of us are old enough to hold a toothbrush, brushing our teeth was an established part of a daily hygiene ritual. When it comes to oral health, toothpaste is a crucial weapon in the fight against gum disease. But before you reach for a tube of Crest or Colgate, take a look at the list of ingredients and warnings on every tube. You just may get a shock!

    Sad to say, commercial toothpastes have literally become toxic waste dumps. Since 1998, the FDA has mandated the following warning on most commercial toothpastes, “Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.” Really . . . contact a poison control center if you swallow toothpaste?

    Most commercial toothpastes contain a long list of harmful ingredients, which include:

    Triclosan—The EPA classifies triclosan as a pesticide, stating it poses a risk to both human health and the environment, and it is suspected of causing cancer.

    Sodium Lauryl Sulfate—can damage eyes, irritate skin and lead to labored breathing. When combined with certain other chemicals it transforms into nitrosamines, known carcinogens.

    Propylene Glycol—prolonged contact leads to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.

    DEA—disrupts hormones and forms cancer-causing nitrates and can lead to increased risk of liver and kidney cancers.

    FD & C Blue Dyes 1 & 2—can cause potentially severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, nervousness, lack of concentration, and cancer.

    Sodium Fluoride—categorized as a “toxic drug” by the FDA, ingesting even a small amount of sodium fluoride may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

    Artificial Sweeteners—aspartame, saccharin and sorbitol can cause side effects that include: headaches, mood changes, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue.

    Hydrated Silica—an abrasive that can harm the enamel and prevent re-mineralization of teeth.

    SilverSol® Tooth Gel—A Powerful, Safe Solution for Oral-Systemic Health

    Your toothpaste is on the front lines as a crucial weapon, not just in the fight against gum disease but for the prevention of chronic illness. Therefore, it is vital to choose the safest product, as well as one that has been proven to be effective.

    SilverSol® Tooth Gel is a superstar in the world of toothpastes. After five years of research and development, American Biotech Labs has engineered a powerful solution called SilverSol® Tooth Gel to help keep your teeth and gums clean like never before. This family-friendly, totally non-toxic, triple action formula, uses the patented SilverSol Technology® along with USP verified xylitol and organic therapeutic grade peppermint oil. These three ingredients form a proven synergy to promote tooth and gum health.

    SilverSol® Tooth Gel is truly a family-safe toothpaste. It is free of the harmful ingredients found in other toothpastes such as fluoride, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial colors and abrasives.

    The Power of Silver
    Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” wrote in his medical texts 2500 years ago that silver had beneficial healing and anti-disease properties. He praised silver for its unique and valuable abilities. Thanks to an advanced 21st century technology, a more potent form of silver is now available in the form of a patented nano-silver technology by American Biotech Labs (U.S. Patents 7,135,195, 6,214,299, 6,746,348).

    This new form of silver is called SilverSol Technology®. Traditional silver products, such as colloidal forms, work by chemical action, requiring direct contact to have any positive effect. SilverSol® works by catalytic action, not by chemical action. This catalytic conversion allows the SilverSol® particles to work continuously without being neutralized, making this nano-silver form far more efficient than other forms of silver.

    The USP verified xylitol is another dynamic ingredient in the SilverSol® Tooth Gel that adds to its incredible triple action impact. As a healthy sweetener, xylitol is also proven in its abilities to promote mouth health. It is used in everything from toothpastes and mouthwash, to gum, and even baking. It is used by diabetics as a natural and healthy alternative sweetener to sugar that doesn’t cause their blood sugar levels to spike. Xylitol also promotes enamel re-mineralization. Studies on xylitol and its benefits in oral health have shown impressive results. Dangerous bacteria found in the mouth were unable to metabolize xylitol as a source of food and energy. In addition, they could not adhere to body tissues, especially in the mouth.

    The third powerful ingredient is therapeutic-grade organic peppermint oil, which has been used as an essential therapeutic ingredient for thousands of years. Organic peppermint oil also helps eliminate bad breath and helps teeth and gums fight off hazardous germs.

    Keith Moeller, ND, managing director of American Biotech Labs says, “This tooth gel will feel like nothing you have ever brushed your teeth with before and it contains no chemicals to make it foamy or artificial flavors. It brushes on feeling smooth and natural, and retains that feeling for hours and hours. Most people report that smooth clean feeling even lasts overnight. We did not design this product to be like any of the other toothpastes on the market. We designed it to become a new standard for clean, natural, mouth health. We believe that by promoting tooth and gum health, we can also help to naturally promote health throughout the rest of the body!”

    Oral health is a powerful predictor of your overall health. Maintaining optimal oral health will not only give you a brighter, healthier smile, but also may help you fend off many potentially deadly diseases. Swollen, bleeding gums, deep pockets and loose teeth are indications that the body’s immune response is engaged and on the attack. Researchers have uncovered potential links between periodontal disease and many serious health conditions. Bacteria that contribute to gingivitis and periodontitis provoke inflammation or infection, which can enter the blood stream and trigger certain diseases. Periodontal disease may even aggravate or worsen existing health conditions.

    Getting on a proactive track for your dental health is now a fundamental part for an overall health screening. The body’s chronic internal inflammatory response is easily identifiable through examination of the periodontal tissue. By safeguarding the health of your teeth and gums through healthy diet and lifestyle, proper brushing and flossing, and targeted nutritional strategies, you increase your odds of living a long and healthy life.

    Adding the SilverSol® Tooth Gel with its triple action approach to cleaning teeth and gums is a powerful choice that will help facilitate oral-systemic health for the entire family.

  • If you’re like millions of consumers, your toothpaste is soft, and when you brush, gives you that minty fresh taste. But if you’ve ever wondered what is in toothpaste and what makes one brand different from another, you’ll find the answers in this article.

    You'll find a variety of claims on toothpaste labels, such as gum disease toothpaste, one that fights bad breath, SLS free toothpaste, toothpaste for sensitive teeth, hydrogen peroxide toothpaste, or natural toothpaste. Toothpastes are typically made of certain ingredients that make it the paste that it is. However, there are many variations, with some more effective than others.

    In general, most toothpaste includes abrasives, binders, foaming ingredient, humectants, detergents, flavors, colors, preservatives, fluoride and water. The following is a breakdown to help describe what these ingredients are for.

    Ingredients in Toothpaste:
    1. Water —toothpaste contain between 20–42 percent water to help keep it from drying out.
    2. Abrasives —most brands contain at least 50 percent abrasives. This is one ingredient that helps your teeth get clean. Baking soda, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphates, alumina, and silica are examples of abrasives. High levels of abrasives may not be a good thing, since they can harm your teeth sensitive by weakening enamel. It's preferable to use toothpaste with a gentle abrasive. The right concentration of baking soda works best to clean teeth of stains.
    3. Fluorides —most often found active ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride. Toothpaste sold in the United States has 1000 to 1100 parts per million fluoride. Prescription toothpaste contains higher levels. Seawater averages about 1.3 parts per million (ppm). There are three types of fluoride commonly used in toothpaste:
      Sodium fluoride (NaF) is the most often type of fluoride used in toothpaste
      Stannous fluoride (SnF2) is also used. This type may stain the tooth surface yellow or brown.
      Monofluorophosphate (Na2PO3F)
      Fluoride has been very controversial from its discovery to help prevent tooth decay. Those for it are convinced that it alone can help prevent tooth decay, while others against fluoride maintain it has too many side effects that outweigh the benefits. The best way to help prevent tooth decay and have a healthy, happy smile is to eat healthy nutritious foods and brush and floss daily. You don’t need fluoride as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle and clean your teeth and gums daily.
    4. Surfactants —typically sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is used as the surfactant. This is a detergent that also acts as the foaming agent in the toothpaste. It is a harsh ingredient and it's better to find and use SLS free toothpaste.
    5. Antibacterial agents —Triclosan is one of the antibacterial medications used in toothpaste. Long-term use of any antibacterial ingredient may cause more problems than benefits by promoting antibiotic resistant bacteria. These days many personal care products are available and marketed as antibacterial. Toothpaste, dish soap, deodorants, hand and body soaps are only a few of them. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), overloading the body with these types of antimicrobial agents is what has lead to MRSA and other dangerous bacteria that are resistant to any form of antibiotics.
    6. Flavors —mint is the most common flavor along with peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen. Natural toothpaste brands often use more exotic flavors made from anise, fennel, lavender, and other plants. These types of essential oils may cause allergies and tissue irritation. Just because it’s “natural” doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
    7. Remineralization —some toothpaste are formulated to help strengthen enamel (outer surface of the tooth). Calcium phosphate is typically the ingredient used.
    8. Humectants —humectants give toothpaste texture and help to retain moisture to keep it from drying out. Glycerin, sorbitol and water are common humectants. Xylitol is the best type of humectant since it has multiple benefits, including increasing the flow of saliva, which helps prevent dry mouth, and also has been shown in early reports to help prevent tooth decay.
    9. Thickeners —carrageenan, cellulose gum, guar gum and xanthan gum are common thickening agents. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity who want to avoid gluten, xanthan gum is a safe alternative. Irritation from this ingredient is rare, with the most common side effect being bloating or gas. This would normally occur by ingesting large quantities of xanthan gum, which would be much higher than what is usually used for toothpaste. Those allergic to soy or corn may want to choose a different type of thickening agent. If inhaled in powder form, xanthan gum can cause respiratory distress.
    10. Preservatives —to help prevent microorganisms from growing in toothpaste, certain preservatives are added. These may include sodium benzoate, methyl paraben, and ethyl paraben. Between the three common preservatives, sodium benzoate is the safest. Some “natural” toothpaste use citric acid. Too much citric acid may cause side effects such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
    11. Sweeteners—to improve the taste of toothpaste, especially those containing the horrible taste of sodium lauryl sulfate, such sweeteners as saccharin, stevia or xylitol are added. The best form is xylitol, since it does have many benefits for a healthy mouth, as stated earlier.
    12. Coloring agents —artificial dyes and coloring agents are not uncommon in most commercial toothpaste. Titanium dioxide may also be used to make toothpaste white. It’s best to avoid toothpaste with artificial dyes and colorings.

    Most people don’t give much thought to what toothpaste is made of. Toothpaste has come a long way, from the cavemen using tree resin to ground fish bones, pumice, and sand, to toothpaste, as we know it today.

    Don’t be fooled by label claims, but read the ingredients and decide for yourself which toothpaste is best for you. Ultimately it’s the action of the toothbrush that helps remove the plaque, that yucky film that builds on the teeth and gums every day. But choosing the perfect safe toothpaste with flavor that you like can definitely put a smile on your face.

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