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tooth decay

  • Tooth decay usually begins on the outer layer of the tooth called enamel. You may notice a white spot on your tooth and wonder what it is. This white spot or area of decalcification indicates calcium is leaching from your tooth. The spots initially cause no harm, except for the appearance, especially if it’s on your front tooth. The area signifies loss of minerals, which weakens the enamel and eventually can lead to tooth decay. As the decay progresses you may feel pain, and need a root canal or lose the tooth.

    What you may not hear from your dentist is this stage of decalcification is reversible. Proper home care is just one of the ways to remineralize and reverse the tooth decay process.

    Cause of White Spots
    To understand how to reverse tooth decay we need to find out first what all the causes of decalcification are.

    The main cause of decalcification is accumulation of plaque that is not removed on a daily bases through proper oral hygiene care. Plaque contains acid produced by the arch enemy of a healthy mouth known as Streptococcus Mutans. Plaque, which is the film felt on your teeth a few hours after brushing, contains this harmful enemy. This bacteria feeds on sugars in the mouth and produces acid by-products.

    If not cleaned properly, after just 24 hours plaque starts to cause problems. Within three weeks the acids from plaque cause damage and possibly the white spots, depending on how strong the enamel layer is. If the white spots are left unattended the acid breaks through the enamel and decay goes into the deeper layers of the tooth.

    Areas Most Often Affected by White Spots
    Wearing braces makes it difficult to brush your teeth properly, especially under and around brackets. Once the braces are removed, you or your child may have straight teeth, but you may also be greeted by several white spots where the brackets were. If you have a daily habit of drinking high acid content drinks, you are susceptible to white spots. These can be carbonated sodas or popular sports drinks. Some brands of tooth whitening strips can also demineralize the enamel layer. Some people like the quick whitening effect of these strips and may use them continuously for months. These strips can also be highly acidic and therefore damage teeth.

    People who suffer with acid reflux condition or bulimia expose their teeth to acid. Sucking on lemons, drinking water with high levels of lemons or sipping apple cider vinegar are more ways to saturate your teeth with acid.

    Nutritional deficiency could be another cause of white spots. People with gluten intolerance may only eat unsprouted grains, which creates phytic acid, which stops the absorption of minerals.

    Tips on Reversing Tooth Decay
    The good news is these decalcified areas can be remineralized. Remineralization does not happen overnight. It normally takes two to four months before you notice improvement, depending on how diligent you are in your daily care. For the white spot to completely reverse, it may take up to 12 months. Below are some tips to help remineralize your teeth:

    1. Correct your diet. Stay away or minimize high acid content foods and drinks such as:
    Carbonated sodas like Coke, Pepsi, etc. Some of these beverages not only are high in sugar, but also phosphoric acid, which is used by dentists to acid etch teeth before filling them.

    • Sports drinks.
    • Acidifying grains such as: white flour, rice, wheat, wheat germ and cornstarch.
    • Acid producing animal protein such as red meat, shrimp and oysters.
    • Sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
    • Beverages such as orange juice, apple cider and lemonade.
    • Cheese.

    2. Minimize dry mouth. The drier the mouth, the more likely you are to have tooth damage by acid.

    • Saliva is extremely important for the health of the teeth and supporting tissues. It prevents infection by maintaining a neutral pH of the mouth, therefore helping to protect against acid attack by harmful bacteria.
    • Dry mouth can be caused by certain prescription and nonprescription medications for treatment of depression, pain, allergies, and many others.
    • Dry mouth can also be due to certain medical conditions such as HIV/ AIDS, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, stroke, Sjorgren’s syndrome, fibromyalgia and others.
    • Simply not drinking enough water can bring about dehydration and dry mouth. Make sure to drink plenty of water and keep your mouth moist.
    • Tobacco products can effect saliva production and cause dry mouth.
    • Mouth breathing is another way to cause dry mouth.
    • To minimize dry mouth, suck on xylitol mints or chew xylitol gum; brush with xylitol toothpaste; breathe through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible; use a room vaporizer to add moisture to your room; use an over-the-counter saliva substitute, if needed.

    3. Practice excellent home hygiene care.
    • Tooth enamel has no nutrients goings through it, similar to your nails. It’s mostly (96 percent) made of minerals. This layer is only 2–3 mm in thickness. Once acid penetrates it, it is understandable how it quickly can become damaged. Poor diet, high in acid content foods and beverages, and poor oral hygiene can cause enamel to
    • weaken over months and eventually turn into tooth decay.
    • Proper flossing and brushing, especially with xylitol toothpaste, can help bring about remineralization of enamel. As the mouth is kept at a neutral pH, acid attack on enamel is minimized and the enamel layer is allowed to remineralize.

    In conclusion, you can strengthen the enamel with just a few daily proper practices and foregoing old bad habits. The enamel layer of your teeth is in a constant flow of remineralization and demineralization. If it is demineralizing more rapidly than remineralizing you develop white spots and eventually tooth decay.

    You can bring about remineralization of the enamel layer through maintaining a neutral pH oral environment by using xylitol containing dental products, and eating nutritious foods and supplements such as:

    • Calcium and vitamin D.
    • Vitamin K2 is essential for bone growth and mineral absorption.
    • Using only sea salt, which contains many trace minerals.
    • Home made broths containing low acid vegetables and/or chicken.
    • Avoiding processed, high acid beverages and simple carbohydrate and sugary foods.

    A healthy beautiful smile does require a balanced lifestyle, but it’s well worth it.

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    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

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    • 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.
    • With all the benefits of Silver Biotics Silver Technology built right into the gel, you'll feel the difference.
    • 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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    References:

    1. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/77/23/6777
    2. http://jb.asm.org/content/192/19/5002
  • Just like your body depends on certain nutrients to stay in good shape, the health of your teeth and gums are affected by what you eat. Certain foods can help increase the risk of tooth decay and promote plaque buildup, while other foods play a significant role in preventing tooth and gum disease, including bone loss.

    Eating healthy foods can help improve oral health by changing the pH of the environment in your mouth. The more acidic the environment of your mouth becomes, the more harmful bacteria thrive. It's important to learn and choose what foods will result in healthy teeth and gums, and which foods will cause you to hide your smile. This article will help you learn the best and worst foods for oral health.

    Low Versus High Glycemic Foods
    The glycemic index ranks foods from 1 to 100 based on their effect on blood sugar levels. Most people love carbohydrates, such as breads, cakes, sugar, and starchy foods like potatoes. These are the same type of foods that don't promote a healthy mouth and are ranked with a high glycemic index (GI).

    The health of your teeth and gums depend on how much plaque builds up and what you do about it. Plaque is a sticky material that mostly contains bacteria and food. Bacteria break down carbohydrates and sugar and convert them into acid, leading to tooth decay and gum problems. If not treated, a small tooth decay or even decalcified (area where minerals are leached out, weakening the tooth surface) area can become a tooth abscess.

    Maintaining a diet consisting mostly of low to moderate GI foods is best.

    • Low GI (under 55) foods include beans, barley, pasta, most fruits, juices, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and dairy products.
    • Moderate GI (56 to 69) include foods such as whole wheat and brown rice, corn, table sugar, honey, soda, sweet potatoes, bananas, mangos, and papaya.
    • High GI (70 to 100) include white bread, white rice, instant oatmeal, most breakfast cereals, potatoes, and melons.

    High GI foods and how they affect oral health have been studied for many years, starting with Dr. Weston Price in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Dr. Price reported that tooth decay was proportional to the type of food the teeth were exposed to. The more refined the food, the more prevalence of tooth decay.

    It's best to stick to whole types of foods with a low GI, and save the high GI foods for very rare occasions. There are many sites that include a list of foods and their GI index, including the newsletter from Harvard Medical School.

    Supplements for Healthy Teeth and Gums
    Supplements are important for the body as well as your teeth and gums:

    1. Calcium—important for building strong teeth and bone. If your body needs calcium, it gets it from your bones. With weak bone, teeth become loose. This is why you need adequate amounts in supplement form or from your diet. From your diet, it's included in sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, cabbage, almonds and fortified orange juice.
    2. Phosphorus—important for strong teeth.
    3. Zinc—helps with immune function and soft tissues.
    4. Antioxidants—help with health of soft tissue and immune function. Helps fight off and prevent harmful free radicals. Foods high in antioxidants include blackberries, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries, artichoke hearts, and cranberries, small red beans, red kidney beans, prunes, pecan, and apples.
    5. Vitamin C—important for healthy gums, helps with connective tissues, collagen formation, and immune system. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruit, broccoli, kale and berries.
    6. B- vitamins—help with stress and they help fight inflammation. Beans, legumes and green vegetables are high in vitamin B. Vitamin D helps regulate blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. With inadequate vitamin D, your body can't absorb calcium. Milk and cod liver oil are great sources of vitamin D
    7. Coenzyme Q10—provides energy to help heal wounds, digest food and maintain healthy muscles. For healthy gums, it's been reported to help with bleeding gums and to reduce inflammation. You can get coenzyme Q10 from pork, beef, chicken liver, and soybean. Parsley also is a good source, which can help fight bad breath.
    8. Probiotics—from any source, probiotics may help decrease periodontal disease, gingivitis and plaque.
    Sweeteners
    • Sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame (Equal) don't appear to cause cavities, however, artificial sweeteners are controversial as far as general health.
    • Xylitol has shown promise in helping to prevent tooth decay. Studies report chewing gum with xylitol after meals decreases the risk of tooth decay.
    Stevia is a natural sweetener that doesn't appear to have any negative effects on oral health, but not enough research has been completed to determine if it is helpful for oral health.

    Tips for Healthy, Beautiful Smile
    No matter how healthy your diet is oral hygiene cannot be neglected. The following are important tips for a healthy smile, no matter what age you are.

    • Daily oral hygiene routine—Floss and brush daily. Within 24 hours bacteria start to cause damage. Floss first and then brush with a xylitol toothpaste that contains calcium pyrophosphate. This helps reverse decalcified areas that have been attacked by bacteria. If you remove plaque daily and adequately, your risk of poor oral health decreases.
    • Avoid smoking and tobacco products—These products can cause major problems in your mouth, not to mention risk of oral cancer.
    • Eat healthy snacks—Chew on raw vegetables and fruit in between meals. American Dental Association reports that 23 million children and teens are overweight or obese. This increases the risk of serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
    • After meals—Chew xylitol gum.
    • Limit high GI foods—Beverages and food high in sugar and simple carbohydrates bring about an acidic pH in your mouth, which harmful bacteria love and thrive on.
    • Manage stress—Get regular exercise to boost your immune system and get the blood circulating. Exercise helps strengthen bones, which are an important part of your teeth and their supporting structure.
    • Vegetables—Your meals should contain half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
    • Grains—Stick with whole grains such as whole wheat bread and brown rice.
    • Dairy—Low-fat or fat-free dairy foods are best for adults.
    • Protein—Lean protein options are important for a balanced meal. These include lean beef, skinless poultry and fish.
    • Empty Calories—Candy, mints, cookies, cakes and chips are among the enemy list of oral health. Minimize or totally take them off your list of foods.
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