Integrative Health Blog

7 Ways to Improve Your Dental Care

Posted by on Wed, May 29, 2013

Michelle Janbakhsh DDS

Oral Disease Affects Most Everyone

Dental diseases are the most prevalent chronic infectious diseases in the world, affecting up to 90% of school children and the vast majority of adults.

The oral cavity is a biologic soup and our teeth are a part of this dynamic environment. This environment constantly goes under a cycle reaction of de-mineralization & re-mineralization. Each acidic food or drink makes the oral PH acidic and the teeth structure will de-mineralize. Also pathogenic bacteria on the surface of the enamel continually reduces the PH resulting in de-mineralization localized chemical dissolution of the dental structure.  These metabolic events take place in the biofilm, also called dental plaque, that covers the affected area. Additionally, it is important to know that bacteria found in dental decay is transmissible through saliva.

Healthy Saliva Maintains Healthy Teeth and Gums

Healthy saliva can buffer the acids from the plaque and acidic condition when stimulated. The stimulated saliva PH increases to 7.8 that help in "de-mineralization – re-mineralization" cycle.  As the PH recovers, the de-mineralized structure can re-mineralize using the dissolved minerals. However, when there is an imbalance in the system, the re-mineralization process will not occur and the dissolution of the tooth structure will take place.

Patients with dry mouth (such as in Sjogren’s  syndrome, cancer radiation therapy, or a side effect of medication) are especially more susceptible in developing cavities/ oral disease.

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Tags: biological dentistry, dental health, plaque, biofilm

Is There a Good Sugar?

Posted by on Mon, Nov 19, 2012

Laurie DeRosa RDH

XYLITOL is a natural ingredient that can help to reduce bacteria and fight tooth decay.  It first became popular in Europe as an alternative for people with diabetes.  It is found in natural resources such as birch trees, corn, vegetables and fruits.   The most common source today is corn cobs and corn stalks.  The body makes 5-10 grams of xylitol every day.

How Xylitol Works

Xylitol works by preventing the bad bacteria in your mouth from making acids.  When this occurs the bacteria cannot stick to each other or our teeth.  The bacteria cannot talk to each other thereby preventing the formation of biofilm.  Research shows that xylitol starves the unhealthy bacteria which allows the mouth to re-mineralize teeth that are damaged, which in turn makes the teeth better able to resist decay.

Xylitol is safe for diabetics, has a glycemic index of 7, and does not use insulin for metabolism. It has only 9.6 calories per teaspoon vs. 15 calories for regular sugar.

Since the bacteria that causes tooth decay is transmissible it has been recommended that a mother use Xylitol daily for the first two years of their child’s life.  Children whose mother used Xylitol are less likely to need teeth restored at age five.

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Tags: integrative health, dental health, plaque, biofilm

What's In your Mouth that Affects your Health?

Posted by on Mon, Aug 06, 2012

Laurie DeRosa RDH

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Tags: biological dentistry, integrative health, integrative medicine, dental health, periodontal disease, plaque, biofilm, integrated health

Biofilm, Plaque and Your Dental Health

Posted by on Tue, Feb 21, 2012

Laurie DeRosa RDH

First, what is biofilm?

Biofilm is a collection of many types of bacteria surrounded by a slimy substance that can stick to most everything.  Biofilms can be found in our bathrooms, on our kitchen countertops, cutting boards and yes, the kitchen sink.

Over 900 types of bacteria can live in our mouths but not all at the same time. There are usually 100-200 species on different surfaces at any given time.  The bacteria on our teeth are different than those on the gums, cheek and tongue. Different sides of a single tooth can have different biofilms. 

The plaque that forms on our teeth is a type of biofilm.  Biofilms play an important role in the health of your mouth.  Basically, biofilms are bacterial cells that  will  team up on and around your teeth and under your gums forming clusters of unhealthy bacteria. If left alone, these bacteria will become toxic.   The cells actually feed off each other and if left undisturbed, will multiply and can cause periodontal disease.  

So how do I get this plaque biofilm off my teeth?

Daily brushing and flossing is the best way.  The surfaces of the teeth and gums need to stay consistently clean in order to keep the bacteria from becoming toxic.

You need to see your dental hygienist regularly so that any plaque that has worked its way down into your gums can be removed.  If it is left down under for too long plaque will harden.  You may have heard the terms "calculus" or "tartar" from your hygienist or tv commercials.  This is what plaque is called after it hardens.  Tartar is unhealthy and cannot be removed at home.  It will cause inflammation which can destroy the gums.   It only takes 24 hours for plaque to harden.  Left on the teeth and surrounding gums for too long leads to gum disease

How can I prevent gum disease?

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Tags: dental health, periodontal disease, plaque, biofilm, gum disease