The complete guide to great oral health

By Southcommon Dental, Oral Health Foundation

Besides brushing, here are other important steps to maintain great oral health. Check out the complete guide below. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Brushing

Regularly and thoroughly brushing your teeth is an important step in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. When you brush your teeth, you remove the bacteria that promotes tooth decay and the plaque that can cause gum disease.

How to brush your teeth:

  • Angle your brush at 45 degrees relative to where your gums and teeth meet. Brush up and down with a gentle and circular massaging motion. Don’t scrub your teeth as gums that recede are often a result of years of brushing too hard.
  • Clean the entire surface of every tooth. Make sure you get the chewing surface, the cheek side, and the tongue side.
  • Don’t rush the process. A thorough cleaning should take at least two minutes. Time yourself occasionally to make sure you are meeting the mark.
  • Pick a soft brush with rounded bristles. The exact size and shape should let you reach the teeth at the very back of your mouth. There are many different types of brushes, so ask your dentist to suggest the best one for you.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months.

Interdental cleaning

Interdental cleaning removes plaque and bacteria that cannot be reached with tooth brushing alone. If you don’t regularly clean between your teeth you are missing more than one-third of your tooth surfaces, this allows plaque to build up.

Clean between your teeth at least once a day, either with dental floss or tape, interdental brushes or an electric water flosser, to ensure that plaque never gets the chance to harden into tartar.

  • Hold the interdental brush between your thumb and forefinger. Gently place the brush through the gap between your teeth.
  • Do not force the brush head through the gap. If the brush splays or bends then it is too big – a smaller brush head will be needed.
  • Interdental brushes come in various sizes. It may be helpful to ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the correct sizes for your mouth.

Avoid certain substances

  • Harmful oral bacteria feeds on sugar. By reducing sugar intake, you can reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. If you insist on eating sugary foods, try to keep it to mealtimes and do not brush immediately after.
  • Be wary of acidic foods and drinks. Acid strips tooth enamel of its minerals. Over time, enamel damage leaves the sensitive interior structure of teeth unprotected against cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to irritations of the tissues inside the mouth, including the tongue and slower healing and poor healing after dental or oral surgery.
  • Smoking also has harmful effects on your teeth. When you smoke, you interfere with the normal function of gum tissue cells and affect the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. This leaves you more susceptible to infections and impairs blood flow to the gums.

Visit your dentist regularly

  • The body naturally builds up plaque and calculus and if it’s not removed, it embeds underneath the gum tissues and quietly causes periodontal disease. It doesn’t hurt but it silently produces enzymes that dissolve away the bones.
  • A little cavity can be managed with a simple filling. A big cavity becomes a big problem. In its biggest stage, it can cause suffering and swelling but also the loss of a tooth. Regular checkups with your dentist allow you to catch cavities before they turn into big problems.
  • There is a strong correlation between gum disease and heart disease. Sugar and starch on the teeth produces billions of bacteria that ends up in the blood stream. While bacteria normally exists in the mouth, gum disease increases the level of bacteria dramatically and it gets carried through the blood and can end up lodged in the heart and clog blood vessels.

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Bottled Water or Tap? Considerations for your Choice

By Campaign Dental Health

Do you use bottled water or tap? Your decision should be made based on the amount of FLUORIDE in water. The Oral Surgery DC Team 

 

The New York Times published a fun interactive quiz in late October, Bottled Water or Tap: How Much Does Your Choice Matter? It takes the reader through a series of questions, mostly to gauge knowledge, but also to show us the environmental impact of our personal habits. It’s the kind of activity most of us avoid because, by the end, we’ll inevitably feel guilty.

Most health advocates promote drinking water over sugar sweetened beverages. Many urge tap water over bottled water. That’s the best way to benefit from the prevention provided by the fluoride that is added to community water systems serving about 75% of us. (Most bottled water does not contain the optimal level of fluoride to protect teeth.)

As a result of the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan and the fight to protect the safety of the water at Standing Rock, there is growing awareness of long-ignored water issues around the country, from basic water safety to something we now know as water poverty. The U.S. still has some of the safest drinking water on the planet, but eroding trust means that we are at risk of drinking less of it.

Taste and cultural customs also motivate many people to choose bottled water over tap. People coming to this country from places where the water was not safe, by necessity, drank only bottled water. That is a custom that continues for generations after families have settled here. And, safe though it may be, water in some places simply doesn’t taste good.

And then there is this. Soda companies invest millions of dollars in campaigns to defeat soda taxes that are designed to discourage people from buying and consuming sugar sweetened beverages. (They have also funded successful efforts to influence health organizations.) These taxes are being imposed more widely to help abate the dramatic increase we are experiencing in obesity and Type 2 diabetes, especially among children. The rates of these diseases are highest in the very populations that the industry targets most – low income neighborhoods and racial and ethnic minorities.

Back to the quiz: the environmental impact of manufacturing, transporting and disposing of our plastic bottles is a consideration that drives more and more people to carry refillable water bottles around.

So is bottled water a bad choice, the villain? There are lots of reasons why it isn’t as good at tap water for most of us.  However,  for people who are substituting water for soda, or people who whose water is decidedly unsafe, or people who are exploring whether or not to trust what comes from the tap, bottled water is a compromise that we live with until everyone’s right to healthful water is guaranteed.

 

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The Power of Sour on Your Teeth

By Media Planet

You know that weird coating you get on your teeth and tongue when you eat certain candies? Sour foods can be just as damaging to your teeth as sweets due to their high acidity! Learn more about the damage they can cause. The Oral Surgery DC Team 

It’s not a pretty picture

Sucking and chewing sour candies has become a popular and seemingly harmless treat, especially among children, teens and young adults.

In fact, the acid in sour candies weakens and wears away tooth enamel, which is essential to healthy teeth. In some cases, the damage can be very severe and lead to permanent tooth loss.

The hard facts about sour candies

  • In the past 20 years, candies mar keted to children have increasingly been of a “fruity” or “sour” variety.
  • Sour candies are very acidic, with a low pH level (see chart).
  • Some candy is so acidic it can actually burn gums and cheeks.
  • Acid weakens and wears away tooth enamel.
  • Teeth without protective enamel are prone to tooth decay.
  • Each acid attack lasts about 20 minutes.
  • Holding the acid in your mouth by prolonged candy sucking or chewing continues the acid attack.

The signs of tooth erosion

  • You may not notice tooth erosion in its early stages. However, sensitivity and discoloration are early warning signs that can lead to more severe stages with continued acid attacks.
  • Warning signs of tooth erosion include:
  • Sensitivity occurs when tooth enamel wears away. You may feel a twinge of pain when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
  • Discoloration is visible as a slight yellow appearance on the tooth surface.
  • Transparency of the front teeth appears along the biting edges.
  • Rounding of teeth occurs along the surfaces and edges of the teeth.
  • Cracks and roughness appear along the edges of the teeth.
  • Dents (known as cupping) develop on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. At this severe stage, fillings may actually appear to rise up.
  • Tooth decay is caused by loss of the protective outermost layer of enamel.

How to protect your teeth

  • The best protection against tooth erosion is preventing acid attacks on your teeth. Eliminating or decreasing consumption of sour candies is the fi rst line of defense against potential permanent damage of your teeth.
  • Reduce or eliminate consumption of sour candies.
  • Don’t suck or chew sour candies for long periods of time. Ongoing sucking prolongs acid attacks on your teeth.
  • If you do eat a sour candy, swish your mouth with water, drink milk, or eat cheese afterwards to neutral – ize the acids.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to produce saliva which protects tooth enamel.
  • After eating sour candy or other acidic food or drinks, wait one hour before brushing teeth. Brushing right away increases the harmful effects of acid on teeth.
  • Ask your dentist about ways to reduce sensitivity or minimize enamel loss if erosion has begun.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush to protect your teeth.

     

     

     

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Nine Steps to Take When Your Permanent Tooth Gets Knocked Out of Your Mouth

By Oral Answers

😬 Tooth knocked out? Immediately put it in milk since it will help the tooth survive longer. Then call us ASAP → (202) 610-0600 Have you ever had a tooth knocked out? Tell us your story!  The Oral Surgery DC Team

No matter how careful people are, there always seems to be a way to knock out a tooth. When a tooth gets knocked out, the technical name for this condition is called tooth avulsion. Unfortunately, when a tooth gets knocked out, panic ensues. There may be many people around who “know what to do” and want to help you save your tooth.

It is true that once a tooth gets knocked out, it can successfully be re-implanted and return to normal function. However the key lies in what happens during the critical period while the tooth is outside of your mouth. Here, I offer nine simple steps to take when your tooth gets knocked out to keep it healthy so that it can return to its favorite past-time of chewing delicious meals.

As a general rule, the sooner a tooth can get back into its socket inside the mouth, the better chance it has to survive long-term.

1. When a tooth gets knocked out, it is important to pick it up while only touching the crown of the tooth (the crown is the part of the tooth that is normally visible inside your mouth.)  If you can’t find the tooth try as hard as you can to find it.  Although aspiration rarely occurs, it is possible that the tooth could’ve been inadvertently breathed in by the accident victim.

2. Next, rinse off the tooth very gently with tap water, saliva (spit), or saline solution. It is important not to scrub the root of the tooth (the root is the part of the tooth that is normally hidden below the gums in your mouth and is more yellow than the crown.) Many people think it is important to scrub the tooth to get all of the germs off. However, if you scrub the tooth, you could scrub away the periodontal ligament or the cementum, which both help to hold the tooth in the socket. By scrubbing them away, you will reduce the chances of the tooth permanently re-attaching itself inside the mouth. Soap and chemicals such as bleach will damage the cells that are left on the tooth which could make successful re-implantation impossible.

3. Try to put the tooth gently back in its socket and steadily hold it there. Sometimes, people may not know exactly how to put the tooth back in or there may be doubts about how to put it back in. Other times, the person who had the tooth knocked out isn’t cooperative enough to allow the tooth to be re-implanted. In this case, go to step #4.

Before putting the tooth back in the mouth, make sure that you are dealing with a permanent tooth, you could end up damaging the developing permanent tooth if you try to re-implant a baby tooth back on top of it. If you’re not sure, it is best to not try to re-implant the tooth, simply go to step #4 below.

You also want to make sure that you have the whole tooth. If it fractured somewhere along the root, you might want to wait to have the dentist look at it first to see if the tooth can be saved. In this case, go to step #4 below.

4. If you can’t put the tooth back in for any reason, you need to put the tooth into an appropriate solution to keep it healthy. The goal is to keep the tooth moist. There are a variety of solutions that will work to store the tooth, however some are better than others.

The absolute best place to store a tooth is in a balanced salt solution.A good way to get a balanced salt solution is by purchasing the Save-A-Tooth Emergency Tooth Preserving System. Many schools and athletic facilities have the Save-A-Tooth or a similar system readily available in the event of an accident. You can learn more about tooth avulsion at this page.

The next best place to store the tooth is in milk because it is fairly biologically compatible with teeth and doesn’t contain too many bacteria. Milk has been proven to keep the periodontal ligament cells healthy in studies such as this one by Dr. Martin Trope.

You should avoid storing the tooth in pure water as this will cause the periodontal ligament cells to die. Another place to avoid storing the tooth is in your mouth since it contains a lot of bacteria, lacks the optimum electrolyte balance, and has an incompatible pH (acidity) for the periodontal ligament cells.

You should never dry the tooth off or store it in a towel or tissue since the cells on the root of the tooth need to remain wet in order to stay alive.

5. Go to the dentist. The dentist will be able to help you determine if the tooth is in good enough condition to return to full function. If the tooth looks good, then the dentist will take some x-rays to determine if optimum healing will be able to occur. The dentist will then be able to splint (attach) the tooth to the teeth next to it so it can be immobilized and have proper support for healing to take place.If the tooth has been out of the mouth for more than 20 minutes, then the dentist will need to soak the tooth in a balanced salt solution for about a half hour and then put it in an antibiotic before re-implanting it. The salt solution helps to keep the periodontal ligament cells alive and reduces the chance of them dying and your tooth attaching directly to bone (a condition known as ankylosis, which has a variety of problems associated with it — I’ll get into that in a future article.)

6. Take antibiotics and get a tetanus booster shot if you haven’t had one in the past five to ten years. Because it would be impossible to sterilize the tooth before re-implanting it without killing the cells in the tooth, you will probably end up introducing a small amount of bacteria into your body. To be on the safe side, your dentist will probably prescribe you 7-10 days’ worth of antibiotics. Also, if you haven’t had a tetanus booster shot in the past five to ten years, you should go to your doctor to get one.

7. After 7-10 days, go back to the dentist. The dentist will then remove the splint. Studies have shown that if the splint is kept on the teeth for more than 7-10 days, there is a good chance that cells in your body will start to eat away at the root of the tooth (a process known as root resorption).

However, there is an exception to this rule. If the tooth was knocked out of an adolescent, then there is a possibility that the pulp inside the tooth will also heal. To allow this to happen, it is recommended to keep the splint attached for three to four weeks in younger teeth.

8. Bite carefully until the tooth heals. The tooth will still be slightly movable when the dentist removes the splint. It is necessary to remove the splint this early because if the splint is left in too long, there are complications that can arise.

9. Hope for the best and return to your dentist often. If the tooth is young, the pulp may heal. If the tooth is a few years old and is fully formed, the pulp will probably not survive. In these cases, the tooth can still be successfully re-implanted, but it will need to have a root canal treatment performed where the dead pulp tissue is removed and replaced with a compatible material. Also, the tooth may get eaten away a little bit by the cells around the periodontal ligament.

The roots on teeth that have been re-implanted have a tendency to slowly dissolve, so it is important that your dentist take exam the tooth at six month intervals to monitor the status of the tooth.

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Foods That Fight Mouth Bacteria

By SFGATE

🍎🍏 FUN FACT: Apples help kill bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath! Learn more about other foods that fight bacteria. The Oral Surgery DC team

An apple is a natural tooth cleaner. The fiber content of the skin gently scraps plaque from the surface of your teeth. Its high water content keeps it from sticking to your enamel and it gives you vitamins that promote healthy gum tissue. Other foods are good tools for oral health as well, offering benefits similar to those of apples, but also providing anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Some stop the growth of existing bacteria in your mouth and some even kill the pathogens that can cause infections and periodontal disease.

Cranberries

Cranberry juice may help stop plaque from forming in your mouth. According to a group of researchers from Israel who published their findings in the “Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy” in 2004, cranberry juice helps stop the growth of biofilms, collections of microorganisms that grow on your teeth and cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. Because previous studies had shown that non-dialysable material in cranberry juice stops the growth of a variety of oral bacteria, the researchers believe that its ability to keep biofilms from collecting may add to the cranberry’s benefits to your oral health.

Grape products

Dr. Christine Wu, of the College of Dentistry at University of Illinois, has conducted a series of studies on the effect of grape products on teeth. In one of them, published in the “Journal of Nutrition” in 2009, she says that raisins contain antimicrobial compounds that can keep oral pathogens from growing, preventing dental diseases. She also tested grape seed extract and found that it promotes remineralization of tooth enamel after root procedures. Grapes, which are rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, iron, potassium, calcium and B vitamins, promote general health, she adds, which is also beneficial for oral health.

Blackberries

Blackberries may kill pathogens that cause periodontal infections, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina and University of Kentucky. In 2012, they published a study in the “Journal of Periodontal Research” in which they subjected 10 types of mouth bacteria to blackberry extract and found that it offers more than just anti-inflammatory benefits. The compound, they concluded, also showed anti-viral activity, as well as antibacterial properties that reduced the amount of damaging pathogens that cause periodontal disease.

Garlic

Garlic is known for giving people bad breath, but its antimicrobial properties may make it a good tool to kill mouth bacteria. According to researchers from South Yorkshire, UK, who published a study in the “Archives of Oral Biology,” garlic contains allicin, which inhibits the activity of a compound that causes periodontitis. Garlic also fights gingivalis, a bacteria associated with periodontal disease. The researchers suggest that garlic extract or allicin may be helpful for preventing or treating some types of oral disease.

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The Evolution of the Toothbrush

By Irma Wallace, Infographic Journal

🐴 Can you imagine brushing your teeth with horse hair?! Take a look at just how far the toothbrush has come. The Oral Surgery DC team

Attention to dental hygiene dates all the way back to 3500 BCE with the Chew Stick in Egypt and Babylonia. Centuries later, we have seen tremendous advances in the dental hygiene industry. Check out this Evolution of the Toothbrush by Fortis to understand the incredible transformation of the dental hygiene industry from 3500 BCE until today.

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Why Sharks Don’t Get Cavities

By Megan Garber, The Atlantic 

Should sharks be our role models for oral hygiene? Learn about the two species with “toothpaste-teeth”! The Oral Surgery DC team

Sharks live lives that are, to human sensibilities, mostly unenviable. The creatures are constantly moving. They are hunted by predators far higher than they are on the food chain. They are often made to dine on manmade trash. They are totally oblivious to the subtler plot points of Orange Is the New Black.

But sharks, as a group, do have one evolutionary leg (fin?) up on us humans — one that has nothing to do with the terrifying sharpness of their enormous teeth and everything to do with the evolutionary resilience of those teeth. Sharks, it turns out, can’t get cavities.

In part, that puts sharks in company with most non-human animals. While creatures who don’t have access to Colgate have dental problems just like we do — among them tartar buildup that can cause gum disease — cavities are a largely human affliction, the result (for the most part) of our affinity for sugar.

What makes sharks unique, however, is that their teeth seem to be coated in fluoride. Yes: coated in fluoride. According to research published last year in the Journal of Structural Biology, at least two species of sharks, makos and tiger sharks, feature teeth whose outer coatings “contained one hundred percent fluoride.” Which is a nice cuspid coup. It’d be, for us, essentially like walking around with a perma-coating of toothpaste on our teeth.

While the Structural Biology research focused only on the two species, the makos and tiger sharks were chosen precisely because they feed in such different ways: makos rip the flesh off their prey, messily, while tiger sharks use their teeth to neatly slice through their meals. Since both species feature toothpaste-teeth, there’s reason to believe that those teeth are a feature enjoyed by other shark species, as well. And the choppers don’t just protect sharks against tooth decay: since teeth coated with fluoroapatites are less water-soluble than hydroxyapatites— the stuff that coats most mammals’ teeth, including our own — sharks’ teeth are also particularly suited to their underwater environment.

So take a moment to appreciate the elegantly Darwinian design of shark teeth. Then push your thoughts of those teeth aside to where they belong: your nightmares.

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Chocolate: A Superfood for Your Teeth

By Ask the Dentist 

🍫 Who says chocolate isn’t good for you? The antibacterial effects of chocolate can help protect against tooth decay. Sounds too good to be true? The Oral Surgery DC Team. 

A dentist recommending chocolate? Yes, that’s right, you read correctly.

Recent studies emerging from Japan, England, and the U.S. support the fact that chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay in the mouth.

Dark chocolate (I can’t speak for sugary milk chocolate) doesn’t deserve its bad rap as a cavity-causing treat. It may actually help prevent cavities!

And here’s where the gauntlet gets thrown down. Compounds in chocolate may be more effective at fighting decay than fluoride. Researchers are predicting that one day, the compound found in chocolate called CBH will be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste.

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acids, which eat away at the tooth’s surface and cause cavities. Compounds in the cocoa bean husk have an anti-bacterial effect and also fight against plaque. This makes chocolate less harmful than many other sweet foods your dentist might warn you against because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels.

This research has even revealed that the cocoa extract is more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities. To many, this is shocking news, but for me that’s not saying much. I’m not a big fan of ingesting fluoride, and I think it has long been over-hyped (more on that in future posts).

The compound CBH, a white crystalline powder whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden tooth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay. This specific compound has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will it will take another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale (in the form of mouthwashes and toothpastes).

In the mean time, however, one can “administer” this compound via the ingestion of chocolate. Eating 3-4 oz of chocolate a day is a great way to take advantage of this wonder compound and lower your chance of getting cavities. What an easy and fun recommendation a doctor can make; it’s been called the food of the gods, a supposed aphrodisiac, and the drink that Casanova favored.

Now, before you reach for that Snickers bar, listen to this:

For the best therapeutic effect (yes, I’m still talking about chocolate), it’s best to chew on cacao nibs. Most will find this option unpalatable.

The second best choice, is dark chocolate with less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving – organic if possible. Be aware that chocolate is a calorie-rich food, so modify your calorie intake accordingly.
Raw chocolate is even a better choice, as it it less processed, and more of the antioxidants are left intact.

Do all of this for your teeth, but enjoy the other benefits of mood elevation and better blood flow as well!

With the recent findings, it’s now more true than ever, that chocolate is a superfood. Chocolate has over 300 chemical compounds in it, making it one of the most complex foods we know of, and I predict that many new compounds in chocolate beneficial to us will surface over time and cement its nutritional five star rating.

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The Secret To Better Teeth Found In Beer Breweries

By Jason Tetro, Popular Science

🍻 Are beer hops the secret to superior oral health? The Oral Surgery DC team. 

On St. Patrick’s Day, millions of people worldwide will raise their beer glasses and offer a cheer to the patron saint of Ireland in hopes of better fortunes in the future. While the majority of toasts will involve personal happiness, friendship and wealth, there is another blessing that could come from buying the sudsy symbol: better teeth and overall health.

Though there may be a bounty of beer recipes worldwide, they all have a very common ingredient list comprised of water, malt, yeast and hops. The latter, biologically known as the flowers of the Humulus genus of plants, which also includes cannabis, has been traditionally known for giving the beer a unique taste. However, hops have served a second purpose, determined back in the 18th Century when England began to export to the colonies.

Because of the length of time needed to travel, beer had the propensity to spoil to a variety of bacteria. Yet, those that had a higher proportion of hops in the recipe appeared to survive without any significant product loss. This led to the requirement of hops not to offer a fulfilling flavor, but to stay fresh. Eventually, hops became a critical component in any beer recipe; a tradition that continues until today.

Although the beer bacterial burden was solved, microbiologists, curious individuals that they are, wanted to know why that was the case. The answer wasn’t known until 1937 when the antiseptic properties of hops were finally seen. When exposed to a hop extract, bacteria simply couldn’t survive. The finding not only gave more reason to drink hoppy beer, but also opened the door to a natural means of infection prevention.

Over the next 80 years, researchers identified specific chemicals in hop extracts and tested them to determine if there were any useful antimicrobials. Back in 1949 one of the components of the extract, lupulone, was tested as an antibiotic; it failed. Over a half-century later, however, the same extract proved to be an effective killer of tuberculosis. Another component, xanthohumol, was tested to determine its ability to kill viruses; this time it was quite effective. The same compound was also shown to have an anti-malarial activity.

But perhaps the most positive results have come from the world of odontology. For centuries, dentists have been trying to find natural means to prevent gum disease, which is an inflammatory process sparked by bacteria. When the antimicrobial activity of hops were found, dentists decided that it was at least worth a try. What they have found reveals that not only are they good for the mouth, they can potentially help to prevent problems in the future.

Through a series of experimental papers published over the last five years, we can understand exactly how hops help. In 2008, a team from Osaka University unveiled a group of chemicals known as polyphenols, which are known to help prevent oral cancer. Based on their experiments, these compounds stopped inflammation and kept gums pink instead of red. In the same year, a team from Nippon Dental University revealed the molecules also halted the development of dental plaque. By 2013, xanthohumol also proved to keep teeth happy and healthy by ensuring that bacteria could not stick to the teeth and gums.

Considering the benefit of the hop flower, there was every reason to believe there was more to the Humulus story. The focus was on the leaves of the hop flower, known as bracts. In the brewing process, bracts tend to be discarded as they do not impart much to the quality of the beer. But in 2007, a team from Tokyo Medical and Dental University demonstrated that bract extract could not only prevent but also removeplaque from teeth. Considering the extracts were safe, there was every indication to believe that incorporating bracts into beer might be an option for better teeth.

This week, a Japanese team of investigators gave some of the most compelling evidence to prove this theory. Although their work was chemical, not medicinal or dental in nature, their results have all but confirmed that bracts are all that and more. Moreover, they have shown the beer brewery may be the best place to find the future of healthy teeth.

Looking closer at the paper, the tack was routine for any physical chemistry experiment. Bract extracts were taken back to the lab and racked for assessment of their beneficial knack. The results left the researchers jacked as there was no lack of known orally-beneficial compounds, stacking up to twenty in all. The pack also included others yet to crack the market but showed health potential based on evidence not quacks.

Thanks to this study, there is little doubt of the potential benefit of bracts. This may lead to a new range of natural oral products providing not only a greener alternative to modern day toothpaste, but also a more effective means to prevent gum disease.There is another perhaps less obvious benefit. Focusing on the leaves will also ensure no competition between beer and dental industries. While the flowers will still go to the breweries to keep our glasses full, the leaves will head to health manufacturers who will help to keep our teeth healthy. All said, that is surely a blessing even St. Patrick would approve.

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When It Comes to Oral Health, We Can Learn Something from the Beavers

By Staff writer, Youth Health

🌱 ‘Leave it to beavers’ right? The Oral Surgery Team

When it comes to understanding tooth decay, a group of researchers is saying, “Leave it to beavers.”

Researchers from Northwestern University have discovered something remarkable about the oral health of beavers, the semi-aquatic rodents that are known for their building skills and strong set of teeth.

These furry creatures certainly don’t enjoy the same conveniences humans have as far as taking care of their oral health is concerned. But unlike us, they don’t develop tooth decay.

The answer, it turns out, is the presence of iron in the enamel.

The enamel is one of the tissues that make up the teeth of humans and many animals including beavers. They are also the most visible parts-see the whites in your teeth?-and are made to be resistant to acids. Acid build-up happens based on the food a person eats. When there’s too much acid, it “dissolves” the enamel, making the teeth more sensitive and at risk of developing cavities.

The main composition of enamel is hydroxylapatite, which looks like nanowires. Surrounding it are magnesium and iron, both amorphous minerals. When the enamel tries to protect the teeth from acid deterioration, it’s not the nanowires that respond but these minerals. As the researchers put it, we do share a similar enamel structure but not composition with the beavers and perhaps other animals, and the difference in composition may help determine the degree of acid resistance of enamels.

In their study, the researchers looked into enamel of three animals including rabbits and beavers and analyzed the enamel’s amorphous structure using tomography.

They then exposed the enamel to acid while taking before-and-after images, then noticed that the nanowires remained but the surrounding minerals dissolved. Subsequently the team analyzed how these minerals help in increasing the enamel’s resistance and hardness and discovered that the incisors of beavers are pigmented and rich in iron, making it a much better enamel than one that’s treated with fluoride.

With this knowledge, the research may be helpful in gaining a better understanding of oral health, especially how tooth decay develops.

The entire research is available in Frontiers in Psychology journal.

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