Should You Switch to a Prebiotic or Probiotic Toothpaste?


By: Renee Cherry, Shape Magazine


New toothpastes are aimed at keeping your mouth bacteria balanced. Experts pointed out some essential things you need to know to improve your oral health via SHAPE! The Oral Surgery DC Team


At this point, it’s old news that probiotics have potential health benefits. Chances are you’re already eating themdrinking themtaking themapplying them topically, or all of the above. If you want to take it a step further, you can also start brushing your teeth with them. Yep, prebiotic and probiotic toothpaste is a thing. Before you roll your eyes or stock up, keep reading.

When you hear “probiotics,” you probably think gut health. That’s because the effect that probiotics have on a person’s gut bacteria and overall health has been extensively researched. Just like with your gut microbiome, it’s beneficial to keep your skin and vaginal microbiomes in balance. Ditto with your mouth. Just like your other microbiomes, it’s home to a variety of bugs. A recent review pointed out studies that have associated the state of the oral microbiome with overall health. Studies have linked an imbalance of mouth bacteria to oral conditions like cavities and oral cancer, but also to diabetes, immune system diseases, and adverse pregnancies. (Read more: 5 Ways Your Teeth Can Impact Your Health) This suggestion that you should also keep your mouth bacteria in balance has led to the development of prebiotic and probiotic toothpaste.

Let’s back up a sec and get a refresher. Probiotics are live bacteria that have been linked with various health benefits, and prebiotics are nondigestible fibers that basically act as a fertilizer for probiotics. People pop probiotics to promote healthy gut bacteria, so these new toothpastes are meant to serve a similar purpose. When you eat a lot of sugary foods and refined carbs, that’s when the bacteria in your mouth take on negative qualities and cause decay. Instead of killing off bacteria like traditional toothpaste, pre- and probiotic toothpastes are aimed at keeping bad bacteria from wreaking havoc. (Related: You Need to Detox Your Mouth and Teeth—Here’s How)

“Research has confirmed over and over again that gut bacteria is key to whole-body health, and it’s no different for the mouth,” says Steven Freeman, D.D.S., owner of Elite Smiles dentistry and author of Why Your Teeth Might Be Killing You. “Almost all the bacteria in your body is supposed to be there. The problem comes when the bad bacteria basically gets out of control, and their bad properties come to light.” So, yes, Freeman recommends switching to a probiotic or prebiotic toothpaste. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in the mouth take on negative qualities and can cause both cavities and problems along the gums, he says. But brushing with prebiotic or probiotic toothpaste can prevent these gum issues. An important exception to note: Traditional toothpaste still wins in the cavity-prevention department, says Freeman.

To make things more complex, probiotic and prebiotic toothpastes work a little differently. Prebiotic is the way to go, says Gerald Curatola, D.D.S., biologic dentist and founder at Rejuvenation Dentistry and author of The Mouth Body Connection. Curatola actually created the first prebiotic toothpaste, called Revitin. “Probiotics don’t work in the mouth because the oral microbiome is very inhospitable for foreign bacteria to set up shop,” says Curatola. Prebiotics, on the other hand, can have an effect on your oral microbiome, and “foster balance, nourish, and support a healthy balance of oral bacteria,” he says.

Probiotic and prebiotic toothpastes are part of a larger natural toothpaste movement (along with coconut oil and activated charcoal toothpaste). Plus, people are starting to question some of the ingredients commonly found in traditional toothpaste. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a detergent found in many toothpastes—and enemy number one of the “no shampoo” movement—has raised a red flag. There’s also a huge debate surrounding fluoride, which has led many companies to ditch the ingredient in their toothpaste.

Of course, not everyone’s on board with the bacteria-brushing trend. No prebiotic or probiotic toothpastes have received the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. The association only bestows the seal on toothpastes containing fluoride, and maintains that it’s a safe ingredient for removing plaque and preventing tooth decay.

If you decide to make the switch, it’s important to brush well, says Freeman. “Fluoride is very good [at] protecting against cavities and freshening your breath, but primarily speaking, when brushing your teeth, it’s the actual toothbrush going along your teeth and gums that really goes a long way toward fighting the cavities,” he says. So whatever toothpaste you use, there are certain things you should do for the best oral health and smile: Invest in an electric brush, spend a whole two minutes brushing, and position your brush at 45-degree angles toward both sets of gums, he says. Plus, you should continue to get fluoride treatments at the dentist. “That way, it’s going directly onto your teeth and there are fewer additives in topically applied fluoride in a dental office than what you’re going to find in a tube of toothpaste,” says Freeman. Finally, limiting sugary foods and carbonated beverages can also make a difference to your overall oral health.



Nature vs. Nurture: Dental Problems Parents Pass Down To Children


Parents, in particular, want to know: does DNA predetermine dental health? The Oral Surgery DC Team


It’s the classic nature vs. nurture question that dentists get asked often, but the answer doesn’t simply boil down to one or the other. The scary truth is that many dental problems are indeed “inherited”–but not from genetics alone! Harmful habits that run in the family can also play a huge role in the health of your child’s smile. Find out which oral issues you could be passing down, and what you can do about them.

DNA-Driven Dental Issues

Even before birth, the stage has already been set for certain aspects of your child’s oral health. Ultimately, your child’s genes dictate the likelihood for common issues such as:

    • Jaw-related Disorders: The size and position of one’s jaws, as well as overall facial structure, are hereditary traits that can cause a number of bite complications (or “malocclusions”). Overbites or underbites caused by uneven jaws can lead to chewing and speech difficulties, and result in chronic pain and/or Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder (“TMJ”) if left untreated.
    • Tooth Misalignments: Spacing problems, either due to missing or overcrowded teeth, are oral issues that have been hardwired in a person even before the emergence of teeth. Cases where people lack some (“Anodontia”) or all (“Hypodontia”) permanent teeth can threaten gum and jaw health, as can instances of “supernumerary” teeth, in which extra teeth erupt.
    • Weak Tooth Enamel: Though rare, it is possible for tooth enamel to be defective, or develop abnormally. Dentin, which makes up the protective enamel covering of teeth, may not be produced or mineralize at normal levels, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay, sensitivity and damage.
  • Predisposition To Oral Cancer: Genetic mutations and the presence of oncogenes, a type of gene that transforms healthy cells into cancerous ones, can increase the risk for cancer by interfering with the body’s ability to metabolize certain carcinogens.

From serious conditions such as a cleft palate, to occasional aggravations like canker sores, many other oral issues may be linked to genetics. Keeping track and sharing the family’s health history with your child’s dentist can help detect and treat inherited conditions as early as possible.

Behavioral Risks

DNA may deal your child some unavoidable complications, but when it comes to tooth decay and gum disease, learned habits and tendencies shoulder much more of the blame, including:

    • “Oversharing”: Harmful oral bacteria from a loved one can easily colonize and overtake your little one’s mouth from something as simple as sharing food, utensils, or kissing. The inadvertent swapping of saliva can put your child at increased risk for cavities and gingivitis.
    • Diet Choices: Satisfying that sweet tooth with sugary, refined treats, or turning to soda and juice for refreshment can create an unhealthy addiction that’s as dangerous to the mouth as it is to the waist. Sugar and acid can eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities and tooth sensitivity. Exposure to certain chemicals and ingredients can also cause discoloration.
  • Bad Hygiene: Last, but certainly not least, lacking a good dental routine can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Failing to follow through on brushing and flossing twice a day (or as recommended by the dentist) can create a haven for cavities and periodontitis, not to mention halitosis.

Leading by example is an easy, effective way to teach your child the importance of oral health while benefitting the whole family.

Stay One Step Ahead

Every parent wants the best for his or her child–including a healthy smile. With so many potential problems that can be passed down, protecting your child’s oral health is not easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. Seek the help of your child’s dentist for optimal professional and at-home dental care. Treating existing issues early on and teaching your child to make dental-friendly decisions can provide lifelong benefits to his or her health.



What to do when your child has a dental emergency


By: Stephanie McGuire, Omaha


No parent wants their kids to suffer in any way, but accidents do happen, and children are likely to experience a dental emergency because of their activities on the playground and on the playing field.

So what do you need to do in case your child suffers a dental emergency? MOMAHA.COM shares the essential things to do to spare your child from pain or severe dental damage. Read on! The Oral Surgery DC Team

An adult going through a dental emergency is, in all likelihood, in a world of pain. Can you imagine if something like that happened to your child? No parent wants their kids to suffer in any way, but accidents do happen, and children are likely to experience a dental emergency because of their activities on the playground and on the playing field.

So what do you need to do in case your child suffers a dental emergency? Let’s take a look at some of the more common dental emergencies among kids and find out what you have to do to spare your child from pain or severe dental damage.

1. Broken or fractured teeth. Kids run, jump, and sometimes, play rough. With such activities, children can be prone to breaking or fracturing their teeth with one misstep. If such an accident takes place, find the piece of the tooth that broke off and put it in a glass of cold milk or water. Have your child rinse off his or her mouth with warm water to make sure there are no tiny fragments left inside that may injure your child’s mouth. Of course, you should take your child to the dentist immediately.

2. Knocked-out permanent tooth. Your child could have a permanent tooth knocked out on the playground. Find the tooth as quickly as you, pick it up by the crown and not the roots, and rinse it with cold water. The tooth can still be re-implanted within 30 minutes or so, so make sure you preserve it by soaking it in a cup of cold milk or water while you’re en route to your emergency dentist.

3. A toothache. Toothaches are common, but watching your child cry out in pain is absolutely heartbreaking. To ease your child’s pain, have him or her gargle a warm salt water solution. You may also want to take a closer look inside your child’s mouth to see if there’s an object stuck between teeth or if the gums are swollen. Schedule a visit to the dentist the soonest possible time to find out what’s causing the toothache and relieve it at once.

Whatever dental emergency your child is facing, always remember that your job is to take steps that will provide your child temporary relief. Treating the problem will be entirely up to the dentist, whose office you should bring your child to right away in cases of dental emergencies.



After the Removal of Multiple Teeth


By: Orlando Oral Facial Surgery


🙂 From the primary operation to its effect, the removal of multiple teeth is quite different from the extraction of just one tooth. Check out these guidelines on what to do after the teeth extraction to prevent any complications from occurring. The Oral Surgery DC Team



A small amount of bleeding is to be expected following the operation. If bleeding occurs, place a gauze pad directly over the bleeding socket and apply biting pressure for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened black tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the black tea helps to form a clot by contracting blood vessels. If bleeding occurs, avoid hot liquids, exercise, and elevate the head. If bleeding persists, call our office immediately. Do not remove the immediate denture unless the bleeding is severe. Expect some oozing around the side of the denture.

Use ice packs (externally) on the cheek near the surgical site. Apply ice for the first 36 hours only. Apply ice continuously while you are awake.

For mild discomfort use aspirin, Tylenol, or any similar medication; two tablets every 3-4 hours. Two to three tablets of Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can be taken every 3-4 hours.

For severe pain, use the prescription given to you. If the pain does not begin to subside after 2 days, or increases after 2 days, please call our office. If an antibiotic has been prescribed, make sure to finish your prescription unless you have an allergic reaction..

Drink plenty of fluids. If many teeth have been extracted, the blood lost at this time needs to be replaced. Drink at least six glasses of liquid the first day.

Do not rinse your mouth for the first post-operative day, or while there is bleeding. After the first day, use a warm salt water rinse every 4 hours and following meals to flush out particles of food and debris that may lodge in the operated area. (One teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water). After you have seen your dentist for denture adjustment, take out the denture and rinse 3 to 4 times a day.

Restrict your diet to liquids and soft foods that are comfortable for you to eat. As the wounds heal, you will be able to resume your normal diet.

The removal of many teeth at one time is quite different from the extraction of just one or two teeth. Because the bone must be shaped and smoothed prior to the insertion of a denture, the following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal:

  • The area operated on will swell, reaching a maximum in two days. Swelling and discoloration around the eyes may occur. The application of a moist warm towel will help eliminate the discoloration. The towel should be applied continuously for as long as is tolerable, beginning 36 hours after surgery. (Remember: ice packs are used for the first 36 hours only).
  • A sore throat may develop. The muscles of the throat are near the extraction sites. Swelling into the throat muscles can cause pain. This is normal and should subside in 2-3 days.
  • If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment like Vaseline. There may be a slight elevation of temperature for 24-48 hours. If your temperature continues to rise, notify our office.