Dentists say this common ingredient could be messing with your mouth

By: Zoe Weiner, MSN


The best part of brushing and swishing mouthwash (aside from the whole “no gum disease or cavities” thing) is that “ahh”-inducing feeling you get right after you’ve finished cleaning your teeth.

And now, thanks to flavoring with essential oils, natural toothpaste and mouthwash can give your mouth the same minty-freshness as the old-fashioned stuff most of us grew up on.

But no matter how much you love that cool and tingly breath after a particularly satisfying brush sesh, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to putting those sweet-yet-spicy smelling essential oils in your mouth.

 Read on and learn its effects to your oral health via MSN ! The Oral Surgery DC Team


The best part of brushing and swishing your teeth (aside from the whole “no gum disease or cavities” thing) is that “ahh”-inducing feeling you get right after you’ve finished. And, thanks to flavoring with essential oils, these days natural toothpaste and mouthwash can give your mouth the same minty-freshness as the old-fashioned stuff most of us grew up on. But no matter how much you love that cool and tingly breath after a particularly satisfying brush sesh, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to putting those sweet-yet-spicy smelling essential oils in your mouth.

“Using essential oils in the mouth sounds like a great, natural idea, but this should be done on occasion—not every day,” says Dr. Mark Burhenne, creator and author of “The powerfully antibacterial nature of essential oils means regular use can actually upset your oral microbiome over time by killing off the good bacteria your mouth needs to fight cavities and gum disease.” As in—yes, your mouth has a microbiome.

In some studies, essential oils have been proven to be just as effective as chlorhexidineAKA the main ingredient in prescription-strength mouthwash. But, while we’re all for going the natural route with your oral care, in this case, it may not be the best idea. “[It] might sound like a good thing, but [essential oils are] not beneficial for long-term oral health,” says Dr. Burhenne. “If you’re using mouthwash, chances are you’re trying to make it a daily habit. But killing all the bacteria in your mouth should be something you avoid on the whole.”

“Killing all the bacteria in your mouth should be something you avoid on the whole.” —Dr. Mark Burhenne

Think about using these heavy-duty oils the same way you’d use an antibiotic. “On occasion, you need a bacterial ‘clean slate’ to get an infection under control. But if you were to use antibiotics every day of your life, you’d limit your immune system’s ability to fight off any infection or disease,” he explains. “Since your oral microbiome is the mouth’s immune system, keeping it free of bacteria isn’t actually a good thing.”

In lieu of swishing with essential oils or alcohol for the sake of fresh breath, Dr. Burhenne suggests making a mouthwash of your own by mixing turmeric, L-arginine, calcium carbonate, whole cloves, baking soda, xylitol, blue-green algae, and anise. It’s essential oil, alcohol, and fluoride-free, but will still give your mouth the full cleanse it needs.

If you’re going to use essential oils in toothpaste, just know that a little bit goes a long way. “When I’m trying a toothpaste that uses essential oils, the best gauge I’ve found is to pay attention to how strong the scent of the oils is,” says Dr. Burhenne. “A light scent of peppermint is probably a sign your toothpaste has just a minuscule amount of oils in it, whereas a very strong scent might mean you’ve got too many bacteria-killing oils for daily use.” Noted—so, as within your skincare, just keep that EO use light.



DIY braces? Orthodontists say to think twice before straightening your teeth solo

By: Joanna Clay, University of Southern California; Medical Xpress


👩🏽‍⚕️ Are you considering straightening your teeth through DIY braces?

If so, you might want to check out this article via Medical Xpress – Medical and Health News before jumping into the decision! The Oral Surgery DC Team


A couple of years ago, the story of a college student 3-D printing his own braces went viral. Fast forward to now and you’ve likely seen billboards or social media ads for a whole new slate of DIY aligner companies, which cut out the orthodontist chair and send trays straight to your doorstep. They’re both attempting to democratize the quest for straight teeth, but experts and graduates from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC say it’s important to get a doctor’s OK when considering the DIY route.

The first thing to remember is that orthodontics isn’t just about looks, said  and USC alum Nehi Ogbevoen.

“We not only want to improve aesthetics but also the function of the bite,” he said. “We’re trying to plan your bite and smile and how they are going to age over the next 30, 40 years.”

Oftentimes, an orthodontist will want the patient up to date with their dentist visits. They’ll also do X-rays prior to treatment, making sure there are no signs of gum disease or large cavities.

If the DIY retailers don’t ask for X-rays, Ostrow experts and alumni say to think twice.

“There’s a lot of things we can catch on an X-ray—for example, impacted teeth,” Ogbevoen said. “There are other things we can catch that, if you aren’t seeing a dentist regularly, can be really scary.”

People are often lured by the DIY price, which can be around $2,000. For comparison, traditional metal braces or Invisalign typically run from $5,000 to $8,000, although the latter has options for mild alignment issues that are less costly. And in general, DIY aligners are for more mild issues.

But, experts say, if you have an undiagnosed disease or issue, DIY aligners could worsen the situation, costing more in the long run.

Consider consultations when getting DIY braces

Hany Youssef, Ostrow faculty who also has a private practice in Orange County, had a patient come in with negative side effects from a DIY kit.

He said although orthodontics can be cost prohibitive, there are a lot of options. He recently quoted $1,500 for a patient with mild alignment issues. The more severe the case, the more it’ll cost, he said.

If you’re considering DIY, Youssef suggests getting a consultation from a dentist or orthodontist, an initial visit is usually free, and bring up your interest in the treatment. It might be suitable for folks with milder issues but either way, a dentist or orthodontist’s OK is important. Some of the direct-to-consumer companies say orthodontists do consult on the treatment, others emphasize getting assigned to a specific orthodontist. But no matter what it says on the website, experts say to ask a lot of questions before signing up.

The American Association of Orthodontists has a tip sheet for people considering the direct-to-consumer route, offering suggested questions to ask yourself and the company. They include asking about comprehensive X-rays, licensed orthodontist consultations, how the best treatment is evaluated and how emergencies will be handled.

Glenn T. Sameshima, chairman and program director of USC’s Advanced Orthodontics Certificate Program, said the popularity of DIY aligners does bring up an important topic in orthodontics: accessibility. Insurance coverage is roughly the same as it’s been the last few decades, he said. And the same goes for treatment costs. Sameshima, who has a private practice, said coverage is commonly around $1,500 lifetime. Some dental insurance carriers are more generous and offer 50 percent coverage.

But in the end, this DIY aligner popularity—some of it spurred by expiring aligner patents—could be good for the industry overall, he said. For the first time in a while, there’s competition, which could start to bring costs down.

And although orthodontics can be costly, preventative care is often well-covered, which can help ward off the need for braces. And if braces or aligners are needed,  (such as USC) often offer discounted rates.

“I see a future, 20 to 30 years from now, when they’ll be able to do a combination of clear aligners and braces, with 3-D printing bringing these costs down,” Sameshima said.



How can boosting Your Vitamin And Mineral Intake Protect Your Smile?


By: Lucy Wyndham, Dental News


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2% of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. But with the right vitamin and mineral consumption and effective dental care, the nation’s tooth decay could be significantly improved. The Oral Surgery DC Team


A steady dose of fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water which your teeth rely heavily on as research has found that it can reduce the rate of cavities by 60%. 95% of all leading brands of toothpaste contain fluoride and there are also prescription only ones available for those who need extra protection against cavities. Fluoride Alert details a whole host of ways in which you increase your fluoride consumption, including consuming processed foods and drinks, drinking tea, eating products which have been treated with a fluoride pesticide, such as, dried fruit and cocoa powder and cooking food in Teflon pans.

Calcium and vitamin D

Calcium is well documented for keeping muscles, joints, and bones strong, but it’s just as powerful in protecting your teeth. Calcium keeps the teeth and gums healthy by replacing lost calcium particles. Therefore, it’s essential that your diet is packed full of dairy products, tinned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables. You’ll also need to keep your vitamin D intake high as this helps calcium absorption. Vitamin D is absorbed from sun exposure, from taking nutritional supplements and from eating a healthy diet of fatty fish, foods which have been fortified with vitamin D such as cereals and egg yolks.

Don’t forget phosphorus

Phosphorus is the second largest mineral found in the body, with 85% of it found in the teeth and bones alone. It works hand in hand with calcium and vitamin D to keep your teeth healthy and looking good. As long as you’re eating a well-balanced diet you should be consuming enough phosphorus to keep your dental hygiene in top condition. However, if you’re looking to up your intake of phosphorus- rich foods turkey, tuna, and sunflower seeds all rank highly. These high protein foods help to boost the absorption of this vital mineral.

To keep your teeth healthy you must ensure you look after them by following a good hygiene routine. However, the vitamin and minerals you consume play a pivotal role, too. In order to keep your teeth strong, healthy and pearly white fluoride, calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are a must.




What your dental hygienist wants you to know about the importance of oral health


By: Heather Jackson, Loma Linda University Health


Whether the topic is flossing and brushing or baby teeth and cavities, your dental hygienist has important advice. Remember these key takeaways from Loma Linda University Health to help you properly care for the gateway to the rest of your body. The Oral Surgery DC Team


Whether the topic is flossing and brushing or baby teeth and cavities, your dental hygienist has important advice. A dental hygienist knows that oral health evaluations can be as important as other medical examinations. Loma Linda University School of Dentistry dental hygiene specialist, Danielle Ellington, RDH, MEd, offers six tips for ensuring a healthy mouth.

Before reaching voting age eligibility, approximately 78 percent of Americans have at least one cavity, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), and 80 percent of the U.S. population has some form of periodontal gum disease.

Ellington says neither condition should be taken lightly because their impact goes well beyond the mouth.

“What some people do not understand is that oral health can affect the health of the rest of the body,” Ellington says. “For pregnant women, oral health can affect their unborn child. And for both genders, oral health maladies have been linked to cardiovascular and neurological problems.”

Ellington also adds that responsible oral health care can save not only your mouth but your life.

“We want to encourage the public to value their oral care,” she says. “Your oral care is about more than just the color of your teeth. As a society, we have become so focused on oral aesthetics that we are missing more important aspects of oral health.”

Here are Ellington’s six tips to help you properly care for the gateway to the rest of your body.

  1. Floss before there is loss. Flossing can make a difference between a healthy mouth and needing a substantial amount of periodontal treatment, Ellington says. Simply sliding a cord of thin filaments between your teeth (flossing) once a day reduces the accumulation of plaque often caused bysugary foods. The limitation of deserts and carbonated drink intake, combined with regular flossing, can greatly reduce tarter build-up, bone loss, and bleeding gums that lead to the need for periodontal treatment.
  2. A follow-up is not a suggestion. Ellington says that when a dental hygienist schedules a recall — also known as a follow-up appointment — it is more than just something to consider putting on a patient’s calendar. Recalls are tailored specifically to each patient’s current level of oral health, she says. If you have significant plaque or tartar accumulation, inflammation, and bleeding, you are a high-risk patient who needs to be seen sooner than later. Frequent dental appointments enable a hygienist to perform professional cleanings that can maintain the health of your gums.
  3. Watch what you eat. Pay attention to your diet because it can dictate whether you have an acidic (lower pH) or alkaline mouth (higher pH), Ellington says. An acidic mouth puts you at a higher risk for cavities. If you eat a lot of fruit, processed foods, and carbohydrates, your saliva will be at a higher risk for a lowerpH. If you tend to eat foods such as meat or meat substitutes, dairy products, nuts, and legumes, your saliva will have a higher pH and your teeth will be more prone to tartar build-up. She recommends a diet that encourages a neutral pH—foods such as avocado, broccoli, celery, cucumber, lemon, peppers, and spinach.
  4. Water is a super liquid. Ellington says not to underestimate the need for regular water consumption. A lubricated mouth is less susceptible to developing cavities. A hydrated mouth also significantly reduces the susceptibility of teeth to stains. She recommends something as simple as ending a meal with water.
  5. Be candid and complete about your health history. Ellington wants patients to know that no medication or dietary supplement is too small to mention. It has a significant impact on the clinician’s ability to make accurate evaluations and perform effective care. For example, if a patient has taken baby aspirin for several years, it can interfere with their blood vessels ability to stop bleeding during a procedure. She adds that without an accurate medication history a dentist may not be able to properly treat or keep a patient safe.
  6. All teeth matter. Frequently, parents do not realize their baby’s teeth are important to their adult teeth as they maintain space for emerging adult teeth. Ellington says many parents think cavities in their children’s baby teeth don’t matter because they will fall out and be replaced by adult teeth. What they may not know is that bacteria from a diseased baby tooth may be passed on to an arriving adult tooth. She also advises parents to avoid transferring bad bacteria to their children through shared utensils or kissing. Some parents “clean” a pacifier with their own mouth if it falls on the floor and then return it to their child’s mouth. Each person has their own microflora — their own bacteria habitat — in their mouth, and transferring a parent’s saliva to a child can increase the likelihood it will develop cavities or gingivitis.