Could a Chinese Herb, “Galla Chinesis”, Prevent Tooth Decay?

Chinese herb to prevent tooth decay

Just this week, while reading Dr. Joe Mercola’s daily newsletter, I learned about a recent study done by Chinese researchers showing that a Chinese herb, Galla Chinesis shows great promise at preventing tooth decay.

What is Galla Chinesis?

According to lead author Xuelian Huang and his team, Galla Chinesis (also known as Chinese gall or Chinese sumac) was found to have “strong potential to prevent caries due to its antibacterial capacity and tooth mineralization benefit.”

 “Galla Chinesis water extract has been demonstrated to inhibit dental caries by favorably shifting the demineralization/remineralization balance of enamel and inhibiting the biomass and acid formation of dental biofilm”.

In layman’s terms; the herb appears to be able to inhibit the formation of bacterial plaque and its acid attack on teeth as well as making teeth stronger.

What Does This Mean for Dentistry?

Unfortunately, a commercial product containing this herb could be years in the making as the team has yet to identify the active ingredient responsible for the anticaries claim!

Having Healthier Teeth Starts with a Healthier Diet

In the meantime, please remember as Dr. Mercola so eloquently points out “your best answer is already at hand.  If you want to have healthy teeth, you must start from the inside out, and that means cleaning up your diet”.

As we head into the Christmas season with so many sugar-laden foods at our finger-tips please remember that the highly-addictive, “white death” sugar has been implicated as a major player in more than just tooth decay.  According to webmd.comEating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks”.

Educating ourselves should always be the first step in understanding why we should or should not do certain things and if we know why, it helps us to own and embrace a good habit.  I know how difficult it is to say no, especially with the many tempting holiday goodies everywhere we go!  Be smart, and try to always remember the health effects of everything you put into your mouth during the holidays.

On that note; I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas season and may joy and peace be with you and yours throughout the coming New Year.

I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site or join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time,

Kathleen

IST – Interim Stabilization Therapy – Part 2

IST - Interim Stabilization Therapy

In continuing with my research regarding the long-term viability of IST, as per an extensive literature review that was completed by the Region of Peel in May of this year:

I offer the following “Key Messages” developed by the team:

  1. Interim Stabilization Therapy/Atraumatic Restorative Treatment are effective as a single surface temporary restoration for dental caries, on both primary and permanent teeth.
  2. High viscosity glass ionomer cements should be used as the material of choice for Interim Stabilization Therapy/Atraumatic Restorative Treatment.
  3. While the quality of evidence is weak in this area, the use of Interim Stabilization Therapy/Atraumatic Restorative Treatment may be beneficial in aiding with client-provider rapport and building client self-esteem.

As a public health organization, Peel Public Health (PPH) is mandated by the Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) to provide oral health programming to applicable populations.

The OPHS was recently updated, including the Healthy Smiles Ontario Program (HSO) protocol which now includes offering IST/ART to clinically eligible, preventive service stream enrolled children and youth.

The new HSO protocol mirrors the same parameters that I must adhere to for providing IST:

  • When access to permanent restoration is not immediate or practical
  • When there are no medical contraindications
  • When the client consents to the treatment
  • When any of the following apply:
  • There is reasonable risk of further damage to the tooth structure
  • The pulp is not exposed
  • The client is in discomfort or is experiencing difficulty in eating
  • The discomfort is due to recent trauma, fracture or lost dental restoration
  • The client has not received any medical/dental advice that would contraindicate placing a temporary restoration
  • It is in the client’s best interest to proceed

Hopefully, as this therapy becomes better utilized, we will begin to compile data supporting its long term viability.

In conclusion, I applaud the commitment of our public health institutions to offer this treatment for our underserviced and disadvantaged youth, but I am truly concerned about the lack of similar care for our at-risk adult population.

Hopefully, this treatment will be seen as a viable solution for them as well!

I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site or join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time,

Kathleen

Bee Propolis Reduces Tooth Sensitivity

bee propolis reduces tooth sensitivity

I am always on the lookout for more natural solutions to oral health care problems and this week I came across a study that was published in 2014 in The Journal of The Indian Society of Periodontology that concluded:

Propolis was more effective than 5% potassium nitrate in relieving dentinal hypersensitivity and had an immediate and sustained effect.

According to this study, the all-natural propolis was actually found to be “better” than the potassium nitrate.  I am very familiar with potassium nitrate as it is the most common de-sensitizing ingredient found in most over-the-counter de-sensitizing toothpastes on the market today. While it does work for most people by reducing symptoms I am concerned that it does not address the root cause of tooth sensitivity!  While I really feel that this should always be our goal; healing the tooth instead of masking the symptoms, there are times when temporary relief is the most immediate concern! Continue reading

I Got a Canary for Christmas!

canary-systemA dream came true for me this year, when due to a number of serendipitous events I ended up with a Canary for Christmas!

While our family has enjoyed a number of these heavenly songbirds as family pets over the years, this “Canary” is not an actual bird but a new technology.  Like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine”, this Canary is also used to detect subtle changes thereby preventing future problems.

The Canary System

Known as The Canary System, “it is a precise, low-powered laser based instrument that detects the presence of cracks and tooth decay before they are large enough to appear on dental x-rays.  When placed on the tooth, a low-powered, pulsating laser light is shone on the tooth during a 3 second scan.  Measuring the crystal structure of the tooth, the laser light can penetrate below the tooth surface and permit detection of tooth decay as small as 50 microns (20 times smaller than a millimeter) and as deep as 5mm from the tooth surface”.

Canary Number

Using a complex algorithm, The Canary System converts the information obtained into a Canary Number on a scale from 0 to 100.  The lower the number the healthier the enamel, the higher the number the higher suggestion of cracks and tooth decay.

There are a quite a number of evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies to support this new technology.  In fact, an independent clinical study led by Dr. Ben Amaechi at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, released on March 18, 2015, found The Canary System “to exhibit superior performance compared to bitewing radiography for the detection of proximal caries”.

To put this simply for the public; The Canary System is more accurate than check-up x-rays!  And in case you did not realize this yet, there is no radiation!

I have wanted to have this technology in my office for the last 4 years so that we are able to monitor remineralization therapy; the healing of teeth.   I do believe that our teeth are no different than any other part of the body.  Given the raw materials that they need and stopping the behavior that caused the problem in the first place, if it is not too advanced, we can reverse and repair the damage.  Now, we have an objective way to measure that healing.

I have signed-up for a webinar this afternoon to help me better understand how to use this wonderful, new technology and how I can incorporate it into my daily clinical practice.  Hopefully, as The Canary System becomes more widely used and accepted, it will become a standard of care in all dental offices.

I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site or join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time,

Kathleen

Professional Reactions to My Last Blog on Flossing

58986866 - young woman flossing teeth in front of mirror

I had wondered when I published last month’s blog on flossing if anyone would respond to the picture that we chose to accompany the article.  As I had hoped, a number of Dental Hygiene colleagues responded to the CDHA (my blog posts appear on their site), to alert them of the mistake that I had made.  I was notified of such and here is the truth.. Continue reading

To Floss or Not To Floss

58986866 - young woman flossing teeth in front of mirror

Recently, a patient brought to my attention an Associated Press release that made it to the evening news, stating officials have never really researched the effectiveness of regular flossing.  She then asked me to comment on whether I think it is necessary to floss or not to floss.

While I was aware of the limited data available supporting this oral health care practice, I have personally observed, anecdotally, that the effects of some kind of in-between bacterial disruption on a daily basis really does help to reduce bleeding gums and inflammation. Continue reading

5 Reasons Why I Recommend ECO-DENT DailyCare Toothpowder

Eco-DentAs a holistic registered dental hygienist, I am often asked by my patients, family and friends what “toothpaste” I recommend. In most cases I suggest that they try ECO-DENT DailyCare Toothpowder and I actually give out samples right here in my office for them to try.  There are many reasons why I recommend this toothpowder over a regular toothpaste, but here are my top 5 reasons why I choose to recommend ECO-DENT DailyCare Toothpowder.

5 Reasons Why I Recommend ECO-DENT DailyCare Toothpowder: Continue reading

Silence

finger on her lips. silence gesture

My second Intention Word for 2016 is SILENCE!

I did not realize how noisy this world was until I quit my job in mainstream dentistry some eight years ago and began to focus on creating silence in my life as part of my healing.

I had worked in an open-concept dental office for roughly eighteen years where the sounds of high-speed drills, ultrasonic scalers, televisions, telephones, doorbells and people talking bombarded and permeated the race-against-the-clock practice of modern dentistry were common every day noise. Continue reading

Dental Bone Cavitations; a Surgical Intervention

Cavitations - surgical intervention

In my November blog I left off with the announcement that I had the privilege of attending an actual dental bone cavitation surgical appointment with my patient on November 9th in Toronto. I neglected to mention the very important fact that there was a diagnostic appointment prior to booking that surgery. At this appointment a manual exploration of all four wisdom tooth extraction sites was performed and three of the four areas in question revealed some sponginess to the bone when pressed with the patient noting some sensitivity in these areas as well! The most sensitive area being the bottom left. Continue reading

Dental Bone Cavitations – Exploring 3 Important Questions

dental cavitations

Last month’s blog post left off with 3 very important questions that I had about Jaw Cavitations:

• How many of the patients that I see in my clinic have these silent areas of infection?
• How can I help them find out if they have one?
• What is the potential risk to the rest of the body from not addressing these pockets of diseased bone? Continue reading