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

Mouth Breathing: What’s Breath Got to do With It?

mouth breathing diagram

I have written about “mouth breathing” a number of times over the years but I have become increasingly concerned as of late as I realize that more and more of the patients that I see are breathing this way!

I have long known that there are both oral and systemic health problems that are a result of this abnormal way of breathing.  Because I consistently observe the disconnect between the dental and medical profession in this area, I have decided to become better informed about;

“What’s Breath Got to do with it?”

Continue reading

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

Giving Up Coffee for Better Health

Young woman drinking coffee in urban cafe

I know that there are quite a number of scientific studies that support drinking coffee, and I for one, have often fallen back on them to justify my daily consumption of that ethereal cup of Joe!  Fortunately, a happenstance situation recently caused me to re-evaluate this habitual practice and to consider giving up coffee!

I typically drank one cup a day–a big cup mind you–and this, first thing in the morning, and I guess if I am honest, I have done this most of my adult life.  On special occasions though, and if I was dragging my butt mid-afternoon, then I would often have a cappuccino or a latte.  We have a wonderful Saeco machine here at home that allowed me this luxury if I felt like indulging.

Lately though, I have toyed with the idea of quitting when observing the throngs of people walking around with their oversized Starbucks in hand looking like permanent appendages.  My reaction these days is; be very afraid of what the masses are doing!  More important than this though, is that nagging feeling that anything I can’t do without on a daily basis may be vying for classification as an addictive behavior, and this really concerned me.

Some 6 weeks ago my convictions were put to the test when I contracted a bout of stomach flu gratis my granddaughter.  I could not tolerate even the smell of a cup of coffee let alone drink it and within 3 hours I had a raging headache that lasted the better part of the day.  I had heard that this is a normal reaction when a coffee drinker is deprived of his java jolt but it frightened me!

“Anything that can cause my body to react so negatively within a couple of hours of not having it can’t be good”!

I decided that day, that since I had already gone one day without coffee, it would be a good time to try a couple of weeks and see what happened.

I must admit, I did not have any expectations and I purposely tried not to look for physical changes so that I could be more objective about how my body was responding.  One cup a day… how bad could that be?

Well for me, and I always need to preface with this intro, it has made a huge difference!

I noticed immediately the first week that I had begun to dream every night!  I don’t ever remember dreaming like this my entire adult life!  I have surmised that I must be in a deeper sleep than I usually am and hence, able to not only dream, but remember them as well.  I am also happy to report that so far, they have all been good dreams… no nightmares!

I have also noticed that I am experiencing some very minor hot flashes.  These are not the debilitating ones I used to get when I was 50 and going through menopause – that by the way, stopped when I quit drinking alcohol – more like little twinges, that seem to me, to be an indication that my hormones are re-balancing.

Lastly, I am definitely sleeping better in general!  I now have full-nights where I don’t even get up to go to the bathroom!  If good sleep is as healing as they say, then I am really helping my body to rest and rejuvenate.

Do I miss my coffee… you bet I do!  Am I happy I quit… absolutely!

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

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know: Ignaz Semmelweis

Washing hands.

Sometimes in life, science and the subsequent proof we seek lag far behind validating research (this begs a whole other discussion on funding of such today).  In support of my concerns about the dangers of fluoride and how we don’t know what we don’t know, I would like to share the tragic but compelling story of Ignaz Semmelweis. 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

Medical Medium: The Role of Microbes in Oral Diseases

Medical Medium

I recently read Medical Medium, a new book by medical intuitive Anthony William, and it has resonated immensely with my own intuition about the role microbes may play in many diseases, including oral diseases.

According to William, the medical establishment is decades away from uncovering the truths espoused in his book, largely centering on the Epstein Barr virus.  The Epstein Barr virus belongs to the family of herpes viruses including those that cause cold sores, genital herpes, chickenpox and shingles and has been found to be responsible for mononucleosis and Sjogren’s syndromeContinue 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

3 Strategies to Improve the Oral Microbiome

Oral Microbiome

In last month’s blog, What if the Real Cause of Cavities and Gum Disease is Incorrect, I introduced my belief in the necessity of exploring and acknowledging the oral microbiome as a key to really understanding and treating oral disease.  As I continue to research and learn, I have developed 3 key strategies to help my patients improve their oral microbiome:

  1. Don’t routinely use mouthwash
  2. Eat a minimum of grains and processed carbohydrates
  3. Consider oral Probiotic supplementation

Continue reading