News & Events

  2019-02-22
Removing plaque and tartar from teeth
Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on the outside of the teeth and along the gum line. A person can often prevent and treat plaque buildup at home. If a person does not practice good dental hygiene, plaque can turn into a hard yellow-brown substance called tartar.

When people eat, bacteria in the mouth breakdown the carbohydrates from food into acid, which mixes with leftover food particles and saliva to create plaque.

Brushing and flossing often prevent plaque and tartar from forming. However, tartar can be more difficult to remove and sometimes requires a visit to the dentist's office for a professional cleaning.

Poor oral hygiene can also cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease (gingivitis). Recent research has also uncovered possible associations between gum disease and other health conditions, including pneumoniadementia, and heart disease.

In this article, learn about simple ways to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup at home.

 

Practicing good oral hygiene

Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to remove plaque and tartar. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. They also recommend flossing once a day.

Flossing first will remove pieces of food and plaque from between the teeth and hard-to-reach areas. After flossing, the toothbrush will remove plaque on the surface of the teeth.

To brush the teeth effectively, a person can:

  1. Start in the back of the mouth with the top molars.
  2. Use short, circular brush strokes.
  3. Brush the front and back surfaces of all the upper teeth.
  4. Repeat steps 1–3 on the bottom teeth.

People can achieve great results using manual toothbrushes. However, a 2014 systematic reviewfound that electric toothbrushes, especially those with oscillating heads, are more effective at removing plaque and reducing gingivitis.

 

After flossing and brushing the teeth, rinse out the mouth with mouthwash. Many over-the-counter mouthwashes contain fluoride for extra protection against plaque.

People who have gingivitis may require a stronger type of mouthwash. A dentist or another healthcare provider can prescribe antiseptic mouthwashes that are more potent than those available over the counter.

  2019-02-15
How gum disease could lead to Alzheimer's

According to data from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 8.52 percentof adults between 20 and 64 years of age in the United States have periodontitis (gum disease).

Gum disease is a widespread problem that can lead to more negative outcomes, from tooth loss to an increased risk of cancer.

Now, emerging evidence suggests that one of the bacteria involved in periodontitis could also contribute to the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain, which scientists have associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease.

These findings have emerged from a new study in mice that researchers from Cortexyme, Inc., a pharmaceutical company that aims to develop new therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease, have conducted.

  2019-01-25
What are the health benefits of xylitol?
Xylitol is a lower-calorie sugar substitute with a low glycemic index. Some research suggests that it may also improve dental health, prevent ear infections, and possess antioxidant properties.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, which is a type of carbohydrate and does not actually contain alcohol. Xylitol occurs naturally in small amounts in fibrous fruits and vegetables, trees, corncobs, and even the human body.

Manufacturers use xylitol as a sugar substitute because its sweetness is comparable with that of table sugar but with fewer calories.

Xylitol is a common ingredient in many products, from sugar-free chewing gum to toothpaste. People also use xylitol as a table-top sweetener and in baking.

In this article, we look at the uses and potential health benefits of xylitol. We also cover its side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and alternatives.

Uses

Xylitol has a similar level of sweetness to sugar but with a fraction of the calories. It is a popular ingredient in a variety of products, including sugar-free gum and toothpaste.

Manufacturers add xylitol to a range of foods, including:

  • sugar-free candies, such as gum, mints, and gummies
  • jams and jellies
  • honey
  • nut butters, including peanut butter
  • yogurt

Xylitol is also an ingredient in some dental care products, including:

  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • other fluoride products

Xylitol sweeteners are available to purchase online.

Potential benefits

Xylitol has several potential health benefits, including:

Low glycemic index

 

Xylitol has a low glycemic index (GI). This means that consuming it does not cause spikes in blood glucose or insulin levels in the body. For this reason, xylitol is a good sugar substitute for people with diabetes.

Due to its low GI, xylitol is also a weight loss-friendly sugar substitute.

Also, a 2015 study revealed that xylitol had significant blood glucose-lowering effects in rats that ate high-fat diets.

Dental health

Xylitol is an ingredient in many dental hygiene products, including toothpaste and mouthwash. This is due to the fact that xylitol is non-fermentable, which means that the bacteria in the mouth cannot convert it into the harmful acid that causes tooth decay.

The oral bacterium Streptococcus mutans is largely responsible for plaque, which is the sticky, white substance that can accumulate on the outside of a person's teeth.

Plaque binds lactic acid against the surface of the tooth. This acid breaks down the enamel and leads to tooth decay.

While it is normal for people to have some plaque on their teeth, excess amounts can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

2017 systematic review suggests that xylitol reduces the amount of S. mutans bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the amount of plaque and may help prevent tooth decay.

2014 study examined the effects of xylitol on Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is the bacterium responsible for gingivitis, or gum disease. If left untreated, excess amounts of P. gingivalis can move into the bloodstream and lead to systemic inflammation.

 

In the study, scientists grew samples of P. gingivalis in a laboratory and added them to human cell cultures pretreated with xylitol. They saw that xylitol increased the production of immune system proteins and inhibited the growth of the bacteria.

Antioxidant properties

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, free radicals cause oxidative stress, which can lead to cell damage and may play a role in the development of several conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Laboratory studies show that antioxidants neutralize free radicals and counteract oxidative stress.

  2019-01-19
Why do I have a bitter taste in my mouth?
A bitter or bad taste in the mouth can be a normal reaction to eating pungent or sour foods. However, when the taste lasts for a long time or happens unexpectedly, it can be concerning.

Taste is a complex sense that can be affected by many factors, including poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, or pregnancy.

Treating a persistent bitter taste involves treating any underlying conditions, but people can manage the unpleasant taste with some simple home remedies in the meantime.

In this article, we cover 13 possible causes of a bitter taste in the mouth. We also discuss symptoms and treatments.

Signs and symptoms 

A persistent altered taste in the mouth is known medically as dysgeusia. This taste is described as unpleasant and can last for a long time until the underlying cause is treated. People with dysgeusia may experience a constant taste that they often describe as one of the following:

  • bitter
  • metallic
  • rancid or foul
  • salty

 

The taste can be distracting, and may even make it hard to taste other things while eating or drinking. A person may still have the taste even after brushing their teeth. They may also experience other symptoms depending on the cause.

  2018-12-26
Why is the roof of my mouth swollen?
The roof of the mouth consists of a bony plate at the front and a non-bone, soft section at the back. Together, these serve as a barrier between the oral and nasal cavities. From time to time, the roof of the mouth may become swollen.

Swelling on the roof of the mouth may be due to several potential causes, most of which will resolve with minimal treatment. In less common cases, the swelling may be due to a more serious condition.

Other symptoms may accompany the swelling, including:

  • blisters or other sores
  • dry mouth
  • muscle spasms
  • pain or discomfort

Read on to learn about the possible causes of swelling on the roof of the mouth.

Causes

A range of conditions can cause a swollen roof of the mouth, including:

 

1. Sores in the mouth

Most common mouth sores, such as canker sores and cold sores, will appear on the gums, cheeks, or lips. In some cases, they may appear on the roof of the mouth.

Sores can cause pain, blisters, and swelling. Some people may notice pain or swelling before the sore appears.

2. Injury or trauma

One of the most common causes of swelling on the roof of the mouth is an injury or trauma. Some of the most common causes of trauma include:

  • eating a hard food that may impact the roof of the mouth
  • eating or drinking an extremely hot item
  • a scratch from a sharp piece of food

3. Dehydration

 

Dehydration can cause swelling on the roof of the mouth. Dehydration can cause a dry mouth, which can result in swelling if a person does not take steps to relieve the condition.