The Truth About Root Canals

I have a lot to explain about root canals and will put on information and research as I can find it.  My experience with root canals?  They are an option to get a tooth out of pain until something else can be figured out.  But in no way would I recommend that they be a permanent solution.  In fact, I would recommend having a tooth extracted before doing a root canal if that’s a possibility.  Why?

Your teeth are a living, vibrant part of your body.  They have a blood supply for energy, a nerve supply to connect them to the rest of the body, they have tubes for fluid to go in and out of them and are constantly in a state of flux, dealing with all that you throw at them with biting, chewing, and talking.  When a tooth becomes infected, whether it’s from a deep cavity, some sort of trauma, or from clenching or grinding, an abcess is your body’s way to get rid of a tooth gone bad.  Root canals are done by dentists to preserve and basically mummify the tooth in the mouth, removing the blood supply and the nerve so it doesn’t hurt anymore.  While the pain may be gone, it doesn’t mean the problem is gone.

Some of the concerns with root canals are explained by Dr. Mercola in the following video:

I see people every day who have root canals.  When a patient has a root canal, we recommend doing a CT or 3D x-ray to examine the tooth.  This is different than the normal x-rays you usually have in the dental office to look for cavities; the CT gives a 3-dimensional look at the teeth and all the way around the root–it’s the only way to truly see everything.  In almost every CT scan of a root canal tooth, there is infection in the bone–sometimes HUGE infection.  Seriously.  That is like having an open pussy sore on your hand all the time that never goes away.  Just because it’s something you can’t see doesn’t mean it’s not there.   When these root canal teeth are extracted, they often have a big sac of infection at the root tip, which is prime breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria, fungus, and viruses.  You can imagine what that does to your body, your immune system is constantly at war.

While I do not have a lot here to show you and go on yet, just trust me.  I see this every day.  You can’t explain why you’re getting sick all the time?  You have an inflammatory condition whose origin is unexplainable?  You better take a look in your mouth.


Are your gums flab or fab?

When meeting someone new, what is the first thing you notice about them?  Is it their clothes, their hair, the way they stand, their cellphone?  I think it goes without saying that the two things people notice when meeting someone for the first time are usually their eyes and their mouth, namely, their teeth.   ‘

beautiful-1274361_1920.jpgHaving a beautiful smile is pretty important, it makes you look good and feel good.  When people think of having a beautiful smile, they tend to think of just the teeth–keeping them white, having them straight, keeping them clean.  What many people don’t realize is that they wouldn’t have any teeth at all without a good foundation.


Teeth are supported in the mouth by fibers and ligaments, similar to elastic bands and trampoline springs.  trammpolin-2635260_1920.jpgThese fibers and bands attach to the bone and gums around each tooth.  If there’s no foundation of bone and gums then there’s nothing for the teeth to be attached to and they will fall out.  This is usually because of a disease in the mouth called periodontal disease.

So to me, a beautiful smile is not only those dashing teeth, but also healthy gums and bone.


If the gums and bone aren’t in good health, then the teeth, regardless of how stunning they are, will not stay in the mouth for very long.

How many of you worry about your figure?

Are you exercising daily?  Do you diet to drop extra weight?  Do you watch what you eat?  You can tell when you are in good shape just by pulling up your shirt and looking at the abs and the presence or absence of that six-pack.


That’s exactly the way your gums are.  Your gums can either be fab or flab.  When gums are healthy, they are tight, they are stippled like those sculpted abdominal muscles.  They are not swollen, they do not bleed, they are not flabby.  Why does that matter?  Because of several things:

In all my years as a dental hygienist I have only seen a handful of people who have really healthy gums.  Now to me, that is really scary, because if gums are a crystal ball to total body health, then they are telling me that most people are not in good health.

How can you go from flab to fab?

When you are trying to improve your figure, what is it that you do?  Well, you will exercise!  Daily lifting weights, running, jumping, all lead to tighter and more firm muscles.


That’s the same thing you want to do with your gums.  They need some “exercise” every day to make them tighter and more firm.  This exercise should include several of the following:



I have found the that the best home care tools for firm, healthy gums are a sonic toothbrush and and a waterpik.  The others are helpful but don’t produce as great of results.

When I was younger I told myself that if I just exercised more, I could eat those five cookies and still maintain my trim figure.  Wrong!  If you’ve ever thought this way you know it doesn’t work.  Exercising alone does not keep you in good shape.

What else do you need to do to prevent flab?

You need to eat better!  The gums are responsive to good nutrition just like your body.  The following are some great guidelines to go from flab to fab in your gums, and also your body:

  • cut out junk food (chips, fries, etc.)
  • cut out soda pop
  • cut out sugar
  • reduce carbohydrates (notice I didn’t say “none”)
  • eat low glycemic foods
  • increase proteins
  • increase nutrient dense rich food (vegetables, whole grains,etc.)
  • increase antioxidants (seeds, berries)
  • increase healthy fats (olive oil, avacados, nuts, coconut oil, etc)
  • drink more water

Your gums are especially sensitive to nutrition. Bad eating habits may not show up in your figure for a while, but they will in your gums in the form of swelling, bleeding, and puffiness.  This sets you on the path of disease.




Dry Mouth Anyone?

As I am writing this blog post I can hear my husband watching”The Great British Baking Show” in the other room.  I can hear the judges critiquing pies that the contestants have made and hear all sorts of descriptive words to describe the perfect pie–light, flaky crust, tall columns, fluted edges, sweet, flavorful, moist interior…’s really making me hungry!apple-pie-80102_1920.jpg

It got me thinking what descriptive words would be used to describe the perfect mouth.  Words like full lips, sparkly white straight teeth, pink gums, cymmetrical and well-proportioned arch, moist interior, all these come to mind.


I have seen a lot of beautiful mouths in my years as a hygienist.  We now have the opportunity to create more pleasant-looking mouths than ever, whether it’s through braces, bleaching, new crowns, veneers, or fillings.  I have seen people spend thousands of dollars on all of these procedures to get what they want.  But I have also seen expensively-created fantastic-looking mouths go from great health……

to destruction……cervical caries

in a matter of months because of one thing…

dry mouth.

If you haven’t noticed, our mouths are designed to be moist all of the time. child-428377_1920.jpg Babies start out life drooling a lot, which can be a bit annoying, so thank goodness they’re so darn cute and we don’t mind it.  While they do get over the drooling, the constant moisture in their mouths still remains necessary for good health.


To understand why our mouths need moisture, let’s review a few key concepts.


There are multiple glands all around the interior of the mouth that produce liquid.  The liquid, or saliva, is important for lots of things, like chewing, swallowing, speaking, and digestion.   Have you every tried swallowing when you’ve eaten a whole bunch of saltine crackers?  You know what I’m talking about.

battlements-1239283_1920For our teeth, saliva is like a moat on the outside of a castle….it creates a barrier and protects them from unwanted invaders like microbes and acids.  It also rebuilds the teeth when they get dissolved, which prevents cavities.

When saliva is not present in the mouth, when glands quit producing liquid, then it’s a big, big problem.  Our mouths are meant to be a garden of lush wetness, and when there’s no saliva, teeth struggle to stay healthy. desert-landscape-1081829_1920.jpg

Not sure if you have a dry mouth?  Here are some clues that your mouth is dry:

  1. Stick out your tongue and look in a mirror.  This is a healthy tongue–pink and moist.  If your healthy tonguetongue doesn’t look like this, if there are any cracks on your tongue, if it is really red, if it has splotchy spots, if it has white, brown, or black on top, if it looks like leather, you may have a dry mouth.


      2.  Look at your lips.  Lips should be smooth and soft like this.mouth-2160205_1920.jpg

Are your lips dry? Is the skin peeling? Are they really red around the edges?  Are there cracks in the corners of your mouth? Smack your lips together.  Do your lips stick to each other when pulled apart?  If so, you may have dry mouth.

    3.  Try and spit.  Suck your cheeks in and try and make enough saliva to spit.  If you can’t get any water to form, you may have a dry mouth.fountain-2369076_1920


What causes dry mouth?  The answer to that question is as varied as can be.  Medications are surely the biggest factor, followed next by smoking, radiation therapy, and cancer therapy.  But as I talked to Anne Guignon, a national dental hygiene speaker, at the April 2017 Utah Dental Meeting, she mentioned that dry mouth is becoming a scary epidemic because of the increase in the following mouth drying factors:

  • snacks and convenience foods that are high in sodium, which suck out moisture
  • sodas, which are diuretics (which means they makes your body get rid of water)
  • caffeine, which puts you into a state of high alert, causing decreased saliva flow
  • alcohol/alcohol mouthwashes, which dry out the tissues in the mouth
  • stress, which causes more rapid breathing, puts you in “fight or flight,” and decreases saliva flow
  • allergies, which can cause nasal blockages and more breathing through the mouth

Dr. Marilyn K. Jones, a Biological dentist in Houston, also lists the following as being causes of dry mouth:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Change in hormonal balance (Menopause)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome (expanded issues related to reduced overall mucous flow including dry eyes and mouth)
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and auto-immune diseases, or diseases that affect the immune systems response, such as HIV/AIDS
  • Oral Thrush or Intestinal Candida
  • Snoring


Is there any cure for dry mouth?  There is no ONE CURE for dry mouth.  A cure may not be warranted anyway, it may just be a lifestyle adjustment needed.  If you have a dry mouth the first thing you should do is evaluate your lifestyle and eliminate as many of the before-mentioned risk factors as possible.  For example, if you’re on a lot of medications, talk to your doctor about reducing or eliminating them.  Second would be to increase your water intake more every day.  A good rule of thumb is take half of your body weight and drink that amount of water in ounces a day.

If you have eliminated as many risk factors as possible and your mouth is still dry, then here are some suggestions to relieve and perhaps remedy dry mouth:

  • suck on xylitol sweetened mints or candies–the sucking motion stimulates your glands and also reduces acids around the teeth and the risk of getting cavities.
  • chew some xylitol sweetened gum.  The chewing motion stimulates the glands to produce more saliva.
  • chew watery hard veggies like celery to naturally hydrate the mouth and stimulate saliva production, especially around meal time.
  • use a supplement like PMG Parotid daily with each meal to stimulate the saliva glands.
  • use a saliva substitute several times a day to keep the mouth feeling moist.
  • have acupuncture done on your glands to stimulate salivary production.  Studies show that this has been effective,  though I would only go to someone I trust knows what they’re doing.
  • increase Vitamin E and Vitamin C supplementation.  I have been impressed with a pre-biotic toothpaste called Revitin that has these two antioxidants in it.
  • get an over the counter nightguard for dry mouth at night.
  • use over the counter dental products made for dry mouth to moisturize the mouth.
  • do oil pulling.  Put 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in the mouth. let it melt on your tongue, and swish around the mouth for 20 minutes daily, spitting the oil in the garbage when done.

There are many other natural remedies that claim to reduce dry mouth available online but these are the suggestions I have studied and have used myself.  Again, in helping with dry mouth I would suggest:

  1. eliminate any risk factors

  2. try dry mouth remedies, one at a time, to find what works for you

drip-921067_1920.jpgIn regards to dry mouth the bottom line is that in order to protect what you have in your mouth, you HAVE to have saliva.  It has to be wet.  It needs to be moist.

It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect most radiant, beautiful smile in the world…….pretty-girl-2110243_1920.jpg if it’s not kept moist, it will surely corrode over time.










The Sweet Truth about Xylitol

What is xylitol?  

Xylitol is a sweetener, like sugar,  made from from the fibrous parts of plants, mostly the bark of birch trees and corn cobs.

Xylitol is said to be a “natural” sweetener, but in reality, it has been highly processed in order to made it consumable for the human body–you wouldn’t normally be able to digest tree bark and corn cobs like a cow can.  Xylose IS a natural sweetener found in fruits and vegetables but it is not xylitol.  raspberries-2497663_1920.jpg

What is the big deal about xylitol?

Xylitol can have a pretty significant effect on your mouth.  Decay is a disease caused from bacteria that nestle around the teeth in a sticky goo called biofilm.  The bacteria are fed and protect themselves with the help of sugar, and then after they digest the sugar they produce “bacterial poop” or acid, that stays around the teeth.  This acid is what will corrode your teeth and make holes. The sugar also helps the bacteria make their protective biofilm of polysaccharides.  xylitol chart

Is xylitol effective?

Xylitol is especially effective against the cavity forming bacteria called S. Mutans because of their love for sugar. It has no effect on the bacteria that cause gum disease but it is effective against the biofilm that they live in.  bacteria-62993_1920.jpgBecause xylitol is super sweet, the cavity causing bacteria in your mouth will be attracted to it and eat it.  But the bacteria cannot digest it and they die.  When the bacteria die, they do not make any poop.  And when there’s no usable sugar to regenerate their biofilm to protect themselves, the biofilm cannot be maintained and will disintigrate.  When there’s no biofilm, there is no acid sitting around the teeth.  This will reduce the chance of getting cavities and also gum disease.

graffiti-746031_1920.jpgXylitol is also very effective in helping prevent cavities because it increases the saliva, or spit in your mouth.  When you chew, your saliva increases, so if you chew xylitol sweetened gum, your body produces more saliva.   This helps protect your teeth against acids.

What type of products have xylitol in them that can help your mouth? 

There are a dozens of xylitol products available.  xylitol productsThere are all sorts of gum, mints, lozenges, toothpastes, vitamins, mouthwashes, gels, candies, and sprays.  Check the ingredients list and make sure that xylitol is first on the label and not any other sweetner like saccharin and aspertame.  Most gums in the grocery store have a combination of sweeteners and are not recommended.  To get products that are sweetened only with xylitol you may have to go to a health food store or purchase online. Carefully weigh what the ingredients are and what would be right for you.

Xylitol has also been used to prevent bacterial ear infections and there are many products available for this.  It is said that xylitol makes things “slicky” and not “sticky” so bacteria cannot attach to mucous membranes. I have used Xlear nose spray to prevent getting sick and it has been quite effective though over-use has really bothered my eyes.spry.PNG

What is the recommended dosage of xylitol to be effective?

For dental care and the prevention of cavities, it is recommended for adults to have 8-10 grams or 8-10 doses of xylitol over the course of a day.  Young children should have 3-8 grams or 3-8 doses a day. xylitol dosagesOne large dosage once a day is not as effective as having small dosages all throughout the day, keeping the saliva constantly replenished with xylitol.  For example, each piece of xylitol gum has between .84-1.4 grams of xylitol in it, so in order to get 8-10 grams of xylitol, you would need to eat 6-10 pieces of gum a day, so one or two after you have something to eat.  But if you use xylitol toothpaste or mouth rinse, or you ate a xylitol candy, or sucked on a lozenge, that would also give you another dosage.

Is xylitol safe?

There is a bit of a controversy regarding xylitol.  First of all, some xylitol is made from GMO corn cobs.  Second, the process of manufacturing xylitol includes hydrogenation and the use of nickel, a metal infamous for allergic reactions.  Third, xylitol can cause stomach and digestive problems.  Fourth, destroying bacteria in the mouth can disrupt the body’s natural balance of bacteria.  Fifth,  there is no long term research showing that it is completely safe.  And sixth, xylitol in large dosages (50-100 g) can kill dogs.

xylitol sweetener.PNGWhen considering using xylitol, it is important to do research and decide if it is best for you.  Now, as for myself, I cannot eat xylitol as a sweetener in my food, it really upsets my digestive system.  Like I said above, I have used it in preventative ways.  Because it has some benefits for your health does not mean that you need a lot of it.  Small exposures to xylitol over the course of a day can be helpful in the mouth, but excessive amounts can be harmful.

If you choose to use xylitol products, my basic reccomendations are as follows:

  • make sure that the xylitol products you buy are made from non-GMO corn or birch bark.  Canada prides itself on having the largest supply of xylitol made from birch bark.
  • Check the ingredients label and make sure that xylitol is at the top of the list and that there are no other sweeteners in it.
  • To use xylitol to reduce bacteria in the mouth it needs to be used consistently throughout the day.   Having 8-10 g a day is recommended for adults, or 8-10 doses, and 3-8 g for young children, and can be obtained in toothpaste, mouthrinse, gum, candies, etc.
  • If you have any reactions to xylitol, discontinue using it.  This may include digestive problems, rashes, headaches, and eye irritations.
  • Keep xylitol products away from dogs at all times.  The small amounts of xylitol in a piece of gum may only make them sick and but large doses can kill.


Truthfully Speaking–Essential Oils CAN Benefit the Mouth

essential-oils-1433694_1920Essential oils have become very popular over the last few years.  As more people are trying to live more holistic, clean lives with minimal exposure to man-made chemicals, people have turned to essential oils for their many aromatheraputic and medicinal properties.

But are essential oils safe for your mouth?  Do they really help?  What can they be used for?  How can they be used?

I will tell you right now, they will not heal cavities, they will not “fix” a toothache, and they are not a “cure all” for all dental problems.  If pain, swelling, or weird bumps in the mouth last more than 1-2 days, they should be looked at.  You may have an abcessed tooth, a cavity, a cracked tooth, or maybe just receeding gums.   And essential oils should never be over-used.  They are very strong antibacterials and will kill the good as well as the bad bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to many other problems.  Use them properly and they can be very helpful.  Following are some essential oils I recommend and what they can be used for:

CLOVES:  Cloves has a numbing and antibacterial effect that can be very helpful for dry socket, for nerve pain in or around a tooth, and for gum pain.  It will not fix a toothache but can relieve your pain until you can get in to see a dentist or just help you rest.

APPLICATION:  dilute 1:1 with a carrier oil (coconut oil, almond oil), place 1-2 drops on finger, Q-tip, clean cloth, or cotton ball and rub directly around tooth or area the pain is coming from.

*Do not use for teething pain in babies, see lavender below.

MELALEUCA (TEA TREE):  Melaleuca is a great anti-fungal oil as well as being anti-bacterial and an antiseptic.  It is the best oil for fungus.  You may have a fungal overgrowth when the corners of your mouth crack, there is white or yellow patches growing inside your cheeks or on your tongue that are uncomfortable and painful when brushed away, or you have a bad taste in your mouth and pain swallowing.  It is an over-growth of yeast, or candida albicans, a bacteria from the digestive tract, and is typically seen after antibiotic therapy.  It is commonly called Thrush.

APPLICATION:  On the outside of the mouth on the skin, apply oil directly to the affected area several times a day until gone.  In the mouth dilute oil 1:1 with water.  Use 1 tablespoon of mixture and rinse in mouth, gargle in throat, for 30-60 seconds.  Spit out entire amount of mouthwash, do not swallow.  Repeat several times a day to receive the maximum benefit and use only until mouth is healed.

GINGER, THYME, HYSSOP, SANDLEWOOD:  These oils kill viruses, among other things, and the number one virus affecting the mouth is herpes labialis, or cold sores.  These oils have been especially helpful in resistant viral strains that have mutated and aren’t being affected by medications anymore.

APPLICATION:  mix equal drops of each oil in an equal amount of carrier oil (coconut or almond oil) and apply to affected area with a Q-tip several times a day or until lesion is gone.

CINNAMON BARK AND SWEET BASIL:   There are many bacteria in the mouth that cause all sorts of problems, but none so despised as those that cause cavities.  Cinnamon bark and sweet basil oil have been found to prevent the growth of these cavity forming bacteria and their sticky biofilm that they live in.

APPLICATION:  Place one drop of each oil on index finger, place a piece of floss on your index finger with the oil on it, close thumb over the floss and rub oil across the length of the floss, then floss your teeth.  Do once a month twice a day for three days.  Repeat each month.  This should only be used if one is prone to a lot of cavities and should never be done daily.

LAVENDER:  Lavender is for calming, for soothing.  It has many uses in and on the body that relate to the mouth that can range from dental anxiety, teething pain, to TMJ (jaw joint) pain.


  • For teething, place 1 drop on finger and place on affected area.  Roman chamomile oil can also safely be used in babies.
  • For dental anxiety, place 2-3 drops on palm of one hand, rub palms of both hands together, and cup around nose.  Breathe in several times.  Do 15 minutes before dental treatment for best results.  Orange can also be used for anxiety.
  • For TMJ pain, clenching, and grinding, rub a few drops of oil on the back of the  neck and on the bottom of your feet right before bed.



Other essential oils like wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, ylang ylang, helichrysum, blue tansy, blue chamomile, and osmanthus can be used to soothe and cool sore, achey muscles of the jaw or neck and are especially enhanced with a hot rice bag or towel on the affected area after the oil is rubbed on.

I am asked a lot about oil pulling.  Oil pulling is swishing an oil, usually coconut oil, in the mouth for 15-20 minutes a day.  As needed a few drops of antibacterial essential oils may be added to the oil as well.  Oil pulling is a very old practice dating back several hundred years and has been found to be effective on some oral bacteria.  It has also been found to be beneficial against plaque induced gingivitis, bad breath, and thrush.  I have encouraged oil pulling for people with dry mouth or that have an active infection in their mouth as it will draw out toxins from the tissues.  Otherwise, oil pulling is only marginally helpful and may not be worth the time involved.

You can use essential oils to keep your toothbrush fresh and clean.  Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and 5 drops of melaleuca oil to 2 cups spring water and keep the head of your toothbrush submerged in enough solution to cover the bristles. Rinse the brush bristles off before using in your mouth.  Keep the rest of the solution in a bpa free plastic bottle or class container and change liquid around the toothbrush once a week.

A few drops of essential oil can be used with some baking soda as a toothpaste.  Be careful with baking soda, though, as it can be pretty abrasive.  You can make your own toothpaste and use essential oils that are helpful to the gums to flavor it as in the following recipe:

Homemade Toothpaste
  1. 1/2 c. coconut oil
  2. 2–4 tablespoons Bentonite clay (found at health food stores)
  3. Up to 1 tablespoon xylitol powder (optional)
  4. 20 drops lemon or tangerine oil
  5. 20 drops cranberry seed oil
  6. small glass jar with air tight lid to mix and store in.

I am not a big fan of mouthwash but here is a recipe for one made with essential oils.  Scraping or brushing your tongue should get rid of bad breathe and if it doesn’t, you may have another problem and might want to have a check up.


As I said earlier, essential oils must not be over-used or used improperly.  I do not recommend antibacterial essential oils in the mouth every day unless there’s a reason or you are directed by a dental professional.  I do use essential oil blends with dental treatment but only for limited amounts of time.  There are many antibacterial oils available that can be used in the mouth but oils do not distinguish between good and bad bacteria and will kill everything.  You need good bacteria in your mouth to aid in digestion. What you do in the mouth sets the stage for everything that comes after in the stomach and in the whole body, so be cautious!
















Don’t Want to Lose your Teeth? Then Read the Gums!

Did you ever wish that you could look into a crystal ball and get answers to life’s questions?  Know what your future will be?psychics-1026092_1920

That would be amazing, wouldn’t it!

Well, I am not a palm reader or a psychic, but one thing I do do is read gums.  I can tell if your body is healthy, or not.  I can tell if you are going to have your teeth for the rest of your life, or not.  Why?  Because your gums tell me.

To explain why, let’s review about what gums are and what they do.

In your mouth your teeth are surrounded by tissue called gingiva, or gums.  Here is a video  showing what I mean.

girl-204327_1920These gums are colored from all the nourishing blood vessels that lie near the tissue surface.  The mouth  tissue is not tough and dry like the skin on your face or hands on the outside of the body.  It is tender and moist.

splinterIf you were to have a sliver of wood in your hand what would happen?  It would swell up, get red, get puffy, and maybe even pussy.  Your body is trying to push out the sliver.  This process is known as inflammation.

In the mouth there are all sorts of things that get stuck between the gums and teeth–mostly from the food you eat.  When things get stuck, your gums have the same reaction as a sliver in your hand….they get red, get puffy, and maybe even pussy; they are trying to push out what’s stuck.

Other things that get stuck in your mouth are smaller, like bacteria and microbes. dental plaque

Your body does the same thing with these bugs as with the sliver, it tries to get rid of them by pushing them out with this inflammation process of getting red, puffy, and maybe even pussy.  But when the bugs are stuck to the teeth, which is what they do over time, they don’t go away.

When the body can’t get rid of something between the tooth and gum, it switches it’s game plan and says, “If the bugs can’t be pushed off of the tooth, then let’s extract the whole tooth!”worker-30240_1280

To extract the tooth the body starts having bone around the teeth dissolved.  It says, “If we get rid of bone and the teeth fall out, then the bugs will be gone!”

This, my friends, is not good.  This is what is called gum disease.

sore gums


I see people with gum disease every day.  I see people with their teeth being”pushed out” by their body from small local areas to every tooth in their mouth.  When this is happening, it means the  body has some problems and it needs some help.

The first sign that the body is starting this excavation process is bleeding in the gums.  But even if your gums don’t ever bleed when you brush and floss, it still may be happening….it’s just deeper in the gums than you can reach with your home dental tools.

So if you don’t want to see missing teeth in your future, it would be wise to seek out a competent dental professional who can “read” your gums and find out if your body needs some help getting rid of bugs stuck to your teeth.

If you want to know how a dental professional can read your gums, watch this video.

If you want more information about gum disease, read this article or watch this video









It’s the Truth! Sensitive teeth may be caused from brushing at the wrong time

I can’t tell you how many times I have had people come into the dental office with the complaint that their teeth hurt when they brush or drink cold drinks.


Why is this problem happening?

It could be that there are some exposed roots which are typically very sensitive.


Or the answer may be as simple as brushing at the wrong time every day.

What does that have to do with sensitivity?

Every time you put something in your mouth that has sugar, carbohydrates, or acid in it,  it changes things in your mouth.

Have you ever heard of the pH scale?

The pH scale goes from 1 to 14 and rates how acidic something is.  Your teeth begin to dissolve if the pH gets to be more acidic, at about 5.5, which is just below the neutral level of 7.

Here is a list of common foods and drinks on a pH scale:


Notice how many are below neutral, or on the left of the chart.  Those closer to a 1 or on the left side of the chart are not so good for your teeth.  Those that are above 7, or neutral, or on the right of the chart, are more basic and not as bad for the teeth.

Now the part I want to get to is about your time of brushing.

After you have eaten something with a lower pH it lowers the pH of your mouth.  When your mouth’s pH has dropped, the very worst thing to do is to brush your teeth.


Well, a lower pH means your mouth is more acidic, and when you have acid all over your teeth and you brush, it will disrupt or wear the tooth cells more.  Do that over and over and over again and it will errode the tooth, especially at the gumline where the tooth is very vulnerable.

At the 2018 Utah Dental Convention, Dr. Wyatt Rory Hume, Dean of the University of Utah School of Dentistry, discussed his findings on this very subject.  He has followed research done with children in New Zealand regarding pH and how to prevent cavities and sensitivity.  He suggests that instead of brushing right after every meal, it is best to brush when there is no acid on your teeth.  You get a better absorbtion of minerals from your remineralizing toothpaste in the enamel when you have a basic mouth and no acids present.  There is only one safe time a day that fits the bill, and that is first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.  

Dr. Hume cautions brushing after every meal, that it actually makes you more sensitive and does more damage to your teeth than good.

Instead, he suggests getting up every morning, go in the bathroom, and do a very thorough brush with your remineralizing toothpaste before eating and drinking.  Then bacteria around your teeth are reduced, your teeth are remineralized, and they are ready for a day of acid exposure.

Now what you can do after you eat so your teeth don’t feel gross?

I would suggest flossing, or blotting, or tooth picking to get out food particles stuck between your teeth.  To neutralize acids in your mouth I would rinse your mouth out for a minute with one tablespoon baking soda and a little water (it’s very salty-tasting but is very effective).

Dr. Hume suggests chewing something hard, like celery, carrots, apples, cucumbers, peppers… get the idea.  Or chew some xyiltol sweetened gum for a few minutes.

What does that do?

The chewing motion starts your glands producing more saliva.  That watery liquid washes over the teeth, neutralizes the acids, and raises the pH in your mouth.  Saliva protects your teeth against acids from foods and bacteria and replaces lost minerals in the teeth.

But the pH doesn’t return to it’s normal level for hours, perhaps even the rest of the day according to Dr. Hume, and so it is important  not to run a toothbrush or toothpaste, which acts like sandpaper to your teeth, until the pH is high again.


In conclusion, to reduce gum sensitivity and have stronger teeth, Dr. Hume suggests brushing only in the morning and not brushing the rest of the day.  Only brushing once a day is debatable, especially if you are trying to stay on top of active infections in your mouth when it’s important to disrupt the plaque and biofilm more often.  I would suggest consulting with your dental professional who knows your mouth best for a recommendation.  Personally, I brush twice a day but I try not to brush at night unless it has been two to three hours since I have eaten.   If it hasn’t been very long since I have eaten I will only use my water pik and floss, and then do a thorough brush the next morning.


The Truth about Toothbrushes

If you think of all the people there are in the world that are as diversified culturally, climatically, and dietarilly as can be , I can still imagine that there are mothers out there telling their kids to “brush your teeth” before going to bed every night.

I myself have done this with my own kids.  When my youngest son was little, about two or three years old, he hated getting his teeth brushed.

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Here’s the kid who hated getting his teeth brushed….look at those choppers now!

And me, as the responsible mom wanting to do what was best for him and protect him from getting cavities, we went through the same ritual every night of laying him on the couch with his head in my lap and counting from one to ten as I quickly brushed in vigorous circles each area of his mouth.  To shake up the routine I would sometimes count in Spanish or French, though besides numbers don’t ask me to recall anything else from my ninth-grade French class.

As a dental professional I have spent a lot of time over the years meeting with dental reps, looking at different toothbrush heads, feeling toothbrush bristles, and trying to gauge which toothbrush would be best for me, for my family, and for my patients.

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My opinion of toothbrushes changed as I attended the Utah Dental Meeting in 2017.  I had taught for years the Bass Technique for brushing your teeth with a regular non-electric manual toothbrush, which is a 45 degree angle into the gums and circular or jiggling motion at the gumline for ten seconds every two or three teeth.  At that meeting there was a new awareness taught about biofilm and how it relates to your health, and the disease links that were emerging from bacteria thought to only be found in the mouth.  This biofilm housed aggressive, destructive bacteria that were being found in other areas of the body:  plaque in the arteries, which can cause heart attacks and strokes, , umbilical cords of stillborn babies, and other weird places like your sinuses.  Evidence was also shown that these aggressive bacteria were linked to other inflammatory diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and were directly linked to pancreatic cancer.  The link between these bacteria and disease is on the rise, they are something to be seriously concerned about.

The bacteria if colonized and grown in the mouth can hop a ride in the blood stream and travel to other areas of the body.  Nice, huh!

At this meeting there was irrefutable evidence that regular toothbrushes did not remove biofilm.

As a review of what biofilm is, it’s a colony of bacteria surrounded by a sugary sticky substance that are attached to the teeth.   The bacteria protects itself and can be hard to get off.

When I think of bacteria in biofilm, I think of weeds.



I have done gardening for years and one thing I do know about weeds, if you don’t pull up the whole root, that darn weed will grow back.  You can knock down the tops of the weeds so you can’t see them, but they are not gone and will pop up their leaves in a few days.

In your mouth the biofilm is attached to your teeth very securely like a weed with a tap root is secured in the ground.   Bacteria’s sugary “goo” that surrounds it is resistant to antibiotics, chemicals, and regular toothbrushing.

I used to think that a toothbrush was a toothbrush, and that if you used an electric toothbrush, well, good for you!   But I didn’t think it was a necessity.  After seeing electron microscope video footage of bacteria in a biofilm colony on a tooth not even budging with a regular toothbrush, I was worried.

Then I was shown another electron microscope’s video footage of biofilm on a tooth being cleaned with a sonic instument used in the dental office called an ultrasonic , and after 30+ seconds the biofilm finally broke off of the tooth (This would be a BIG reason to have periodontal therapy done in the dental office–vibrating at 25,000 times per second and it takes 30 seconds to get the bugs off?  Think about that for a minute!)

That was a wake up call as to how important it is to have good tools to do the job right.  Now, not everyone’s biofilm is going to be so hard to get off the teeth, but I just want you to understand what is going on with the bugs in your mouth, and can you clearly see that you need power tools?

Many of you might know that it is so much easier and faster if you use a power drill over a regular screw driver to sink a screw, right?  Well, the sonic toothbrush vibrates at 30,000 times per minute….I would like to try and see anyone come close to brushing in circles that many times in a minute by hand!

So if you were to ask me what toothbrush I recommend I would hands down say a sonic toothbrush.  Now, that’s a sonic toothbrush, not a spin brush, and not an Oral B.  This video will demonstrate the difference between a manual toothbrush, a spin brush, and a sonic toothbrush.  The evidence of which cleans best is very clear.

Now, it’s great to own a sonic toothbrush, but if you don’t use it the right way, it’s not going to do you any good.

At the 2018 Utah Dental Meeting I went to the Sonicare Toothbrush Rep and asked what are the recommendations for using a sonic toothbrush and here is what he said demonstrated in this video:


For your best health, for better bug removal, and to to be more pro-active about disease prevention, get a sonic toothbrush.  Using one won’t guarantee that you won’t get gum disease, but it’s the best toothbrush you can use at home.  Do me a favor though, and that is to see your dental professionals for a thorough periodontal health analysis as soon as possible.  If you do have gum disease, you are at risk for many other health problems.  Periodontal therapy through the use of an ultrasonic could save your life.