More Tea, Less Cavities

Red, swollen gums that bleed easily are the first signs of gum disease. Periodontal diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. A new study reveals drinking black tea can help prevent gum disease and fight cavities.

In several trials, volunteers rinsed their months with black tea. Rinsing for 1 minute, 10 times a day resulted in a decrease in plaque build-up but only multiple rinsing with the tea prevented bacteria growth. More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque. The bacteria produce acid that causes cavities on the surface of the teeth. Gum disease begins when the bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed. Researchers say when exposed to black tea, certain bacteria lose their ability to produce acid.

The chemicals in black tea, called polyphenols, suppress the growth of cavity-causing bacteria in plaque and reduce acid production levels. People can incorporate tea into their daily eating schedule. If sequenced properly between meals and normal hygiene, drinking black tea could reduce the number of cavities and prevent periodontal disease.

Black tea is the most popular beverage all over the world. It is derived from the dried leaves of the Camellia plant.

Calming Sore Gums

Periodontal disease can ruin your smile and your health. For years, the only option for someone with the disease was oral surgery. Now there’s a new therapy that’s quick and painless.

Alan needs a dentist badly. He neglected his teeth for years while battling lupus. Now he has periodontal disease. “Now my lupus is in remission, and I intend to live for a long time. So I’d like to have my teeth,” says Alan.

Dr. is treating Alan with a drug called Atridox. The antibiotic gel is squirted into the pockets of the gums where bacteria grows. Atridox solidifies, then time releases high concentrations of an antibiotic. Eighty-five percent of those treated with Atridox show distinct improvement.

“We see profound changes in the pocket depths and level of inflammation in patients that have had this therapy,” says a periodontist in Denver.

In advanced cases of periodontal disease, gums bleed easily and are swollen. Teeth fall out. It can also lead to heart disease and low birthweight babies. Atridox is a painless, non-surgical way to fight back.

After battling lupus, Alan says the gel is an easy treatment, “I’m hoping that I can avoid surgery altogether. That would be financially rewarding and certainly painless.”

To insure good dental health, dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, eating a balanced diet and visiting your dentist regularly.

Smoker’s Nutrition

Containing over 4,000 chemicals, including more than sixty known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances, tobacco smoke has an obvious negative impact on health. People who smoke cigarettes or any other form of tobacco are at greater risk for such serious respiratory illnesses as lung, cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, as well as coronary heart disease, stroke, circulatory problems, periodontal disease, and osteoporosis.

Smoking robs the body of a number of important vitamins and minerals, and it also affects the body’s ability to absorb these essential nutrients. The primary nutrient affected by cigarette smoke is vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, is needed for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and is essential for healing wounds. It is also necessary to form collagen, a protein that is required to make blood vessels, skin, scar tissue, and ligaments. As one of the body’s many antioxidants, vitamin C helps block some of the damage caused by free radicals.

Supplements for smokers

• Alpha-lipoic acid
• Carnitine
• Coenzyme Q10
• N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
• Selenium
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E

Warning – You already know that very high dosages of vitamin A and beta-carotene can cause certain health risks. However, recent studies have shown that smokers who intake high dosages of vitamin A and/or beta-carotene may hve an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Consequently, do not take more than 8,000 IU a day of vitamin A or beta-carotene – especially if you are a smoker.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease refers to any infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It begins just below the gum line, where it causes the tooth attachment and the gums to break down. This type of disease is classified according to its severity, of which there are two major stages – gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis, which affects only the gums, is a milder and reversible form of the disease. Left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis (also called pyorrhea), a more serious, destructive condition that erodes the underlying bone and leads to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is also a major risk factor for heart disease. In the United States, over 75 percent of adults over age thirty-five have some degree of periodontal disease.

Poor nutrition and inadequate oral hygiene are key factors in the development of periodontal disease. Other factors that can increase its risk include excessive alcohol and sugar consumption, tobacco chewing or smoking, and a number of medications, including certain cancer therapy drugs, steroids, and oral contraceptives. Individuals with systemic diseases such as diabetes are also at greater risk.

Although there are several signs that can signal a possible periodontal problem – gums that are red, swollen, and tender; persistent bad breath; gums that bleed easily; permanent teeth that begin to separate or loosen; and gums that have receded from the teeth – it is possible to experience no warning signs at all! This is one reason that regular dental checkups are so important. Of course good daily hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing, is essential as well.

Supplements to treat periodontal disease

• Calcium – although most people are deficient in calcium, there is a danger in taking too much calcium. Do not ingest more than 1,000 to 2,000 mg of calcium a day.
• Carnitine
• Coenzyme Q10 – available at compounding pharmacies as a prescription paste to brush on gums or can be swallowed as supplement.
• Copper – your copper-to-zinc ratio is very important for your health. Also, do not take copper supplement cupric oxide, which has a very low bioavailability.
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• Probiotics
• Vitamin A and mixed carotenoids – do not take for extended periods of time. Do not take more than 8,000 IU a day if you have liver disease, are a smoker, or are exposed to asbestos.
• Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – do not take more than 500 mg a day. If you are taking L-dopa for Parkinson’s disease, do not take B6 without first consulting your doctor.
• Vitamin B9 (folic acid) – high doses can deplete your body of other vitamins in the B complex.
• Vitamin C – do not take high dosages if you are prone to kidney stones or gout.
• Vitamin E
• Zinc