Dentistry That’s as Unique as You

Do you look exactly like your neighbor? Eat the same foods? Do the same things? Of course not! What about allergies? Are you and your neighbor allergic to the same things? Do the same things make you sick? “No,” you say? So why, then, does your dentist treat you exactly the same way as your neighbor?

Dentistry is a stodgy, old profession. Despite changes in all other medical fields, many dentists still perform dentistry the way they did 30, 40 years ago. They resist change and stick to the “tried and true,” even when the “tried and true” has long since been proven ineffective and outdated.

Today, we understand that everyone is different. We understand that new technologies and new ideas are GOOD for our industry and for you, our patients. Yet still, most dentists refuse to change. They refuse to move forward for the benefit of the patient and insist on doing things the way they always have.

At the office of Dr. Marilyn K. Jones, we have long-since cast away our old beliefs on dentistry and patient care. We invest in new trainings, new technologies, and new ideas. We open our minds to new thoughts and new studies so that we can provide the best possible care for you, our patients.

Besides our constant evolution on the technology side of dentistry (we have some of the most advanced technology in the industry in our Houston dental practice), we have invested heavily in the idea that each and everyone of our patients are unique, requiring unique materials and procedures based on you as a person, not “the industry standard.”

We test our patients for biocompatibility before we use materials. We make sure you aren’t sensitive to an anesthetic or a composite filling before we use it (and if you are, we choose a different one). We stock multiple types of materials, to increase the odds that we have the one that works best for you on any given day.

At our Houston biological dental practice, we treat you the way YOU deserve to be treated – not the way we treat everyone else. Rather than teach our staff to “treat everyone the same,” we coach them to treat every patient the way that patients expects to be treated… and it’s an idea that we carry all the way through our practice and into our patient care.

If you’re tired of being treated like everyone else and want to be treated as the unique individual you are – with unique needs both biologically and emotionally – give our office a call today at (713) 785-7767 and discover the difference a biological dentist can make in your life.

Are Amalgam Fillings Dangerous?

60 Minutes Investigates Amalgam Fillings

Toxic Red Grunge Round Stamp On White Background24 years ago, “60-Minutes” aired an episode about dental amalgam fillings questioning its use in dentistry. That was just after mercury had been removed from latex paint because of toxicity in both adults and children. Despite that – and studies concluding mercury should be considered more toxic than lead or arsenic – today, 24 years later, dentists are still using and advocating for the use of mercury in dentistry.

The FDA has not conducted ANY analysis to establish the safety of mercury amalgam fillings, despite the fact that more than 50% of the filling is made from one of the most toxic substances on earth and that after just a few minutes of chewing, a mouth with amalgam fillings may have mercury vapors detectable at close to 100% higher than the levels banned by the EPA in paint fumes over two decades ago.

While science has not definitively linked a specific disease to chronic mercury exposure, we do know it has been indicated in arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and colitis to name a few. In mercury laden environments there are, in fact, direct implications to kidney disease, birth defects, even symptoms of MS. If no safe levels of mercury exposure exist, why then is it still so prevalent in the dental industry?

The argument? Misinformed dentists say that chronic exposure to mercury at low levels does NOT harm your health… they argue that only acute toxicity matters, despite the scientific evidence that chronic exposure to mercury — a neuro-toxin — will cause irreversible health problems. Supporters of mercury say that there is no “scientific evidence that the mercury from fillings can cause health problems” and they want double-blind studies to prove toxicity, despite the studies that have shown the harmful effects of mercury as an element and as an additive (dentists somehow believe that mercury in your mouth is different from mercury anywhere else — it’s safer… because they say so).

In Dr. Marilyn K Jones’ practice in Houston, we have been safely removing mercury fillings for decades. Many of our patients have chronic systemic health issues and we work closely with their other health practitioners to remove these toxins from their mouth, safely, so they can start the healing process.

Please watch this video and ask yourself: why is dentistry the only industry to still claim that mercury is safe? And do you want to see a doctor who is unwilling to draw logical conclusions from medical studies and information on hand today because he’s comfortable with the industry standard that is decades outdated?

Why See a Biological Dentist in Houston?

Why See a Biological Dentist in Houston?

By now most people know what a holistic dentist is. Even if they don’t know that holistic dentists exist, they know what the word holistic means and they know what a dentist is, so they can deduce that a holistic dentist is a dentist who looks at the whole body.

Holistic dentists are not medical doctors. They don’t do whole-body exams. Instead, they buck the industry norm of looking at the mouth like an isolated appendix and look at it in terms of what it really is: an integral part of the body.

At some point a long, long time ago someone – probably a dentist – decided it would be a good idea to pretend the mouth wasn’t connected to the body and create special schools for dentists and isolate them from all other medical fields. The same person probably encouraged dentists to separate themselves as far from medical doctors as possible. And now we have the only medical field that doesn’t go to medical school. Dentistry – the practice of pretending a mouth isn’t in the body.

So if a holistic dentist looks at dentistry in terms of its affect on the whole body and overall wellness, what is a biological dentist? Same thing, fancier term.

Because holistic dentistry is not a recognized specialty, there is no industry-standard term. Holistic is still the most widely used term, but a few dentists decided that “holistic” had a certain connotation that wasn’t always viewed in the best light and went with a term that is a little more medical and different: biological dentistry.

Our practice is a biological dental practice in Houston, Texas. We are also a holistic dental practice in Houston, Texas. And a natural dental practice in Houston, Texas.

No matter what you call us, our goal is to provide quality care that views dentistry the way it SHOULD be viewed: in terms of it’s overall affect on your whole-body wellness.

When we make the faulty choice to separate dental work from our whole body, we are more apt to do work that has a negative affect on patient health. That’s convenient for a lot of reasons. For instance, we know mercury is toxic as a substance. We make people wear hazardous materials gear to handle it so no one breathes it in, swallows it, or even touches it. It isn’t healthy. But when you pretend that the mouth isn’t part of the body, all of a sudden mercury becomes a great materials for filling cavities. It is easy to work with, is strong, and relatively cheap. And because we are pretending the mouth isn’t connected to the body, we don’t have to worry about the fact that we are placing a toxic material – a material we are told not to breath or touch – directly into your mouth.

See how convenient it is? It makes dental work very simple, by thinking only of how things affect the mouth and ignoring the rest of your body.

When you take that HUGE leap of faith and start believing that your mouth is actually IN your body, it causes some problems. All of a sudden we have to find materials that not only fix your cavity, but ALSO are safe and good for the rest of your body. Not as easy. Not as simple. Not as cut-and-dried.

As a biological dental practice, we go that extra mile to find materials that fix your dental problems but are also safe for the rest of your body. And it goes WAY beyond mercury fillings. What about X-Rays? What about white fillings? What about root canals? What about dental implants>? What about dentures? What about crowns, caps, and bridges? What about something as simple as the first exam?

We spend extra time listening to our patients. Extra time studying materials. Extra time figuring out what is best for our PATIENT and not just our patient’s mouth. You see, in our estimation, the mouth is actually INSIDE our whole body. In our estimation, it’s beyond time to start treating it that way.

If you agree, we encourage you to seek out a biological dentist in your area. They are popping up more and more around the world. And if you’re in the Houston area, give us a call. We’ve been at this game a LONG time, thinking outside the box and inside the whole body.

Do You Need to See a Dentist?

At our biological dental practice in Houston, Texas, we get a lot of calls from people with a bad toothache or other dental emergency. They are in pain and want to know how to fix it now. They want a healthy alternative to their regular dentist (that’s why they called a biological dentist) and they want to know the safest way to get out of pain quickly.

Unfortunately, the safest way is to not get into pain in the first place. Obviously things happen in life and sometimes a toothache in unavoidable, but most patients wait too long and a preventable dental problem escalates into a major dental emergency and often a major dental procedure.

So how do you know when you should see a dentist? What are the early warnings signs so you nip things in the bud before they escalate to major problems?

  1. Floss regularly. I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m not telling you to floss to keep your teeth clean (you already KNOW that). If you floss regularly you will notice small cavities or other problems between the teeth sooner. A small cavity is MUCH easier to fix than a big one – which might require an extraction and dental implant. If you floss and feel a small pain, twinge, or anything else weird or out of the ordinary, give us a call and we can probably prevent the problem from getting any worse.
  2. Look in the mirror. Most people are so used to brushing their teeth that they don’t watch themselves do it anymore. But spending a few minutes before or after you brush to look in the mirror can prevent a lot of problems. Pull your lips back and check along the gum line. Are there any bumps? Any discoloration? Lesions? All of those things could mean major problems forming under the gumline. And most of those early warning signs can prevent major dental work – and a major toothache – later.
  3. Pay attention when you eat. Pain or twinges in your mouth while eating are often a sign of bigger problems. If you eat sugar and have some pain, you might be getting a cavity (did you know many cavities, when treated early, don’t even need to be drilled out? Catch them early to save yourselves the whir of the drill!). Pain when eating hot or colds things? Your gums could be having an issue or maybe a cavity. Hurts when you chew on one side? Maybe an abscess, infection, cavity, cracked tooth… any number of things.
  4. Do your teeth hurt when you wake up in the morning? This is a classic sign of bruxism – or grinding your teeth. Why does it matter? If you grind at night, you are at risk for TMJ problems, cavities, cracked teeth, and more. All of which can be avoided with a simple bit guard if caught early. If your mouth hurts when you wake up, call and schedule an appointment.

90% of dental emergencies can be avoided by taking the simple precautions above. Regular visits to the dentist don’t have to be scary or painful – they can prevent scary and painful visits later, in fact. So give us a call. Check for the early warning signs, and prevent future dental emergencies.

And if you do have an emergency, come visit our holistic dental practice in Houston – we are happy to help keep your mouth beautiful and healthy – and out of pain!

Does Your Dentist Treat You Right?

There are two ways to treat a patient: the way you would want to be treated and the way THEY want to be treated. Far too many practices and staffs treat patients the way the staff would want to be treated instead of the RIGHT way — the way the PATIENT wants to be treated.

It’s human nature to project ourselves on top those around us. We put ourselves into situations so we can better understand how to react. Most people hear it their whole lives: “treat people the way you would want to be treated.” Unfortunately, that’s a faulty thought process when it comes to providing a great service.

At our biological dental practice in Houston, we believe that every person is different. Different wants. Different needs. Different ideas of how things should be done. Different opinions of how they want to be treated. That’s why we go the extra mile for our patients.

We treat people the way YOU want to be treated. Not the way WE want to be treated.

When it comes to dental procedures, that means that we treat you as an individual. We don’t think one treatment works for every person. For example, did you know that there are HUNDREDS of types of “white” dental fillings? Has your doctor ever offered you a choice between those hundreds? If not, why? Because they are treating you the same way they treat every patient. We recognize that what works best for you might not work best for your neighbor, and we provide dental treatment the same way.

We look at each patient as an individual with unique needs and we propose treatment that fits the individual. And we do the same thing in our front office.

When you speak with our staff we go to great lengths to understand that you are a unique person with unique needs. We do our best to communicate in ways that you feel most comfortable. We never assume that you want to be treated the way WE would want to be treated.

If you are looking for a unique dental experience catered to who you are as an individual, give our office a call. It’s time you were treated as YOU, and not as someone else.

There’s gum disease, and then there’s Gum Disease

Clearly you can’t have healthy teeth without first having healthy gums. Gums serve to protect the base of the teeth, where connective tissue anchors them to jawbone. Left untreated, gum problems can lead to tooth and bone loss. Knowing what you can do to keep your gums healthy will help you preserve not only your smile, but your overall good health as well.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis occurs in the mouth as bacteria begin to build up in tiny pockets along the gum line, resulting inflammation. Early symptoms include bleeding when brushing and persistent bad breath. Gingivitis, which, in most cases, is treatable and managed with good oral care practices, accounts for about 70 percent of gum disease, while the more persistent form called periodontitis makes up the remaining 30 percent. The warning signs of gum disease can include:

  • Tooth brushing causes bleeding gums
  • Gums are red, swollen or tender to the touch
  • Gums appear to be pulled away from the teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Teeth appear to be loosening
  • A change in your bite

Gingivitis happens when teeth are neglected, causing a buildup of oral plaque. This thin, sticky film is primarily made up of bacteria. Plaque that remains on the surface of teeth for prolonged periods without being brushed away will then harden under the gum line turning into what dentists call tartar or calculus. At this stage the buildup is much more difficult – if not impossible – to brush away, ultimately creating a closed environment under the gums in which bacteria can thrive.

Plaque leads to gingivitis, gingivitis leads to periodontitis The plaque that causes gingivitis lies at or above the gum line is called supragingival plaque. This type of plaque can become covered by inflamed gum tissue or otherwise spread below the gum line and once that happens it is called subgingival plaque. Once tartar has formed below the gum line the only effective way to remove it is through a technique called scaling, scale, or planing using an instrument to clean under the gum margins – (where a dental healthcare provider works to remove the tartar by scraping it away with specially designed instruments). However, if dental plaque and tartar remain untreated at this point, the gums will become progressively more irritated and inflamed, resulting in the more serious condition called periodontitis.

Ugly Periodontitis

Periodontitis happens when oral bacteria have built up over time and begun to invade the underlying bone that normally anchors the teeth in place. At this point, the gums may recede, exposing the delicate root surfaces, causing increasing sensitivity to heat and cold at the least, and tooth and bone loss at the most. Symptoms of periodontitis may include:

  • Receding gums
  • Visible pockets of inflammation at the gum line
  • Gum soreness and pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to temperature changes

By the time people have begun to notice any of the warning signs of periodontitis, it is often too late to reverse the damage. That’s why regular dental checkups are so important. During routine exams dentists are able to spot pockets of inflammation or places where gum tissue has become damaged, exposing the root of the tooth. Dental X-rays can also reveal early signs of gum disease. Stopping gum disease early may be more important than you think according to a growing body of clinical research trials and studies, catching signs of gum disease early and effectively treating it, may be far more important than you might imagine as these studies indicate that advanced periodontal disease can cause other, even more serious chronic health problems as well.

Prevention and Treatment of Gum Disease

Some of the well-known basics of good oral healthcare include;

  • Brushing least twice a day
  • Rinsing vigorously (with water) after each meal
  • Floss daily
  • Don’t smoke

Managing Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a condition that needs to be managed carefully due to the inflammation that has already invaded below the gum line which, of course requires immediate care from a dentist followed by aggressive and consistent home care. Once treatment has begun, committing to a practice of good dental care will help reduce your risk of further inflammation and damage. Your dentist may also recommend more frequent checkups to monitor and ensure future gum health.

Following a healthy diet can also help create a healthy oral environment and maintain healthy gums. New research suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish (herring, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna,) fish oil and flaxseed helps to reduces inflammation. Adopting a practice of oil pulling using coconut oil may also lead to long term healthy gums. Supplements that support oral health can also be suggested by your dentist.

More information:

What Is Gum Disease? What Is Gingivitis? What Causes Gingivitis?

Periodontitis &

Preventing and Treating Gum Problems

Titanium Dental Implants Pose Serious Health Risks to the Allergy Sensitive

Titanium Dental Implants Pose Serious Health Risks to the Allergy Sensitive

Metal dental implants were originally made out of commercially pure titanium or titanium alloy, providing the only option for implant tooth restoration for many years. After years of study, we now know that placing metallic dental implants and other restorative devices can potentially provoke allergic reactions. One study involving 1,500 patients demonstrated that although rare, titanium allergy could be clearly detected in dental implant patients. One research paper published in 2010 indicated that “…the risk of an allergy to titanium is increased in patients who are allergic to other metals. In these patients, an evaluation of allergy is recommended, in order to exclude any problem with titanium medical devices.” Further research on the subject noted a higher risk of positive allergic reaction was found in patients whose implants failed for no other known reason other than that they had a higher incidence of allergic reaction.

Who cares about allergies?

Metal allergies are suspected by researchers and holistic dentists alike of being one of the most likely culprits behind the growing number of cases of autoimmune diseases in the United States including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Psoriasis, and Scleroderma, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and many others. A correlation between metal allergies and a weakened immune system suggests that it is not only important but imperative to take the necessary precautions to ensure that patients are biocompatible before allowing any substance or material to be permanently affixed into the mouth.

There’s more to titanium than you might think

Screw and abutments used in dental implants can be made from the same alloy, but frequently a combination of alloys are used including small amounts of nickel and gold. One of the more commonly reported metal allergies in dental patients is to nickel, which explains why anyone with known sensitivities to metals would be vulnerable to the side effects of titanium implants. Symptoms to metal implants can vary from patient to patient and often include oral burning sensation, general fatigue, skin rashes, a constant dull pain and in some cases loss of the implant. A paper published in July of 2011 focused on titanium allergy in patients who have undergone an implant, and it concluded in part; “This review of the literature indicates that titanium can induce hypersensitivity in susceptible patients and could play a critical role in implant failure.”

Titanium allergy is rarely documented in mainstream medicine however, it has been reported that about four percent of all patients tested will be allergic to titanium. For those affected with a titanium allergy, the symptoms can be quite intense and somewhat confusing ranging from simple skin rashes to deep muscle pain and overall fatigue – common systems for an immune system that perceives itself under attack.

The known effects of titanium allergy

Like all metals used in the medical field today titanium releases tiny particles as it begins to corrode. In the case of an implant, these metal particles become ions and bind to proteins found naturally throughout the body. In some people the body reacts to metal particles in the same way it does to a virus or other foreign substance and it will try to attack the ‘invader’. This starts a chain reaction which can lead to many symptoms including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Allergy Testing – An Important Part of the Whole

Our unique focus on dental health takes into consideration a patient’s oral health in relation to the whole body, including identifying and treating issues pertaining to allergies and autoimmune disorders.

That is why we consider ceramic dental implants to be the better and safest alternative to metal implants. The advantage of these implants is that they are ceramic, and thus there is no concern of corrosion, allergic reaction or electronic interference.

A Natural Way to Prevent – and Reverse Gum Disease

Gum disease – also known as periodontitis – is a chronic bacterial infection that essentially destroys the soft tissue and surrounding bone structures that otherwise help to support healthy teeth. This unfortunate scenario happens as the bacteria binds with food particles to form a sticky, colorless plaque on the teeth. If the plaque is not brushed away it can build up and lead to more serious forms of gum disease. While the first line of defense against all gum disease is, of course – regular check-ups with your dentist, decades of research studies suggest that the fight against periodontitis can actually begin at home, in the form of a nutritional supplement called Coenzyme Q10 or ‘ubiquinone’.

Stage One – Gingivitis

Gingivitis is considered to be the mildest and earliest form of gum disease. Left untreated it can cause the gums to become red, swollen and to bleed easily. Although there may be little or no discomfort at this point, it is important to treat these early symptoms because as gingivitis progresses, it can lead to periodontitis or periodontal disease – the more advanced form of gum disease.

Stage Two – Periodontal Disease

At this point the build-up of bacteria begins to form a deep inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth. This stage of gum infection can lead to normally benign mouth bacteria multiplying out of control and spreading throughout the body – where it can cause or compound other chronic health issues.

Who is affected by gum disease?

As much as 90 percent of all Americans will be affected by gum disease during their lifetimes, and fully a quarter of those will lose their teeth to advanced forms of periodontal disease by the age of 60. Warning signs include swollen, tender and bleeding gums transforming into chronic bad breath, loose and shifting teeth, and then pus-filled buildup between teeth and gums as the disease takes hold. And then it gets even worse as sensitive gums recede away from the teeth, this eventually leading to total tooth failure: or tooth loss.

How can we guard against gum disease?

Naturally, the first line of defense against all forms of gum disease is proper dental hygiene which includes brushing twice daily, flossing once a day and routine professional cleanings. Proper nutrition is also vital to oral health. Supplements and nutrients that are known to work to boost the immune system, help build collagen in the periodontal ligaments, and decrease inflammation can help stop gum disease before it gets started – and help to heal gum disease. One of the most researched and highly recommended supplements for fighting gum disease is CoQ-10.

COQ-10 Studies – the proof is in the results

Clinical studies conducted since the mid 1970’s have shown that people with gum disease tend to have low levels of CoQ-10 in their gums. A few studies found that CoQ-10 supplements led to faster healing and tissue repair – primarily by boosting the immune system and supporting the body’s natural ability to fight off pathogens. In one of the more interesting studies 24 patients suffering from severe periodontal disease that did not respond to extensive flossing and brushing were selected for study. About a dozen of those subjects received 50 mg of CoQ-10, while the others received placeboes. The majority of CoQ- 10 patients showed dramatic improvement while only about a quarter of the placebo recipients showed minor improvement. Interestingly, a full quarter of the CoQ-10 patients were completely healed of gum disease in as little as eight weeks. Later studies conducted in Japan confirmed that 60 mg a day of CoQ-10 could improve diseased gums overall.

The benefits of CoQ-10 go beyond oral health

The human body requires CoQ-10 to generate energy. This energy takes the form of adenosine triphosphate molecules, or ATP. ATP works like a rechargeable battery helping to transfer of energy from cell to cell. People who suffer from gum disease require sufficient energy for the healing and repair of gum tissues, which naturally necessitates sufficient amounts of CoQ-10. CoQ-10 is not only important to anyone interested in stopping and/or reversing gum disease, this nutrient is so essential to the proper functioning of every cell in the body that a deficiency of CoQ-10 has been linked to a number of chronic diseases including:

  • Heart Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Migraines
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s

Periodontal disease has also been associated with many of these same chronic illnesses and in particular; heart disease, type 2 diabetes and respiratory disease as well as problems in conception and pregnancy.

Finding the right CoQ-10 for you

Small amounts of CoQ-10 can be found in foods, primarily meat and fish with the greatest amounts found in organ meats like heart, liver and kidneys. It is also found in beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel and peanuts. As a supplement, coenzyme Q10 is available in numerous forms such as soft gel and hard shell capsules as well as mouth rinses and oral sprays. But before you rush out to buy a bottle at your local health food store, you might want to consider that a new and likely superior form of CoQ-10 called Ubiquinol is now available. This type of CoQ-10 makes the benefits of this important supplement even more readily available to the body, particularly in adults.

The CoQ-10 found in most supplements is called ‘ubiquinone’. In order to produce cellular energy, the body must convert the ubiquinone to ubiquinol. It is the ubiquinol that carries electrons through the mitochondria to produce vital energy to the cells. By and large younger, healthy people can easily convert CoQ-10 to ubiquinol. But as people age – or when chronic illness is present, a person’s ability to convert CoQ-10 to ubiquinol is limited. This decreased ability becomes more apparent the closer we get to age 40, although some researchers suggest that it may begin in the early to mid-20s. Therefore, most experts recommend that healthy individuals under the age of 25, who can easily convert standard CoQ-10 to ubiquinol, take the conventional form of CoQ-10 – everyone over the age of 25 will likely benefit more from the properties of CoQ-10 by using Ubiquinol.

More information:

Ubiquinol – A More Advanced Form of the Energy-Producing Nutrient CoQ-10 

University of Maryland Medical Center: Coenzyme Q10 

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments 

MedlinePlus: Coenzyme Q-10 

“Indian Journal of Pharmacology”: Role of Coenzyme Q10 as an Antioxidant and Bioenergizer in Periodontal Diseases; Shobha Prakash, et al.; December 2010 

New Research Confirms Old Convictions – Cheese May Prevent Cavities

For decades now, cheese – particularly cheddar – has been the go-to after meal treat recognized by researchers and parents alike as a way to – if not prevent than – at least lessen the likelihood of dental cavities. A new study conducted by Vipul Yadav, MDS appears to confirm earlier studies suggesting that eating cheese helps to prevent cavities. The study sampled a group of 68 youth aged 12-15 to determine the effect on oral pH levels after the consumption of cheese, milk or sugar free yogurt on teeth.

Concluding that the study helps to prove exactly how these products work to protect oral health, Seung-Hee says, “It looks like dairy does the mouth good. Not only are dairy products a healthy alternative to carb- or sugar-filled snacks, they also may be considered as a preventive measure against cavities.”

As a pH level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for tooth erosion, (a process that wears away the tooth’s protective enamel) the authors of the study set out to record dental plaque pH in the subjects’ mouths before and after consuming either cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. After three minutes of eating followed by swishing with water the pH level of each subject’s mouth was measured at 10, 20, and 30 minutes intervals. Results concluded;

  • Milk – no changes in the pH levels were demonstrated
  • Sugar-free yogurt – no changes in the pH levels were demonstrated
  • Cheddar cheese – a rapid increase in pH levels at each time interval

These conclusions strongly suggest that cheese has very real anti-cavity properties. The report indicated that the rising pH levels from eating – and actively chewing the cheese – likely helped to increase saliva production, which acts as the mouth’s natural defense against harmful cavity causing bacteria. It is also quite likely that health promoting compounds found in cheese may adhere to tooth enamel and help further protect teeth from corrosive acid.

More good news about cheese

An earlier study conducted by researcher Dr. Judy Buttriss, science director for the British Nutrition Foundation pointed to a protein found in cheese called casein. Casein, when broken down through the process of chewing combines with the calcium and phosphates of the cheese. This process is thought to aid in the restoration of the minerals in tooth enamel essentially forming a protective barrier.

Buttriss’s study at that time determined that the proteins found in cheese reacts with sugars effectively neutralizing their corrosive effect on tooth enamel, suggesting that by eating cheese prior to other foods or sweet desserts there may be a higher level of protection from cavities.

Moderation is the key – and more reasons to eat cheese

Cheese is naturally high in calcium, protein, phosphorus and vitamin A, all of which help to support bone health, including supporting the jaw bone – making it more resistant to the destructive effects of periodontal or gum disease. Obviously, you don’t need to eat a large slab of cheese to reap the benefits—realistically; a small chunk about the size of 1-inch cube – vigorously chewed – is enough to provide protection for your teeth. To avoid high calories associated with whole cheese low-fat options are also available at most grocery stores.

Clearly some foods and beverages are better for teeth than others, cheese being among the more recommended. It is always a good idea to avoid foods that might get stuck to teeth such as; chips, candy or cookies. Instead, eat food that protects teeth like cheese as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, which naturally help to increase saliva flow. Also, adopting a practice of rinsing after eating will help to wash away food particles.

Resources and more information:

Latest Study Shows that Early Exposure to BPA May Damage Tooth Enamel … and a whole lot more.

The latest evidence in a growing body of research on the harmful effects of the chemical BPA –  which is generally used to harden common household plastics – Bisphenol A (BPA) is now demonstrating damaging consequences to the natural development of the enamel of teeth. In this study led by Ariane Berdal of the Université Paris-Diderot and Sylvie Babajko, results on the teeth of rats treated with low daily doses of BPA appear to show damage to tooth enamel, echoing a pathology of tooth enamel which is turning up in children today between the ages of 6 and 8.

Analysis of results in the test rats showed numerous features that bear a striking resemblance to a condition called MIH (Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation) that specifically targets first molars and permanent incisors. This enamel pathology is found in roughly 18 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 8 and causes teeth to be hypersensitive to pain and predisposed to cavities. This latest study appears to be pointing to BPA exposure as the culprit in the increasing cases of MIH, which may be only the tip of the iceberg.

Why is this a big deal?

BPA is a chemical compound used in the manufacture of food and beverage containers such as water, juice or soda bottles and, most damaging of all; in the production of babies’ bottles. It is also used for the protective films inside drinks cans and food tins. BPA is the key element in polycarbonate synthetics and epoxy resins — about three million tons being produced annually all over the world. With so much BPA in products today, significant amounts of BPA are showing up in human blood, urine, and able to infiltrate amniotic liquid and placentas – potentially affecting developing fetuses. Earlier studies on this toxic substance have shown that it has adverse effects on the reproduction, development and metabolism of laboratory animals and is suspected of causing the same effects on humans.

Early damage to teeth may indicate more problems down the road

Significant to the Berdal study, the first telltale indicator of damage caused by the early introduction of endocrine disruptors, (including BPA) was the appearance of “white marks” on the incisors of rats treated. The researchers decided to define the characteristics of incisors of rats treated with low doses of BPA and to compare these with the characteristics of teeth in humans suffering from MIH. Macroscopic observation of marks on both series of teeth tested showed similarities, specifically; fragile and brittle enamel – the earliest signs associated with the presence of BPA and perhaps the precursor of more BPA associated health problems down the road.

How babies are affected by BPA

When you consider that BPA is so prevalent in our world today that about 90 percent of the population has it coursing through their blood stream and sensitive tissues, obtained primarily by eating foods that come from containers made with BPA. It is also floating freely in our environment, in the air we breathe, in dust particles, and in our water supply. Although mature adults are also at risk for the health consequences associated with BPA, fetuses and young children have the most to lose. Babies who are fed formula using polycarbonate bottles are especially at risk. A Swiss study conducted in 2010 revealed that babies and infants actually absorb the most BPA, primarily through the use of baby bottles, on average taking in 0.8 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. Harmful even in small doses –BPA is a hormonally active substance that mimics the natural hormone estrogen and as an anti-androgen. Even small amounts of BPA in the system can have a negative impact on sexual development, especially for male fetuses and growing babies. So alarming are the results of on-going studies that the FDA has begun to express more concern about the potential effects of BPA on the endocrine system; brain, behavior, and prostate glands – particularly in fetuses, infants and young children (developing bodies of children are less efficient at eliminating toxic chemical substances from their systems).

According to Sylvie Babajko, a source sited in the article on Berdal study, “Insofar as BPA has the same mechanism of action in rats as in men, it could also be a causal agent of MIH. Therefore, teeth could be used as early markers of exposure to endocrine disruptors acting in the same way as BPA and so could help in early detection of serious pathologies that would otherwise have occurred several years later.”