June 2004/ Evergreen Health
Stop Poisoning Yourself
Good oral hygiene means rethinking everything you think you know
by Michael P. Bonner, D.D.S.
I suggest that you stop brushing
with pesticides and gargling with antifreeze and, while you’re at it, realize the limitations of flossing.
‘What!’ you say.
That’s right, our current approach to oral hygiene is not only exacerbating gum disease but, in many cases, can be the
cause of it. But first, let me back up. Right now we have a glaring dilemma in dentistry because, on the one hand, almost
every adult walking around today has some form of periodontal (gum) disease, and on the other hand, we have a dental industry
with a wide array of American Dental Association (ADA)-approved products containing ingredients that dozens of studies indicate
can do more harm than good (see “The 9 Untouchables” at right). For example, government statistics show that mouthwashes
cause 36,000 cases of oral cancer a year and kill approximately 500 people from alcohol ingestion. All this from a product
that does nothing to improve the oral health of an unknowing public trusting that these products will help them.
We have come to believe that
daily brushing and flossing is the cornerstone of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. But the best brushers and flossers on
the planet often still have gum disease because, one, the commonly used products themselves are toxic and two, these tools
do not effectively get under the gums where up to 400 types of microorganisms — numbering in the trillions — are
swimming, living and dying around the teeth, creating major inflammation and odor.
Healthy Gums, Healthy Body
Healthy gums are meant to provide
a barrier, keeping these microorganisms normally found in the mouth in the mouth
and not circulating throughout the body. If they migrate beyond the mouth, these
microbes can create inflammation wherever the body is susceptible, including the
artery walls where plaque forms that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Any opening in the gum-tissue
barrier allows microorganisms to enter the circulatory system, so the goal of a periodontal health program should be to regain
and maintain a true soft-tissue barrier around the teeth. For this to happen, however, there must be a dramatic shift in how
gum disease is perceived and controlled.
What’s so bad about gum
disease? Hundreds of studies have looked at different aspects of the connection between gum disease and its effect on the
entire body and have found it can be a factor in stroke or heart attack (increasing
the risk by 200-400 percent, as well as doubling the risk for stroke). This is because gum-disease inflammation creates circulating
substances called proinflammatory cytokines, which the liver turns into C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP can cause clotting and,
depending where the clot occurs, a heart attack, a stroke, a deep vein thrombosis in a leg or even a blood clot in the lungs.
The medical profession is currently
coming to the conclusion that high CRP levels are as serious a threat to health as high cholesterol; doctors are beginning
to screen for it in blood tests as part of regular health check-ups. I strongly advise getting this test.
Additionally, there are supplements
that you can take for gum health (listed at the end of this story) along with the following recommendations:
• Toothbrush. Always use a soft brush and brush twice a day.
If you prefer a powered toothbrush, a Sonicare ultrasonic or a Rota-Dent will do a superb job of cleaning your teeth and gum
margins. Choose your toothpaste and mouthwash carefully and read the labels to avoid the 9 “untouchable” toxic
• Flossing. It’s exceedingly important to help keep decay between the teeth under control. Choose
a floss you like so that you will use it everyday.
• Tongue Scraping. Most people’s tongues harbor trillions of microorganisms. A variety of tongue scrapers
are available. Scrape your tongue from the very back to front until there’s no more odorous residue and your tongue
is totally pink.
• Sulcular Irrigation. This is a critically important daily step
to cleanse the hard to reach sulcus (area under the gums). I recommend a pulsating,
hydromagnetic irrigator (HydroFloss or OxyCare 3000) as opposed to a nonmagnetic
irrigator. It kills microorganisms, eliminates odors and reduces inflammation. Note: Some dentists believe that irrigation
forces bacteria into the soft tissue and consequently into the blood stream. It does, but it is temporary and can be ameliorated
by using the antioxidants listed.
The Insidious, Painless Disease
One of the key problems with
gum disease is the public’s blasť attitude toward it. Very few people seem concerned, initially, when I gently probe
their gums and find there’s bleeding. The public — and even the dentistry profession — still view oral disease
as if it were somehow removed from the rest of the body. Yet your mouth is intimately connected to your whole body and I hope
you can sense that we are entering a new era in which periodontal disease is viewed as a major cause of systemic disease.
THE 9 UNTOUCHABLES
Read the labels on your toothpaste & mouthwash and if any of the following ingredients appear, change brands!
Triclosan. Is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a pesticide. It’s in a class of chemicals
suspected of causing cancer in humans.
Propylene Glycol (PG). Your Chevy recognizes PG as antifreeze and you probably know that antifreeze has killed
many cats and dogs that have lapped it up. PG is used as a wetting agent in toothpaste, but it is so readily absorbed into
the skin that the EPA requires anyone working around it to wear goggles and protective clothing.
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). In high concentration, NaOH, an extremely alkaline substance, destroys protein instantly.
In the mouth, it dissolves oral soft tissues.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). A foaming agent in toothpastes, SLS is also a common detergent and surfactant used
in car washes, engine degreasers and garage floor cleaners. Like NaOH, it dissolves proteins.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). SLES is also used as a foaming agent in toothpastes, and is known to have similar
harmful effects to SLS.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG). PEG is used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease, and widely in toothpastes as a
Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40). This alcohol, found in a number of toothpastes, is very dehydrating and acts as a
carrier for other harmful chemicals into your oral soft tissues. A fatal ingested dose is one ounce or less.
FD&C Color Pigments. These pigments (Red No. 40, Green No. 5, Blue No. 1, Yellow No. 10, Red No. 30 lake,
Yellow No. 10 lake) that provide synthetic colors to toothpastes and mouthwashes are made from coal tar; animal studies have
shown almost all of them to be cancer causing.
Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol). Alcohol-based mouthwashes contain nearly 27 percent (54 proof) ethanol and are known
to be a cause of oral cancer for approximately 36,000 users per year.
The Top 10 Nutrients for Gum Health*
(in order of importance)
1. Vitamin C: 500-1,000 milligrams
2. Bioflavonoids citrus
bioflavonoids, rutin and hesperidin: 500 mg/day
3. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): 60-180
4. Grapeseed Extract: 100-200
5. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM):
1,000-9,000 mg/day in divided doses
6. Vitamin E complex: 400-800
IU/day and Selenium: 100-200 micrograms/day
7. Calcium: 1,000-1,200 mg/day
and Magnesium: 500-600 mg/day
8. Green tea extract: 100-200
9. Carotenoid complex: particularly
alpha-carotene and beta-carotene:
10,000-20,000 IU daily
10. B complex: 50-100 mg/day
*Based on the recommendations
of Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., co-author of The Oral Health Bible.
Michael Bonner, a dentist for 28 years, is co-author of The Oral Health Bible
(www.oralhealthbible.com). Contact him at 800-307-3181 or email@example.com.
This material is for information
only and no part of its content should be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, recommendation or endorsement.