Battle Royale: Toothpaste vs. Orange Juice

479931319

This morning I woke up late and had to dash out the door, so I did the worst morning blunder in existence – I drank a glass of orange juice after I brushed my teeth. ACK! There is really nothing that tastes more horrific to a newly clean set of chompers than orange juice. But it got me thinking…why is this the case? Brushing my teeth and drinking juice are pretty synonymous with the morning. So who decided to mess with the logic? I had to experiment more. I’m not a coffee drinker but I gave it a shot. Nope. That was awful too. Problem is, I don’t like coffee so that wasn’t really convincing. But in fact, everything I drank after I brushed my teeth tasted badly. Relieved it wasn’t just juice, I decided to learn a little bit more about the other variable in this vile equation. The toothpaste.

And wouldn’t you know it? It really is all the toothpaste’s fault. Depending on which you choose, there is an ingredient in toothpaste called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). The pros? It makes brushing your teeth easier. These surfactant chemicals are what makes your toothpaste foamy and easily spreadable in your mouth. And since cleaning your teeth is the whole point of toothpaste in the first place, it looks like we really ought to have it in the recipe.

The cons? SLS/SLES reacts to the mouth in a funny, not so funny one-two punch. On one side, they attack all of the taste buds that like any sort of sweetness and temporarily cripples them. On the other, they break up our tongue’s phospholipids. Phospholipids are fatty molecules that block bitter flavors, keeping us from being too overwhelmed by how sour something really tastes. So not only are your sweet taste buds down for the count, but now your bitter taste buds have superhero strength. It’s a battle of the ages!

Thankfully, we have a natural hero that comes around to rescue us from the bitter defeat – saliva. Once you finish brushing your teeth, saliva comes in and dissolves the remaining SLS/SLES in our mouths. And about a half hour later, our taste buds are back to normal and everything is good as new. And just so you know, they do make SLS/SLES-free toothpaste, but having the rabid dog foamy mouth look is such a fun part of the process.

After all is said and done, it’s good to know that there is a deeper reason why toothpaste and orange juice don’t mix. And the fact we can circumvent the entire situation is nice. I’m sure this won’t be a singular instance, especially when in a jam. I just wish it didn’t have to happen so early in the morning.

Although toothpaste and orange juice aren’t the best combination, you should still be sure to brush your teeth every morning.  For more fun facts regarding oral care, visit www.davidluntdds.com.

Is Having Gum Disease Really That Bad?

Dental HygieneWhile the effects of periodontal disease in the mouth – from bleeding gums to loss of teeth – have been well documented and highly publicized in recent years, what most people still don’t know is just how bad gum disease is.

Not that losing teeth isn’t bad enough, but recent studies have shown that periodontal disease not only causes oral complications, but may also be linked to other major health complications.

A possible reason why this may be so is because periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and that bacteria can travel to anywhere in the body.

In any case, below are the few ways not taking proper care of teeth can harm your overall health.

  1. It may cause heart complications. People who are suffering from gum disease are also twice more likely to suffer from heart complications, such as coronary artery disease, compared to those who have healthier mouths. One theory explains that the harmful bacteria from the mouth can enter the blood stream and attach to the heart’s blood vessels, causing inflammation and increasing the likelihood of blood clots developing, of which can trigger heart attacks.

 

  1. It may lead to mental illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s. Again, one theory claims that the bacteria from the mouth, mainly from gingivitis, can travel to the brain through the nerve channels. Though, it can also do so through the blood stream. Regardless of where, it is proposed that the bacteria can contribute to the development of plaque that’s been closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

 

  1. It can make blood sugar harder to control. Diabetics are more prone to infections and periodontal disease is a bacterial infection. Aside from that, gum disease has also been proven to make it harder to maintain or control blood sugar, and that treating it can help curb diabetic symptoms and prevent further complications.

 

  1. It may affect your respiratory system. Breathing in bacteria has long been known to cause respiratory infections, so what more if the bacteria actually live inside your mouth? Studies show that gum disease can cause infections, such as pneumonia, in the lungs.

 

  1. It can cause issues with pregnancy and conception. Apart from how pregnant women are more at risk for gum disease, it seems that gum disease can also cause problems with conception. Those who are looking forward to getting pregnant have a harder time doing so. At the same time, gum disease also increases the chances of miscarriage among pregnant women.

Preventing Gum Disease

The truth is, as complicated as dealing with gum disease is and the many complications that it’s been linked to, preventing and even reversing it when it is still in its early stages is really quite easy.

It all boils down to doing four things – brushing teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing daily, rinsing with mouthwash and visiting the dentist regularly for checkups, as well as professional cleaning.

If you make sure that you do all four, you should find yourself enjoying a complete, healthy and infection-free smile for many more years to come.

If you’re suffering from gum disease and are due for a professional cleaning, contact Dr. David Lunt, DDS at 818-885-7230 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.davidlunt.com for more information regarding gum disease.

 

What is a Comprehensive Exam?

ThinkstockPhotos-185147513Proper oral care includes more than just brushing and flossing teeth, as well as rinsing with mouthwash. For a more complete and thorough protection, it’s important that you visit the dentist regularly every six months for dental checkups and professional cleaning.

Dental checkups, for one, are important as they are the most effective preventative measure against oral complications, such as gum disease, cavities and even oral cancer.

These checkups, though, come in two forms – one that’s a bit more quick and simple, and another that’s a bit more thorough, or otherwise known as a comprehensive exam.

A comprehensive exam includes much more than just simply checking teeth for complications.

Typically, a comprehensive dental exam includes:

  • The thorough checking of the mouth, teeth and gums for any signs or indications of oral diseases.
  • Additional measures of checking are implemented, including X-rays and other diagnostic tests.
  • The safe and effective administration of anesthetics is ensured.
  • Monitoring the growth and development of the teeth and jaws.
  • Creating an effective treatment plan based on the initial results.

It is important to take note that the dentist’s area of care is not limited to their patient’s teeth and gums. It also includes their head muscles, as well as the muscles in their neck and jaw, and the tongue, salivary glands and even the nervous system of the head and neck.

During the comprehensive exam, dentists don’t just examine the teeth and gums. They also make it a point to check out other possible symptoms and abnormalities, including but not limited to, lumps, swellings, discolorations and ulcerations.

Why Are Comprehensive Exams Important?

While dentists usually vary in how they conduct comprehensive exams, it usually typically includes them taking their patient’s medical history, their usual diet and the completing of a risk factor form that tells them what certain diseases their patient is at risk for.

The importance of these comprehensive exams then could easily be summed by saying that it’s the perfect example of the common phrase “prevention is better than cure”. 

When we’re talking about gum diseases, or any other disease in particular, subtle signs and symptoms often show way before they’re evident. In fact, pain is usually a sign that the disease has been allowed to develop much further than necessary, often due to the negligence and lack of education regarding how pain isn’t always present in the early stages of gum disease.

With comprehensive exams, gum disease in its earliest stages can be diagnosed and therefore, prevented, which also includes pain, discomfort and other complications of gum disease in its later stages.

A common concern with comprehensive exams is that they take much longer, which may be a problem for those with dental anxiety or phobia. However, dentists are more than happy to help patients with such problems and will likely do anything they can to put such patients at ease.

Another concern is the costs, as comprehensive exams are generally much more expensive. However, it is important to take note that the prevention of gum disease and other oral complications is much cheaper than treating them.

Should you want your teeth to receive nothing but the utmost care and protection, it’s important that you demand to your dentist that a comprehensive exam be done regularly.

If you feel that you may be in need of a comprehensive exam, contact Dr. David Lunt DDS at 818-885-7230 to schedule an appointment or visit www.davidluntdds.com to learn more.