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The One Thing That Leads To Dental Problems
Welcome to the first “Official” Dental Fitness Weekly Newsletter.
Only One Thing Leads To Most Common Dental Problems.
Solve It and You Can Avoid 80% of the Most Common Dental Problems -- Easily.
(2416 words; Reading time 10 min.; 10/12/2022; The next newsletter will be shorter.)
Since Starting dental school in 1982, I’ve seen dentistry develop revolutionary bonding, white fillings, teeth whitening, digital orthodontics, implants, crowns in an hour, and everything else under the sun --
--- EXCEPT PREVENTING DISEASE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
I regret to say that tooth decay is still the most common chronic disease in childhood!
And after respiratory diseases, dental problems are the second most common human affliction for nearly everyone -- statistically, that includes you.
This is a personal and national tragedy of epidemic proportions! It’s inexcusable!
Though, to be fair, it’s not totally dentists’ fault. Dental offices are lousy places to learn anything. They’re too emotionally charged and busy. There’s no time for chitchat or teaching. Patients just want to get stuff done and get out ASAP. But when they get home, they search the internet for preventive solutions, and that’s where things really fall apart. With 19 million hits in half a second, you get advertisements, scams, bogus claims, fake experts, TikTok influencers, pseudoscience, conspiracy theorists, eye-glazing scientific reports, and standard boring advice. How do you know what’s correct? What do you do?
And if you wanted to become more physically fit, what if Google gave you fitness suggestions like the fake ones below? Would those silly fitness tips be worthwhile? Do you think you could become physically fit and healthier by following the meaningless tips I made up below? Yet they are about the same value as the real dental tips I copied from Google, above.
My goal is to cut through the information clutter and bogosity found on much of the internet, and help you fight dental problems before they start. You are in charge of your oral health. My mission is to help you control your dental destiny through primary prevention, which is avoiding dental problems in the first place.
What’s more, I believe that oral health is the easiest health you can achieve yourself with the most benefits for the least effort.
You just need to know one thing. And it may shock you as much as it did me in 1982 when I learned it in dental school:
The One Thing: Tooth decay is an infectious, transmissible, disease caused by microbes. Sugar and sweets do not “cause” decay, just as gasoline does not “cause” fire.
The #1 Dental Problem is Not Knowing the True Cause of Tooth Decay
Believe it or not, I have just given you information that is as radical as the discovery that Earth is an oblate spheroidal planet orbiting the sun, and that Earth is not flat, nor is it the center of the universe.
Everything of useful preventive dental value is derived from the microbial, transmissible, infectious disease aspect of tooth decay. Let me explain:
Before the 1600s, Earth was thought to be the center of the universe. Obviously, Tycho Brahe’s geocentric universe contraption below is totally preposterous, yet people believed it for a while. (And most people think dentists are the center of the “dental universe”.)
After the 1600s, science really advanced when it was theologically safe to say (without being burned at the stake) that Earth is just an oblate spheroidal planet orbiting a mediocre yellow dwarf star, in a solar system, in a galaxy, somewhere in a virtually infinite universe.
Then came the supreme genius Isaac Newton with his law of universal gravitation in 1687.
However, in 1915, Einstein’s General Relativity and Gravitational Time Dilation concepts proved that Newton’s gravitational law was only an approximation of gravity. And that’s where we are today. (See below excerpt from Wikipedia)
Therefore, you can see that many of the accepted “scientific” ideas of the past seem almost childish to us now. And that’s the way it is in oral health…
…So, what I’m saying is that the standard home oral hygiene that we’ve been taught is almost as outdated as Tycho Brahe’s geocentric universe contraption I showed you previously. Let me briefly explain:
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler" (paraphrased from Einstein)
Standard Oral Hygiene Instructions
Are Too Simple to be Effective
and Here's What I Mean:
Brush twice a day
This is mostly wrong because it’s the absolute least possible thing you can do. And it doesn’t have much to do with the disease nature of tooth decay that is happening every day, all day and night, especially within two minutes of eating most carbohydrates, and for an hour after finishing eating. Doing nothing between brushings means that if you eat, snack, or drink three to seven times a day, that’s about three to seven hours of cavity attacks during the waking hours!
This is almost wrong because most people hate flossing, won’t floss, or can’t floss. Only 22% of people floss, and most flossers do it incorrectly, or floss only front teeth. The proper term should be “Interdental/Subgingival Cleaning”. There are several good alternatives to flossing. It makes no sense to keep promoting something most people hate and will never do. What if physicians required everyone to do backflips every day in order to “stay healthy”.
With a few recent exceptions and advancements, many mouthrinses are almost like pouring your money down the drain. Most rinses can not reach further than 1.5 millimeters below your gums – unless you shoot it there under pressure with an oral irrigator or squish and swish extremely vigorously.
Also, using a mouthrinse AFTER brushing can wash away or dilute some beneficial effects of toothpastes containing desensitizers, remineralizers, and xylitol. In some cases, it makes sense to use mouthwash first, then scrape your tongue, use an oral irrigator and/or floss, and then brush.
It would also be useful to dilute dental plaque acids often by routinely rinsing your mouth with water while eating, after eating, and between meals. In contrast to mouthrinse, water is usually easily available, inexpensive, and at least you could swallow the water instead of searching for somewhere to spit out mouthwash. So, if you’re one who carries water everywhere, you might as well use it correctly – don’t just drink it -- swish it vigorously before swallowing it.
- Avoid sweets – this is probably the most misleading of all
- Remember, whether you eat sweets or not, decay can still happen because it is a 24/7/365/Life disease. It never quits – UNLESS – you actually treat it as a disease, which means managing the disease microbes.
- And speaking of microbes, during the periods between your meals, saliva and gingival crevicular fluid are the main food sources for your oral microbes! That’s right! Saliva and your gums can feed your oral germs! That’s mainly why standard home oral hygiene is outdated and ineffective. It erroneously assumes that food causes your dental problems. It’s microbes; remember that!
- SUGAR is not the center of the dental disease universe!
- DENTISTS are not the center of the oral health universe!
- YOU AND YOUR MICROBES ARE THE CENTER OF THE ORAL-SYSTEMIC UNIVERSE!
- By the way -- regarding sweets ---
- Saliva contains mucus for oral lubrication. Mucus is composed of at least five types of mucins called glycoproteins, which are basically proteins with carbohydrate molecules attached.
- These mucin glycoproteins can be split by bacterial and salivary enzymes into two fractions: carbohydrates and proteins.
- Cavity-causing microbes can then use the carbohydrate fractions for food, and produce acids that attack teeth.
- At the same time, other oral microbes and enzymes in saliva can break down the protein fractions into peptides and amino acids that are food for non-cavity-causing microbes, and produce alkalis such as ammonia, which neutralize acids!
- Now you can see how avoiding sweets can still result in tooth decay, because decay microbes can live off of your saliva if they need to!!!
- Furthermore, there are two natural sweets that actually kill cavity microbes! So, if you were to avoid sweets, you would be avoiding two proven, safe, effective sweets that would protect you from decay!
- xylitol and erythritol
Visit the dentist regularly
Certainly dentists are important for oral health, but they are only about 2% of the formula for oral-systemic health. YOU are 98% of the formula!
Think of it this way – if you want to get healthier and more fit, do you visit your physician three or four times a year? No! You start biking, jogging, dancing, etc., or go to a gym and sign up for fitness classes. Sure, you might visit a physician beforehand to see if you are healthy enough to exercise, but otherwise, you exercise yourself, or get a trainer to help you, not a doctor!
The same is true in oral-systemic health. Here’s the formula below:
- You can see in the that Education, Motivation, Supplementation, Nutrition, Training, and Exercises all come before Dentistry.
Now, what about gum disease?
That’s a subject for another newsletter. However, here’s a big secret: When you do a really good job of fighting tooth decay, you accidentally fight gum disease too. And here’s why:
Tooth decay and gum disease are microbial diseases.
The decay microbes consume carbohydrates and make acids that dissolve teeth.
The tooth-dissolving process starts in just a mere 2 minutes after eating.
The tooth-dissolving process lasts an hour after you stop eating.
Multiply by one hour however many times you eat, snack, drink anything with carbohydrates, and that’s how many hours of decay you suffer each daytime.
Then add four more hours of decay time while you sleep. Remember that decay microbes can eat the carbohydrate portions of your salivary glycoproteins. And research reveals there are four times during sleep that decay microbes often become highly active, especially for people with dry mouth problems. That’s because saliva flow is 50% less during sleep than during daytime. So, there’s less flushing action, and the mouth is like a warm, moist, oral “incubator” to grow billions of microbes overnight.
If you eat only three meals per day, and sleep eight hours a night, you could have up to seven hours of decay per each 24-hour period!
Even worse, if you eat/snack/drink seven times per day and sleep eight hours a night, that’s up to 11 hours of potential tooth decay for each 24-hour period!!
And because gum disease germs eat mostly proteins and amino acids, they are feeding on YOU for 24 hours, forever! That’s right! Gum disease germs eat YOU!
Therefore, to truly fight tooth decay, you must fight the decay germs when they are most active, PLUS the other times when they are just “smoldering”. And when you do that, you naturally fight gum disease germs too!
That means you should always be fighting cavities during any meal/snack/drink, within two minutes of finishing them, between them, before bedtime, and even while sleeping (that’s for another newsletter. By the way, gum disease germs come in three dependent waves over 90 days, the first wave being the easiest to fight.)
In next week’s newsletter, I’ll delve into gum disease. And in the newsletter following that, I’ll combine decay and gum disease prevention into one simple program that works for both problems, 24/7/365/Life!
Only One Thing Leads To Most Dental Dental Problems – not knowing tooth decay is a disease. But knowing that tooth decay is a disease opens a whole new world of effective decay prevention opportunities, only one of which involves avoiding sugar.
The common misguided thinking that sugar causes decay is comparable to the ancient idea of a flat Earth being the center of the universe. It’s simply not true. Everything fails after such misunderstanding. You can’t build a house on quicksand. Standard oral hygiene is like quicksand.
Even worse, the focus on sugar as the culprit for decay is only half the picture. It means that most people have zero clue what causes gum disease. Because people focus so much on sugar and decay, they don’t know that gum disease germs eat the human body’s proteins, including proteins in the gums and periodontal ligaments that hold teeth in the jawbones!
The focus on sugar does not explain why germ-free lab animals never get decay no matter how much sugar, sweets, and carbs they eat – UNTIL – about three months after decay microbes are added to their environment.
The focus on sugar does not explain why people with end-stage renal disease and on kidney dialysis almost never get tooth decay no matter how much sugar and carbs they eat. That’s because they have 50X more salivary urea than normal. And many of the protein-loving oral germs can metabolize urea into ammonia, which is highly alkaline, with a pH between 11 and 13. As a result, the mouth is so alkaline, that the acid-loving decay germs simply cannot survive well or at all, so they either go into hibernation or die.
So, What Can You Do?
Buy Epic Dental xylitol gum and/or mints in bulk.
Buy Butler G.U.M. Interdental SoftPicks in bulk.
“Warehouse” your bulk products in one location for easy monitoring and reordering.
Buy quart-size Zip-Loc bags and make “stashes” of your SoftPicks and xylitol gum/mints.
Place your “stashes” throughout your house, purse, briefcase, car, locker, desk, kitchen, living room, workbench, garden shed, etc.…
Consider xylitol as part of every meal/snack/drink/dessert etc.
Set your Butler SoftPicks along with plates and eating utensils for your meals/snacks/drinks.
Always consider food on teeth as potentially dangerous as acid in your eyes.
Always rinse your mouth often while eating. And two minutes after eating, rinse vigorously least three times, and then use xylitol gum or mints.
There’s more, but for another newsletter.
Whenever you're ready, here are some ways I can help you, your family, and friends:
1. Improve your home oral hygiene with this free, downloadable, 22-page, PDF booklet: "7 Easy Steps to Start Supercharging Your Oral Hygiene Efforts".
2. Get my 58-page downloadable book "The RENUZORAL Method of Dental Fitness" for just $5.97 USD.
4. Enroll in my Oral-Systemic Health for Life Masterclass to create customized, effective dental fitness systems and take charge of your dental destiny once and for all. I will never sell your information, for any reason.
To our oral-systemic health!
Dr. Steve Edwards
Next week’s newsletter will be about the evils of gum disease.