5 Facts about Traditional Toothpaste

Toothpaste is widely regarded as a necessity in the daily routine of cleaning our teeth, but perhaps that notion is worth reconsidering. Countless times, dentists are asked which toothpaste brand is right for patients. Indeed, there is a reason why there has yet to be a declared winner. Dental experts maintain that in the path towards cleaner and whiter teeth, it is not so much a matter of which toothpaste to use. That is because traditional toothpaste does not hold a very high influence at all in this regard. Here is why:

 The Truth About Toothpaste

1. In reality, toothpaste is only a cosmetic product. It does not whiten your teeth so much as freshen your mouth. While our mouths may feel fresher after a brushing session, it is only due to the intense flavor of the paste; plenty of plaque and bacteria will still be left to continue thriving because most traditional toothpastes lack the ingredients to remove them effectively.

2. With the above in mind, remember: Using more toothpaste does not equal a better clean. Television commercials show a generous amount of toothpaste applied on a brush, but they are not really showing you the correct amount – they are simply encouraging you to be wasteful so you run out quicker and have to buy their brand more often. That equates to marketing dollars for them and no added cleanliness for you.

3. The official website of the ADA (American Dental Association) even has a section devoted to toothpaste, and you will not find anything in it that pertains to cleaner teeth. Granted, it sets fluoride requirements which some studies say can contribute to long-term enamel health and strength. However, there is no mention of any toothpaste’s effect on overall oral cleanliness and hygiene.

4. Here is a breakdown of what most toothpaste brands really contain: Fluoride for enamel strengthening; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate for the foaming action we see in toothpaste; Abrasive particles like silica, calcium carbonate, or chalk whose “grittiness” is used to slightly polish teeth; Desensitizers  that help sensitive teeth but still do not clean them; Tartar control agents that can burn mouths that sensitive to a higher pH; and Triclosan, which is claimed to fight against oral infections but is also suspected of being an endocrine disruptor and possible carcinogen.

5. It is not the toothpaste that removes plaque and makes your teeth whiter – it is the actual brushing technique that keeps your teeth clean. Learning and applying the proper brushing technique, and making sure you are brushing for at least two minutes, is more important than debating which brand of toothpaste to use.

Using Holistic Toothpaste Alternatives

There is a wide variety of alternatives to traditional toothpaste, using only ingredients that are not detrimental to our health. Some toothpaste alternatives use natural abrasives like charcoal and bentonite clay – they contain the right amount of grit to polish teeth while also altering the pH in our mouths to neutralize bacteria and make it harder for it to grow. These kinds of alternatives may be worth some invested individual research. Some patients are comfortable making the leap to such unconventional ingredients, while some remain skeptical or reluctant to try an orally applied product with, say, charcoal in it. One thing is certain: regardless of what is on your brush, what matters most is the actual brushing – brush correctly, brush diligently, brush often.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative route to better brushing without traditional toothpaste, it is best to talk with a local holistic dentist about your best choices.

Holistic dentistry in Anchorage, Alaska

Why is Holistic Dentistry Important?

More people are adopting the holistic approach to better health and wellness. Dentistry is one particular field where many practitioners have chosen to use holistic methods.

Of course, holistic dentistry can and is often misinterpreted and misunderstood when compared to “traditional” dentistry. Many times, it is perceived that “holistic” dentistry and “traditional” dentistry are two completely different, mutually exclusive practices and that any given practitioner MUST be one or other. So before we start exploring the value of holistic dentistry, it is extremely crucial to remember: every dentist is different. He or she can borrow from both holistic and traditional schools of thought. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s explore what makes holistic dentistry so special!

BACKGROUND OF HOLISTIC DENTISTRY

The term “holistic” is a reference to “the whole.” So holistic dentistry doesn’t just address your teeth and mouth – it addresses factors that have implications for your entire health and well-being. A holistic dentist will focus on educating their patients on how dentistry plays a major role in their overall health. For example, did you know your dental and oral health can have a direct effect on sleep apnea (and vice versa)? In fact, some dentists even offer things like Ortho-Tain to help resolve sleep apnea issues! General health concerns are completely in considered when you visit a holistically oriented dentist.

 

EXAMPLES OF HOLISTIC DENTISTRY

Another benefit of holistic dentistry is that practitioners pay very close attention to the effects their dental appliances and materials will have on your overall health. Here are some examples:

  • Holistic dentists tend to avoid things like mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury, of course, is poisonous to our bodies. Even the smallest amounts will put your overall health at great risk. As a metal, mercury fillings can also put extreme pressure on your tooth and as a result, will last longer than the tooth itself.
  • Root canals are addressed with extreme caution and attention to detail, as holistic dentists understand that 100% sterilization of the canal is difficult to achieve. Also, some sterilization chemicals in fact toxic, such as formaldehyde. Leftover bacteria in the canal can also lead to things like breast cancer and heart disease. Many holistic dentists will instead recommend the total extraction of the tooth, but would prefer to provide detailed insights towards preventing symptoms in the first place.
  • Holistic dentists prefer topical fluoride is favored over ingested fluoride. Ingested fluoride can cause health defects like cancer and bone damage, and research has shown that it has no real benefit to your teeth.

Take the time to ask what your local holistic dentist can do for you and your family. You may find that as you utilize this form of care for your mouth and teeth, your overall health will improve as well, leading to a happier, healthier life!

healthy foods for sleep apnea diet in Anchorage, Alaska

Eating Right When You Have Sleep Apnea

There is a growing awareness that sleep apnea and oral hygiene have much to do with each other. However, many patients would be surprised if their dentist asked them about their sleeping patterns. The truth is our oral cavity has a direct role in the cause of sleep apnea – a disorder caused by inhibited breathing pathways. What we eat, how we eat, and how our mouths allow the passage of air are all important factors – factors that have a much more obvious association with dental health.

Dentists will, of course, tell you to avoid the traditional sugary treats in order to improve dental health. I want to go a step further and offer some tips that are not only good for dental health – they are great for sleep health. If you suffer from sleep apnea, try adding more of these foods into your daily diet this summer:

  1. Fruits and vegetables: Rich in nutrients and fibers – and of course low on calories – fruits and vegetables are ideal substitutes for cookies and candy. Also, fiber promotes a longer feeling of fullness; the longer you feel full, the less likely you are to overeat. This is especially crucial, as most sleep apnea sufferers tend to be overweight. Just avoid bananas (we’ll get to that later, promise).
  2. Low-fat dairy products: Full of vitamin D, protein, and calcium, low-fat dairy also helps you feel fuller, longer. Try swapping out whole milk, heavy cream, and cheddar cheese for skim or low-fat milk and part-skim mozzarella cheese. Again, these foods will help promote healthy weight management, which in turn aids in your sleep apnea management.
  3. Plant-based oils: Overweight sleep apnea sufferers can also benefit from the unsaturated fats from plant-based oils as a great substitute for saturated fats in butter and margarine. Oils from canola, olives, safflowers, sunflowers, flaxseeds, and of course vegetables mean a wide variety of options.
  4. Whole grains: Whole grains operate in much of the same way as fruits and vegetables – they are richer in nutrients and fibers, which makes you feel fuller for a longer amount of time. Breads and cereals have a wide variety of whole grain options, and you can also opt for wild or brown rice, pearled barley, and old-fashioned oats.

Watch out for the following foods, which can make sleep apnea conditions worse:

  1. Bananas: While most fruits are great for improving sleep apnea symptoms, bananas are an exception. They actually can increase mucus production, which can make breathing problems worse while you sleep. The softer and more over-ripe they are, the more likely they can be to contributing to your problem.
  2. High-fat dairy: We already explained why low-fat dairy is a better option compared to high-fat products. The reason is simple: they are higher in fat! Since sleep apnea and obesity have a direct relationship, it will benefit you to cut out heavy cream, whole milk, cheddar cheese, butter, etc.
  3. High-fat meats: Because curbing fat intake is so crucial to addressing sleep apnea, beef and pork should be eaten very sparingly at best. The same goes for fried chicken and fish. When NOT fried, however, fish can be extremely beneficial. As an Alaskan staple, salmon’s high Omega-3 yield is optimal for maintaining ideal fat intake.
  4. Refined carbs: These foods are why whole grain options (mentioned above) are a better choice; refined carbohydrates contain a high amount of added sugar – already on the “unapproved” list as far as dentists are concerned. Their likelihood of contributing to weight gain is obviously higher, and will increase the risk of sleep apnea symptoms.

If you are concerned about how your oral health or diet may be affecting or even causing sleep apnea, it might be a good time to contact your local comprehensive, holistic dental expert.

Foods that can damage your teeth

8 Foods that Damage Your Teeth

Taking care of your teeth is a life-long endeavor that is well worth your time. Beyond the typical lecture, you probably got from your parents about sugar rotting your teeth, other foods that can cause some significant damage to your teeth. Here’s a few:

  • Sticky Foods: The sticky food list doesn’t just contain chewy candies like Hot Tamales or Gummy Bears. You also need to watch out for dried fruit. Dried fruit often contain significant amounts of added sugar, and since they are sticky, they tend to hang out on your teeth longer keeping that sugar around. If you enjoy dried fruits like most of us, just make a point to floss carefully after eating some and rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Soda: No real surprises here. There are a few culprits in carbonated drinks, even diets ones. They are almost all high in acid, which can erode enamel. Sugary sodas sipped over an extended period lead to plaque bacteria, and finally, the caffeinated sodas can result in dry mouth (see alcohol below).
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can dry out your mouth, and excessive dry mouth can lead to some very unhealthy teeth. Saliva helps your mouth in various ways including keeping food particles from sticking to your mouth and even repairing smaller, early signs of gum disease or tooth decay.
  • Ice: On a hot summer day, it might seem refreshing to chew on some ice, but it has the potential to chip, crack or even break your teeth. If you have crowns, it even possible to loosen them by chewing on hard substances like ice. So enjoy it in your beverage and leave it there!
  • Sour Candy: Did you know that sour candies especially contain not only more but also different kinds of acids that are more damaging to your teeth? Like dried fruit, the chewiness can stick to your teeth and stay there until you brush next, meaning that the acids and sugar remain on your teeth longer than they should.
  • Bread: If you’ve ever eaten bread, especially white bread, you’re probably familiar with the embarrassing gummy paste-like substance that gets between your teeth after lunch. That’s your saliva breaking the starches in the bread into sugar. Obviously, sugars are bad for your teeth and also for your body.
  • Citrus: The acid in fruit like lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits can make your teeth more vulnerable to decay by eroding enamel. If you want to have some lemon water with dinner, enjoy it, just remember to rinse afterward.
  • Coffee: You knew this one was going to end up on the list, didn’t you? Drinking too much coffee will end up staining your teeth, and if you add too much sugar or sugary elements (mocha, syrups, etc.), you are back to the problem of the sugar contributing to decaying teeth.

While life may be full of choices, the ones to protect your teeth will serve you well throughout your life. It’s worth having even some of your favorite foods in moderation to protect your pearly whites. The health of your teeth affects most areas of your overall health, and if you are interested in learning more about how, contact your local, integrative health dentist.

What are the Pros & Cons of Dentures in Anchorage?

What are the Pros and Cons of Dentures in Anchorage?

Dentures have long been an affordable and practical method for improving the quality of your smile, your ability to eat a variety of foods, and even your self-confidence. Unfortunately, many people recoil at the idea, envisioning the set of teeth floating in a glass of water next to the bed. Dentures have come a long way in recent years and are worth a second look for anyone struggling with missing or decayed teeth.

Types of Dentures

There are four main types of dentures, and your Anchorage dentist can help you determine which one is best depending on your specific needs.

  1. Conventional or complete dentures are fully removable and are usually the ones people think of when they envision the teeth in the glass of water. With this style, you will usually have any remaining teeth removed, and your dentures will be fitted once your jaw and tissues have healed.
  2. Partial dentures fill in the spaces where you might have missing teeth. You must have some teeth that are in good working order that stay in your mouth for partial dentures to work.
  3. Overdentures utilize some remaining teeth as anchors, but the dentures still fit over everything, giving you a uniform, beautiful smile.
  4. Immediate dentures are removable and are ones you can wear out of the dentist’s office on the same day your old teeth are removed. This is nice because you won’t have to be without teeth while your gums heal, but immediate dentures often need to be remade once the healing is finished.

Pros of Getting Dentures

  1. Modern dentures are more comfortable than earlier models and look more natural.
  2. Dentures make speaking easier.
  3. Dentures make eating easier.
  4. Dentures give you a beautiful smile.
  5. Dentures can support your facial muscles, providing a more youthful appearance.

Cons of Getting Dentures

  1. Getting the right type of dentures for you is a process that requires multiple trips to the dentist and possible tooth removal.
  2. You will need to get used to them. They can feel a little weird at first and may even cause some soreness. You may need to learn how to pronounce some sounds differently with dentures.
  3. Eating with dentures takes some practice.
  4. Dentures are fragile when not in your mouth, and you will need to take care of them.
  5. Dentures do wear out about every five years and need to be replaced.

Depending on why you are considering getting dentures, the con list may seem like minor inconveniences to you. If you still have questions and would like to talk to someone, please give us a call to set up a consultation. We would love to chat about your many options.

Anchorage sedation dentistry safe and comfortable way to visit the dentist

Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist: The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

If the very idea of going to the dentist feels you with fear and anxiety, you are not alone. Colgate estimates about 30-40 million people choose to suffer from tooth or mouth pain rather than face going to the dentist. Sedation dentistry is available in Anchorage and offers a safe, comfortable way to take care of your teeth.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

In sedation dentistry, medicine is used to relax you during your dental procedure. It can be a part of even the simplest procedures as well as the complicated or time-consuming. There are four standard levels of sedation:

  • Minimal sedation– you stay awake but are very relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation– you are awake, but won’t remember much of the experience, and you’ll probably slur your words.
  • Deep sedation– you are hovering on the edge of being conscious but still awake. You likely won’t remember anything at all about the procedure.
  • General anesthesia– usually used for complex surgical procedures and for extreme phobia suffers. You will be completely unconscious.

Who Can Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?

  • People with a phobia about dentists
  • If you have a low pain threshold
  • Those who struggle to sit still in the dentist’s chair
  • If you have very sensitive teeth
  • If you have an overactive gag reflex
  • People who need a significant amount of dental work done

What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?

  • The dentist will be able to get the work done faster since you will be relaxed enough to not move around much if at all.
  • You can relax knowing you won’t be filling any fear or anxiety during the procedure. You can even take a pill about an hour before that can help you relax prior to arriving at the dentist.
  • Depending on the level of sedation you will fill little to no pain during the procedure due to the medication. Often your dentist will still use topical anesthesia where they are working.
  • You’ll be memory free! Especially if you have past memories of a horrible dental experience, you probably don’t want to remember this one. Especially if you go with deep sedation or general anesthesia, you will have no memories of the work that was done, just the benefits of your dentist’s handiwork.

Don’t let your fear of the dentist keep you in pain or put the health of your teeth at risk. There are options! Sedation dentistry is available in Anchorage and we can help you have the best experience possible.

Little boy sleeping. Ortho-Tain is a safe treatment for Sleep Apnea in children

Ortho-Tain Safely Treats Sleep Apnea in Kids

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person repeatedly stops breathing and then starts again. While it is more common in adult males, children can also suffer from it as well. In fact, more and more studies seem to link intention, bad behavior, ADD and ADHD with a lack of sleep and poor sleep quality in children. Ortho-Tain can help Anchorage children get better sleep and improve their quality of life.

What is Ortho-Tain?

Ortho-Tain is a removable orthodontic appliance that can not only be worn by teens and adults but also by children as young as five. The appliance is custom made to fit your teeth and can be worn during the evening as well as during the day. For many people, it is a safe, efficient and affordable alternative to traditional braces.

In addition to offering an alternative to traditional sleep apnea treatments, Ortho-Tain can treat a variety of conditions including overbite, overjet or buckteeth, spacing issues, crowding, TMJ disorders, and malocclusion.

How Does Ortho-Tain Help with Sleep Apnea in Children?

Ortho-Tain offers two appliances, the Nite-Guide and the Occlus-o-Guide, that can make a dramatic impact on the quality of your child’s sleep. Originally, both appliances were designed to straighten teeth, and they still do a very effective job at that. In additional they have been found to promote the healthy downward and outward growth and development of both the upper and lower jaw. This is critical because sleep problems like sleep apnea come from kids not getting enough oxygen while they sleep. When their upper and lower jaw has developed correctly, then their airways can expand fully providing for more oxygen and better sleep quality. The Nite-Guide and the Occlus-0-Guide are both appliances worn while sleeping and can also eliminate teeth grinding and reduce snoring.

Early diagnosis and orthodontic treatment in children as young as 5 is not something most parents traditionally consider. However, some Anchorage dentists are hoping to change that mindset. Early treatment tends to be less invasive and shorter in duration. This has many obvious benefits for both child and parents including:

  • Better sleep earlier in a child’s life can reduce or eliminate issues like anxiety, moodiness, hyperactivity, sleep apnea, ADHD, etc.
  • Shorter treatment times
  • Lower costs
  • Reduction or elimination of more traditional braces later in a child’s teens, which tend to be more expensive, invasive, and painful
  • Early treatment can catch and treat medical conditions like TMJ and stop it before it develops.

Sleep apnea can be a contributing factor if your child is suffering from behavioral issues or even just struggling to pay attention. Ortho-Tain is an option that is less invasive and expensive than traditional sleep apnea treatments and can address teeth issues in addition to the sleep problems.

Happy smiling couple. Teeth whitening safety tips in Anchorage

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Many people are interested in and want to have their teeth whitened, but are concerned about the possible risks and even the pain involved with having their teeth whitened. There are some minimal risks involved with whitening your teeth, but the results are one of the fastest and least expensive ways to update your look (when compared to Botox or cosmetic surgery).

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening methods and techniques have improved over the years and now consist of a bleaching agency called carbamide peroxide. This bleach eliminates the colored organic molecules that give your teeth a stained look. These molecules usually hide out between the crystals of tooth enamel (the outside of your tooth) and the dentin (the inside of your tooth).

Bleaching will have the best results on yellowish and some brown stains, but will not effect gray discoloration. If you have had any restorations done to your teeth, the bleach will not work on them, so keep that in mind when considering teeth whitening.

Will Teeth Whitening Hurt?

Following the process of teeth whitening, it is possible for some tooth sensitivity, which will vary based on the intensity of the solution used. The symptoms usually last one to four days. If the bleaching solution comes in contact with your gums, it can cause pain and irritation. If you are doing the process at home, it is important to wipe any excess gel from your gums immediately. If your dentist is doing the procedure, make sure to inform him or her immediately if you feel irritation.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Yes, in most cases, teeth whitening is safe. The mineral structure of the tooth is not affected by the chemicals used to eliminate the stained molecules. Before getting your teeth whitened, it is important to let your dentist know so they can check your teeth to make sure there won’t be any surprises during the procedure.

What Options do I Have for Teeth Whitening?

There are two main directions to go for teeth whitening, and they both have pros and cons. Your choose depends on which one is best for your circumstances. There are professional teeth whitening options that can either be done in the office or at home. And there are over-the-counter options that can be done at home.

Professional teeth whitening options can either be done in the office or at home. These professional options have a higher concentration of whitening gel than what you can find over the counter. They work faster but can cause more discomfort to the gums or tooth sensitivity. Having a dentist’s supervision can help many feel better about the procedure, however these options are the more expensive.

The over-the-counter teeth whitening options are not as concentrated so there is usually less risk of gum irritation or tooth sensisitivy. However, due to the lower amounts of whitening gel in the mixture, they tend to take longer to achieve the level of whiteness that you might want. Over-the-counter options will be less expensive than the professional options, which can make a difference in some people’s decision.

 

man snoring, 4 common myths about sleep apnea in Anchorage

4 Common Sleep Apnea Myths

Sleep disorders are a common topic in Anchorage due to our issues with too much or too little light. Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) doesn’t have anything to do with light, but it is a sleep disorder that we are becoming more and more aware of these days. As with most topics that increase in popularity a lot of myths get mixed in with the facts. Today we are going to clear up some of the common misconceptions about sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea isn’t dangerous.

Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea is a very real and hazardous thing. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that truck drivers suffering from untreated sleep apnea were five times more likely to get into an accident. This means that unfortunately, the consequences of this sleep disorder can affect more people than just the person dealing with it. Additionally, the health risks for the person with sleep apnea are also dangerous. If left untreated, it can increase the possibility of heart attack, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.

Sleep apnea and snoring are the same thing, right?

Snoring and sleep apnea are both are caused by the blocking of the respiratory tract. But that is where the similarities end. Snoring can be loud and disruptive, but that is usually the extent of it. However, the blockage that causes snoring could get so severe that it causes the sufferer to stop breathing up to hundreds of times each night. This is why loud and persistent snoring is usually an indicator that someone should get tested for sleep apnea.

I’m still young, so I’m not at risk for sleep apnea.

Men who are over the age of 40 and obese tend to be at the highest risk for sleep apnea. However, anyone can have it. Some in the medical industry speculate that the rise of sleep apnea in children could be due to the increasing number of obese kids. A growing number of dental specialists believe that sleep apnea stems from incorrect jaw growth as well as facial development during childhood.

I’ll need surgery to correct sleep apnea.

Outside of some very extreme cases, most people will not need surgery to correct their sleep apnea. One of the most common non-surgical treatments for sleep apnea is the CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine. A CPAP device gently blows the right amount of air directly into your airways to keep them open during the night. Another route is the orthodontic approach in which your dentist or orthodontist fits you with Othro-Tain or Myobrace appliances. Using the appliances, and with some time, some of the oral-facial issues can be corrected, thus solving or minimizing the sleep apnea problem.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can greatly affect your life or the life of a loved one. There are great options out there for treatment, so it is worth giving a specialist a call to get diagnosed and to explore all of the treatments available.

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

With the plethora of choices that we are posed with everyday, it can be difficult to determine what type of toothpaste is right for you. First, there are several brands to choose from as well as for different purposes. Are you looking for something to whiten your teeth, help your enamel, and prevent cavities or another reason? Another huge factor that goes into choosing the right toothpaste is the flavor. Do you like spearmint, regular mint, or possibly cinnamon?

Well, with all of these options, where do you even begin?

American Dental Association

Next time you are on the lookout for new toothpaste, keep your eye out for the ADA’s seal of acceptance logo. This means that this toothpaste is marked as safe and effective by the ADA and that the claims on the packaging are found true.

Cavities

We are all at risk of getting cavities from our diets and our dental care. If you are looking for toothpaste to help with cavity prevention, make sure your choice contains fluoride. If you choose toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance, it will contain fluoride. (Flossing will also help eliminate the risk of getting cavities.)

Enamel strengthening

When you eat a highly acidic diet, your dental enamel could be at risk. This softens the outer most layer of the tooth, putting it at risk of further damage. By utilizing a remineralization toothpaste, you can strengthen your enamel over time.

Sensitive teeth

There are special toothpastes made especially for tooth sensitivity. This would be useful for root canals or patients with periodontal disease. These products contain ingredients to reduce the pain associated with these conditions.

Flavor

This one is up for personal preference. Some form of mint is most popular, giving your breath a fresh scent.

With all of the options out there, we hope that you can determine which option is best for you. Perhaps you have several uses you’d like to include in your toothpaste, sometimes you can find a brand with several benefits.

Overall, it might be more beneficial to consult your dentist for a specific recommendation, from brand all the way to use.

If you’d like to meet with us in regards to your toothpaste choice, let us know.

If you have other questions or concerns surrounding your dental health, we would love to work with you and find a solution for your specific case.