Do Dental Sleep Apnea Devices Really Work?

Do Dental Sleep Apnea Devices Really Work?

Your dentist recently asked you about your sleeping habits; whether you were having trouble sleeping, if your partner complained about snoring, etc. You answered “yes” to all of her questions, and she mentioned Sleep Apnea as a potential culprit, suggesting some dental treatments that could help you overcome it. You were taken aback. Is Sleep Apnea something that a dental professional can treat? The answer to this question is also “yes.”

Common complaints about clunky and uncomfortable CPAP machines have driven many to pursue more natural alternatives to Sleep Apnea treatment, especially those provided by the dental field. Learn more about dental Sleep Apnea devices and how they are helping sufferers of mild to moderate symptoms!

What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) impacts an estimated 22 million Americans each year. It occurs when the muscles and tissue in the throat and mouth relax during sleep, causing the airways to narrow to the point of blocking (obstructing) the flow of air. Snoring is a result of partial obstruction; when breathing is fully obstructed, the oxygen level of the blood drops, and the central nervous system kicks in to alert the lungs to take a deep breath. When this happens, the individual suffering from Sleep Apnea will wake up choking and gasping for air. These episodes typically occur multiple times per hour over the course of a night’s sleep, leaving the individual exhausted the next day. Learn more about the causes and effects in our blogs, What is Sleep Apnea? and Can Sleep Apnea Affect My Health?

What are Dental Sleep Apnea Devices and Do They Work?

When people think of treatment for Sleep Apnea, they typically think of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines. These machines keep airways open at night by delivering continuous air to the individual suffering from Sleep Apnea via a tube connected to a mask. Unfortunately, these machines are uncomfortable to many people. Approximately 40% of people who are given CPAP machines to treat their Sleep Apnea quit using them. The most common complaints include:

  • The mask is uncomfortable, and can irritate the skin
  • The tube gets in the way during sleep, sometimes to the point of knocking the mask off
  • The machine is too loud, agitating the user and/or their partner
  • The pressurized air is too much to tolerate
  • The system dries-out nasal passages

These issues with the CPAP machine and the desire to pursue more natural treatment methods have driven many sufferers of Sleep Apnea to look for alternatives. Dental Sleep Apnea devices are one of the most popular alternatives, especially considering they can be covered by Medicare and other forms of insurance, unlike other options.

One of the most common devices is the Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). It is most comparable to an athletic mouth guard. Instead of pushing air through the airways, it works by gently moving the lower jaw (pushing it down and forward) to open them. These devices are preferred for their natural simplicity, ease of transportation, and silence. A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicated that devices like MAD work for people with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea, but not for people with moderate to severe, who should still be using CPAP machines. Here’s what determines mild to moderate to severe Sleep Apnea:

  • Mild – 5-14 episodes of breathing interruptions per hour at night
  • Moderate – 15-30 episodes of breathing interruptions per hour at night
  • Severe – 30 or more episodes of breathing interruptions per hour at night

In conclusion, dental Sleep Apnea devices like MAD will work for people who experience about 10-20 interruptions per hour during the course of a night’s sleep. They are the best option for sufferers of Sleep Apnea who find CPAP machines unnatural, uncomfortable or cannot stick to their CPAP routine. If you would like to learn more about this natural alternative to CPAP, sleep apnea dentist Dr. Owen Mandanas would be happy to speak with you about your options for a healthier, happier night’s sleep!

Why Should I Make the Switch to a Holistic Dentist?

Why Should I Make the Switch to a Holistic Dentist?

Holistic dentistry is on the rise, sparking questions in the minds of many:

“Is my current dentist effective? Should I make the switch to a holistic dentist?”

“I am told that holistic dentists take a more natural approach to dentistry, but is that reason enough to make the switch?”

“Traditional dentists have been doing things their way for years, how could we have missed the importance of holistic dentistry?”

We hope to provide answers to these questions and more below. Read on to find out why we think you should make the switch to a holistic dentist!

They Consider the “Mouth-Body Connection”

Holistic dentists understand that the mouth does not exist in a silo, and that the procedures they perform on your teeth will have lasting effects on the rest of your body as well. They also understand that what goes on in your body, whether positive or negative, will have serious effects on your mouth. This is sometimes called the “Mouth-Body Connection.” Because of their understanding of the mouth-body connection, holistic dentists take time to sit down with their patients and gather as much information about their health as possible–Not just their dental health, but their diet, their lifestyle, and their mental and emotional health as well. They take all of this into consideration to determine the best approach for your dental health and overall well-being.

Holistic Dentists Use Safer Materials

Holistic dentists avoid dental appliances, cleaning materials, and dental hygiene products that use toxic chemicals. Examples of these include mercury amalgam fillings, sealants containing BPA, and fluoride.

Mercury is toxic, and holistic dentists believe that any amount that leaks into the body, no matter how small, puts the body at risk. Mercury fillings are often preferred by traditional dentists because they last longer. Although this is true, mercury fillings are known to last longer because they are stronger than our teeth, which places significant pressure on the tooth filled. This pressure can destroy the original tooth, something all dentists should seek to avoid. Holistic dentists use fillings that match the material of the tooth filled more closely in order to protect it.

BPA, also known as Bisphenol A, is a chemical found in many plastic materials, and it is often used in dental sealants. The problem with BPA is that it mimics estrogen, which can be dangerous for the hormonal balance of the body. As such, holistic dentists avoid materials containing BPA.

Fluoride is a chemical many traditional dentists prescribe to strengthen teeth. It is harmless and even helpful when needed, but just like with any chemical compound, too much fluoride can be toxic for the body. Fluorosis is a harmful condition caused by too much fluoride intake. Holistic dentists recognize that fluoride is already present in many community water systems and only prescribe it when necessary.

In order to help their patients avoid harmful chemicals, holistic dentists also encourage their patients to use natural dental hygiene products, such as natural toothpaste.

They Practice Integrative Medicine

Integrative Medicine is an approach that combines traditional dentistry with other therapies in dental practice for a fuller approach to care. A big focus for holistic dentists is the nature of the relationships between the structure of the teeth, the jaw, the head, and the neck. Learn more about one of these therapies, called tongue positioning.

Holistic Dentists Pursue Natural Remedies

Holistic dentists seek to avoid invasive procedures as much as possible, opting instead for natural, preventative remedies to common dental issues. They use x-rays sparingly and often do not offer root canals, crowns, and many other procedures typical of a traditional practice. This does not mean that they do not use many traditional methods when needed. Holistic dentists stress the importance of nutrition as the first defense against dental woes. For issues that require treatment, they often offer natural remedies.

They Made the Switch First

It is a little-known fact that many holistic dentists turned their practice around after working in traditional dentistry for many years. They made the switch because they witnessed the mouth-body connection through the experiences of their patients. In order to provide the best possible care for their patients, these holistic dentists researched their experiences and came to the conclusion that holistic dentistry will best meet their patients’ needs.

Holistic dentists pursue an approach that uses natural, preventative measures first and takes the whole body into consideration when practicing dental care. We hope we provided answers to any questions you may have about holistic dentistry. If you have more, please reach out to your local holistic dentists, Dr. Owen Mandanas! Dr. Mandanas would be happy to talk with you more about the benefits of making the switch from traditional to holistic dentistry.

7 Natural Toothpaste Brands to Try

7 Natural Toothpaste Brands to Try

The world of natural toothpaste is growing wider every day, with many, competing options to choose from. It is no small wonder, considering the harmful chemicals contained in most traditional toothpastes, like sodium lauryl sulfate, which agitates the skin, and triclosan, which was banned from soaps by the FDA in 2016 and shown to be a hormone-disrupter. There has also been a recent push for fluoride-free toothpaste, since too much flouride can cause dental fluorosis in children. These trends and our natural desire to return to nature’s ingredients have changed the face of the oral care industry as we know it. We have outlined some of the top brands to try and their benefits below–Take a look and try some for yourself!

1. Davids Natural Toothpaste

✔ Vegan

Sweet Freedom: No fluoride, sulfates, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, preservatives, or animal cruelty.

Great Ingredients: Includes baking soda (natural, gentle abrasive), birch-derived xylitol (remineralizes enamel), peppermint oil, spearmint oil, wintergreen leaf oil, anise seed extract, and stevia leaf extract (natural flavors/sweeteners). The ingredients are 98% sourced in the U.S.

Additional Perks: The recyclable metal tube packaging is manufactured with 100% renewable wind power energy. The toothpaste is Environmental Working Group Certified.

2. Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste

✔ Popular Choice

Sweet Freedom: No fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming agent) depending on the toothpaste chosen, no artificial flavors, fragrances, colors, sweeteners, preservatives, or animal testing.

Great Ingredients: Includes Xylitol (prevents plaque), zinc citrate (controls tartar), silica (whitens teeth), natural oils for flavor.

3. Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste

✔ Vegan ✔ Kid Safe

Sweet Freedom: Flouride, GMO, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, foaming agents, carrageenan, and cruelty-free.

Great Ingredients: Includes bentonite clay (natural, gentle abrasive), Fare Trade, organic coconut flour and oil (also abrasives), baking soda (abrasive), aloe leaf juice, peppermint oil, anise, cinnamon, and stevia leaf extract (natural flavors/sweeteners). The ingredients are 70% organic!

Additional Perks: The packaging is 100% recyclable.

4. Kiss My Face Toothpaste

✔ Vegan ✔ Kid-Friendly Option

Sweet Freedom: No sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, parabens, gluten, artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, or fluoride depending on the toothpaste chosen. Also cruelty-free.

Great Ingredients: Organic aloe vera, olives, horse chestnut (promotes healthy gums), tea tree oil (natural antiseptic), silica (natural whitener), peppermint, and menthol (natural flavors).

Additional Perks: Kiss My Face makes a berry-flavored paste designed with kids in mind!

5. JĀSÖN Toothpaste

✔ Kosher

Sweet Freedom: No preservatives, artificial colors, sweeteners, gluten, sodium lauryl or laureth sulfates.

Great Ingredients: Depending on the toothpaste chosen, you can expect to find a variety of essential oils, extracts, and antioxidant-rich ingredients.

6. LEBON Toothpaste

✔ Vegan ✔ Organic

Sweet Freedom: No fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfates, parabens, triclosan, artificial coloring, or cruelty.

Great Ingredients: Comes in six tasty mint flavors that include hints of green tea, pineapple, or cinnamon.

Additional Perks: LEBON toothpaste is ethically-made using PEFC certified cardboard packaging.

7. Jack N’ Jill Natural Kids Toothpaste

✔ Organic ✔ Made for Kids

Sweet Freedom: Free of fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfates, artificial colors and preservatives, GMOs, gluten, sugar, BPA, and cruelty.

Great Ingredients: Coconut-oil based and contains calendula extract.

Additional Perks: Jack N’Jill toothpaste comes in fun, kid-oriented flavors like coconut banana and even flavor-free! The package is recyclable.

If you have yet to dip your toes into the ocean of natural toothpaste brands, give it a try! At Mandanas Dental, we are always encouraging our patients to choose the natural option when they have the choice. To learn more about our natural approach to healthcare, schedule an appointment with Dr. Owen Mandanas. Dr. Mandanas is an integrative dentist who considers the “mouth-body” connection in her dental work, looking at how the health of the mouth affects the body, and vice-versa!

 

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.

Get Ready for Another Commercial!

 

img_4158_720 This week my marketing team convinced me to sit down in front of a cozy fireplace to talk about one of my passions – helping adults and children get a better night’s sleep. But there was a catch.

They were going to film it!

I love helping people to achieve their perfect smile. I enjoy creating solutions to make my patients more comfortable. I’m passionate about breathing well. And I’m eager to share these things!

We had a long talk in front of TerraBella’s fireplace and the camera crew was so amazing that I felt almost normal despite the mic and cameras surrounding us!

Over the course of the evening, we talked about how I got started in my practice and all of the new things I’ve been learning and incorporating into my practice through the years. We discussed Othro-tain and braces, the connection between breathing well and sleeping soundly, the correlation between poor sleep and ADD, and my collaborations with other providers such as chiropractors and physical therapists. Another key topic came up was all of the new technology that we’ve been incorporating into the practice.

img_4152_720There are so many exciting things happening.  I would love to elaborate on everything we talked about right now but I want to keep some things a surprise for the commercial!

Look for us on your TV soon and let us know what you were doing when we came on screen!