Mussels Can Help With Certain Tooth Pain.
From a recent Readers Digest article-
Some tooth pain develops when the hard outer enamel wears away and exposes the softer underlying dentin, which is sensitive to stimuli such as hot and cold.  Pain-fighting toothpastes and chewing gums contain minerals that can augment enamel but don't adhere long enough to permanently rebuild it.  For a solution, Chinese scientists turned to mussels, which secrete an adhesive to attach to underwater rocks, and they created a substance with similar sticky properties.  When scientists coated worn-out teeth with the mussel-like adhesive and then soaked them in a bath of minerals, the teeth rebuilt a protective layer that simulates enamel.  This discovery lead to better products for sensitive teeth.
Losing Weight Can Help with TMJD.
Temporomandibular  Joint Disorder- TMJD
*  Chronic TMJD does not correlate w/ low socioeconomic status.  This finding is in stark contrast to trends seen in other chronic pain conditions.
*  Chronic TMJD seems to be associated w/ alterations in some parts of the nervous system that control pain perception.
*  Genetic variability contributes to chronic TMJD.  This includes several genes known to influence stress response, psychological well being and inflammation.
TMJD patients frequently experienced many more chronic pain conditions, such as lower back pain, headaches, and fibromyalgia.  Evidence of abnormal jaw function associated with teeth grinding and clenching was also observed.
Losing weight improves the diabetic status and helps in the response to periodontal therapy.  One theory is that excessive fat cells secrete more cytokines, which make insulin less functional and lead to hyperglycemia.  Losing weight improves the diabetic status and helps in the response to periodontal therapy.  A second theory pertains to leptin hormone, which regulates appetite.  Leptin is involved in regulating metabolism and has been associated with C-reactive protein.
Choosing a Toothbrush.
Tooth brushing is the major behavior performed by patients to fulfill their needs to feel clean and fresh and to avoid dental problems.  It is also considered by the dentist-dental hygienist team to be the major tool in the removal and control of dental biofilm and the prevention of periodontal diseases and dental caries.
Effective brushing is important but so is the design and selection of the brush.  Not all brushes are the same.  By using the appropriate brush and technique together, patients can maximize their daily oral hygiene efforts.
Why must plaque be removed?  When the plaque matures, the microbial ecology changes and becomes pathogenic due to the different microorganisms, their by-products, and in the case of gum disease, the inflammatory response provoked by the host.
For gum health the plaque must be removed from:
*the healthy sulcus or shallow pocket, the ideal anaerobic breeding ground
*the gum tissue where maturing and growing supra gingival plaque deposits are in contact with the marginal gum tissue and can alter the sub gingival environment
*the interproximal areas-in between the teeth, which are hard to reach.
For cavity prevention:
Plaque must be removed from the the gum line, pits and grooves in the teeth and the interproximal areas.
Understanding the different elements of toothbrush design will help with making the correct selection.
Head and Bristles
The toothbrush head is an extension of the handle and is contoured to position the bristles.  Bristles are typically round nylon filaments.  The degree of hardness is determined by the diameter and the length of the bristles.  Larger diameter bristles are stiffer and do not extend as easily into hard to reach areas.  The shape of the end of the bristle has evolved over many years.  The tapering of the bristle allows greater flexibility and slenderness to reach deep into the sulcus.  A recently introduced bristle has a feathered tip, providing up to 70% more surface contact with the tooth.  Positioning of the bristles is also important.  Positioning tufts10 -20 degrees away from the vertical axis increases interproximal penetration.  A dome-shaped head of bristles, where the bristles are raised in the center, has been shown to increase plaque removal.
The ideal handle grip should aid in holding the brush at the correct angle so the bristles are present at 45 degrees to the long-axis of the tooth.  Is should be long enough to provide adequate grip to give full control, and the distance between the grip area and the head should enable easy access to the most posterior teeth.
Toothbrushes alone do not lead to adequate plaque removal.  There is a clear need for between-the-teeth cleaning.  This includes flossing and interproximal brushes.  These are available in a wide variety of designs and a high level of customization is available.
*The bristles must be effective in cleaning the hard-to-teach areas-extremely tapered bristles have demonstrated superiority
*The handles should have a grip designed to automatically position the brush to achieve the correct angle
*The brush is only one element of a plaque removal system
*The brush should be readily available commercially
*The brush head should be compact to reach to the back of the mouth and have soft bristles to minimize soft and hard tissue trauma and sensitivity, while maximizing cleaning
*The brushes should be designed and manufactured by a long-established supplier of scientifically tested toothbrushes
Take a Look at Under Armour’s Performance Mouthwear.
In the past 50 years, a considerable volume of research has concluded that clenching one’s teeth completes a neuro-physiological feedback loop responsible for a complex series of responses resulting in an increase in adrenaline and cortisol production as well as blood pressure and heart rate. That this “stress response” is invariably initiated during instances of physical exertion is undeniably counter-intuitive because of its detrimental effect on athletic performance. Cortisol in particular can, at high levels, cause the body to enter a state of constant muscle breakdown and suppressed immune function, thereby increasing the risk of illness and injury while at the same time reducing muscle.

The first research into the application of an oral appliance in athletic performance first began in 1958. Further research has continued over the years. A 2009 study involved an in depth comparison of muscular endurance with and without a mouthpiece and concluded a significant improvement in sporting performance resulting from the use of a specially designed oral appliance. Trial participants showed an increase of 1% in mean bench press repetitions and 17% in preacher curl repetitions when wearing a Bite Tech product. Perhaps more significantly, cortisol levels were found to be on average 49% lower.

Under Armour Performance Mouthwear (UAPM) Products are engineered using Bite Tech’s patented technology and clinical trials have shown that there is a definite improvement in the response to auditory clues and a potential improvement in response to visual clues when these products are used. The UAPM Products use ArmourBite Technology that is backed up by 15 years of research. It positions a patented, uniquely shaped Power Wedge between the molars to help maintain optimal spacing and reduce the effects of clenching by reducing cortisol production as well as reducing lactic acid build-up by up to 25%. Over 1,000 professional athletes wear Armour Bite; the appliance is a powerful tool in the quest to enhance athletic protection and performance.

UAPM has been engineered to unlock the body’s true potential and has a positive impact on an athlete’s ability to train harder and perform at a higher level by increasing strength and endurance and reducing the impact of the stress response that omits physical performance.
Dr. Caroline Wallace DDS
Complete Dental Care
103 South Colorado Street
Salem, Virginia, 24153
Too Many of Our Seniors are Starving

Malnutrition may be the silent killer of many seniors. In fact, too many of our seniors are starving – a deplorable situation in the US. Malnutrition weakens the entire body, creating greater susceptibility to old man tooth loss -- pixabay free commercial use pub domain people-875376 640illness, to falls, and to loss of muscle that reduces physical activity. The Huffington Post reported in March 2015 that one in three seniors entering a hospital is malnourished. This occurs despite the number of food assistance programs available to them. []

Malnutrition among seniors in America typically results from a number of contributing factors.

In an article entitled “Malnutrition and Ageing” published in January 2006, M Hickson presented a list of factors contributing to malnutrition in seniors. He divided the factors into three groups, which is helpful.

Risk factors for malnutrition

Medical factors

  • Poor appetite
  • Poor dentition, other oral problems and dysphagia
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Respiratory disorders, for example, emphysema
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, for example, malabsorption
  • Endocrine disorders, for example, diabetes, thyrotoxicosis
  • Neurological disorders, for example, cerebrovascular accident, Parkinson's disease
  • Infections, for example, urinary tract infection, chest infection
  • Physical disability, for example, arthritis, poor mobility
  • Drug interactions, for example, digoxin, metformin, antibiotics, etc
  • Other disease states, for example, cancer

Lifestyle and social factors

  • Lack of knowledge about food, cooking, and nutrition
  • Isolation/loneliness
  • Poverty
  • Inability to shop or prepare food


  • Confusion
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Bereavement
  • Anxiety


Many of these contributing factors can be overcome with effort. It is noteworthy that the second factor listed in medical factors is issues of dental and oral health.

Dental and Oral Health Factors

A number of dental and oral health factors may contribute to malnutrition. Among the dental and oral health factors contributing to starvation among seniors are typically age-related; other factors issues of dental care also contribute; still others are disease-related. Dental issues make it very difficult to consume proper nutrition because one cannot chew the needed foods.

As we grow older, particularly when we have bone, joint or muscular problems, it can become difficult for seniors to maintain thorough dental care. This leads to decay, loose teeth, lost teeth, pain and difficulty chewing. If someone is having difficulty brushing and flossing, caregivers can help them perform this task. In other cases, one might use an adaptive product that will make brushing easier. If you or a loved one is having difficulty with dental care, talk with your dentist about your options.

Some changes in the mouth are common. These usually result from natural aging processes and a lifetime of normal wear and tear. When the gums begin to recede – source of the expression about elders growing long in the tooth – dental care is particularly important to treat the gums and to protect the roots of the teeth. Nutrition is also important in preserving and protecting teeth. Malnutrition causes teeth to weaken, decay, and fall out. The next step, difficulty eating, engenders malnutrition. This vicious circle and be quite damaging. This process, however, can be mitigated by working closely with your dentist to schedule regular treatment. It will also be important to take all steps possible to improve nutrition.

Some diseases and conditions also contribute to dental and oral health. These include oral cancer, TMJ and other jaw damage, and even the medications one takes for other conditions. Your dentist can help you develop a treatment and protection plan.

 Among the factors making chewing difficult are loose teeth, missing teeth, issues with the jaw, and ill-fitting dentures or partials. All of these dental issues can make chewing, especially chewing certain foods, difficult and painful. For example, when one loses a tooth it should be replaced. Failure to do so allows surrounding teeth to loosen and move to fill the space. Without treatment, the process becomes self-perpetuating. The sensitivity of gum disease, especially when advanced, also contributes to eating difficulties.

Dentures, bridges and partials can also make it difficult to chew. Loose or ill-fitting dentures allow food and bacterial to collect beneath the denture, contributing to infection and further gum and tooth damage. Ill-fitting dentures and partials rub the gums and create sensitive areas that are painful. Chewing aggravates the pain. It is very difficult to eat anything if you remove your dentures in an effort to eat something. It is more difficult to chew when a partial or denture is loose. If the two sides of a denture or partial are not working together, it will loosen one side of the denture, making it even more difficult to eat. The number of people with a partial, bridge or denture increases as one ages.

Seniors may experience a range of damage, disease, or other dental problems that make it difficult to eat. Talk honestly with your dentist about the difficulties you or someone in your care may be having. You might be surprised to learn how much help your dentist can be. In most cases, far too many of our seniors are malnourished or starving due to dental and oral health issues. Choose a dentist who will work with you without judgment or accusing. Then work with your dentist regularly to protect and preserve the teeth and the ability to eat. Call your dentist today.


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