Can Coconut Oil Combat Tooth Decay?

The best defense against acidic substances that cause tooth decay in your mouth is of course your saliva, but a recent study suggests that coconut oil may also help against potentially harmful bacteria that can take up residence inside your mouth.

Scientists from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland tested the antibacterial qualities of coconut oil in and found that an enzyme-modified version was able to strongly inhibit most strains of Streptococcus bacteria including Streptococcus mutans; the latter is an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay. It was also found to be effective against the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush (bacteria overgrowth) in the mouth.

Tooth decay, in particular, is a major problem because of poor dental habits. According to recent research from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 50-percent of children ages 12 to 15 and 67 percent of teens ages 16 to 19 have tooth decay.

The Irish Researchers recommended that the oil be added to dental hygiene products, considering that it can work at relatively low concentrations in fighting the widespread tooth decay problem. Some people have also utilized the technique of oil pulling in a bid to reduce exposure to harmful bacteria in the mouth, which consists of swishing around coconut oil or other oils with water in an effort to kill the bacteria before spitting it out. The American Dental Association currently has not made a recommendation on the technique or coconut oil’s benefits for fighting tooth decay, however.

For now, the best way to prevent tooth decay is to make sure to thoroughly brush all of your teeth twice a day, floss every day and make regular visits to your dentist for a check-up as well as a full service teeth cleaning.




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Top Five Dental Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

While everyone knows how important it is to make regular visits to their dentist’s office, it’s not secret that many people still end up putting them off.

Waiting an extra month or a few extra weeks to make an appointment for convenience or financial reasons is one thing, but putting off a dentist visit when dealing with one of the following symptoms is something completely different and dangerous to your health.

Here are the top five dental symptoms you should never ignore:

1. Toothache- Besides being painful, toothaches can signify a wide variety of serious problems, ranging from a cavity to an abscess, impacted tooth or gum disease. A visit to the dentist following a toothache can help save the tooth, and help to identify the underlying cause of the problem before it gets worse.

2. Bleeding or Sore Gums- Many people know about gingivitis from mouthwash TV commercials, but fewer know about these potential symptoms and their link. Luckily, gingivitis is an early and reversible stage of gum disease that is treatable, so be sure to see a dentist if you experience these symptoms.

3. Jaw pain- This could be a precursor to many different possible ailments, with many possible causes such as teeth grinding, sinus problems, or an injury to the jaw. A dentist can determine the source of the problem through an exam and/or x-rays, so be sure to make a visit if you experience pain, popping or clicking in the jaw.

4. Sensitive Teeth- Many companies make products for sensitive teeth, but such products don’t address the root of the problem, which could be related to fractured teeth, worn tooth enamel or fillings, tooth decay and more. Be sure to see a dentist if the problem persists for an extended period of time.

5. Cracked or broken tooth- These can happen for a number of reasons, and are sometimes very hard to spot, even on x-rays. They can often be precipitated by pain while chewing and can lead to bigger problems in a short amount of time. If you suspect a broken tooth, be sure to contact your dentist right away.

Source: Mouth Healthy website from the American Dental Association


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Tooth Tips- The Connection Between Dental Health and Overall Health

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Tooth Tips- How Mouth Breathing Impacts Dental Health

While practices such as brushing and flossing are the major focus of dental health, and for good reason, there are many other ways to maintain a healthy mouth, as well as unhealthy practices to avoid.

One practice to avoid is mouth breathing, something many people do without even realizing it, leaving them unaware of the side effects it could be causing.

The many problems associated with mouth breathing were recognized in a study published in the January/February 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.

Mouth breathing, which is particularly widespread among children, can lead to allergies, as well as long-term dental side effects, such as abnormal facial development, gingivitis, crooked teeth, gummy smiles and more. Mouth breathing can also affect overall health negatively, causing people, especially children, to experience a lower quality of sleep, poor oxygen concentration in the bloodstream, and other issues that may even be misdiagnosed as attention deficit disorder (ADD) related.

In the case of tooth decay, mouth breathing can lead to a lack of saliva in the mouth, which is bad news, because saliva is a natural defense against cavities due to its ability reduce acid and bacteria build-up on teeth. This problem is also especially prevalent in older people.

Crooked teeth can be caused because mouth breathers rest their tongues on the top of their mouths, causing cheek muscles to relax and rest on the upper teeth. The sequence can cause the upper jaw to become narrow, leading to crooked teeth down the road.

Finally, gingivitis, or bad breath, is caused in large part by a poor balance of oral bacteria. That balance is disturbed when people breathe through their mouths and create a dry environment.

Many people who suffer from these symptoms don’t even realize what may be causing them, but once the cause is identified, different treatments and lifestyle changes can be recommended.

Dentists often have the ability to recognize mouth breathers, and can check for symptoms and problems such as swollen tonsils.

Oftentimes, patients can fix the problem on their own through using proper breathing techniques, but other more comprehensive treatments may be needed in some cases.

Getting the proper treatment for mouth breathing can significantly improve quality of life for many people.

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Tooth Tips- Make Your End of the Year Dental Benefits Count

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