flossing
© Julio Cortez / AP
Dr. Wayne Aldredge, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, demonstrates how dental floss should be used in Holmdel, N.J.
Have you ever wondered if our modern methods of oral hygiene and dental care are causing us more harm than good? Despite all the advancements in dental technology our collective teeth are actually worse off than they were before the agricultural revolution. In this Health and Wellness Show we discuss the topics of flossing, mercury amalgams, fluoride, root canals and more. We also share natural means and DIY methods to obtain a healthy mouth and keep your grill in tip-top shape.

Running Time: 01:18:53

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome to the Health & Wellness Show everybody. Today is Friday, August 12, 2016. My name is Jonathan. I'll be your host for today. Joining me in our virtual studio from all over the planet we have Doug, Tiffany and Elliot. Hey guys.

All: Hellos.

Jonathan: So today we are going to be talking about oral hygiene - minding your mouth and natural ways to keep your teeth clean, or I guess to keep them at all.

Tiffany: Keep them in your mouth.

Jonathan: Yes. If you've ever wondered if our modern methods of oral hygiene and dental care are causing us more harm than good, generally they are. Despite all the advancements in dental technology, teeth are actually getting worse generally. So we're going to talk about general care, natural ways that you can take care of your teeth, flossing, mercury amalgams, fluoride, root canals, the standard medical approaches as well. So we'll see if we can narrow down more natural ways to take care of your teeth so you don't have to visit the dentist as often, if ever hopefully.
Let's start off relating some experience with mercury fillings. I do and I have not yet had the chance to have them removed so it's a nagging thing in the back of my mind. It bugs me, every time I watch that documentary where they show the mercury vapours coming off I'm like "No!"

Tiffany: I don't have any.

Doug: I've never had any mercury fillings. I've never had any fillings at all actually.

Tiffany: Me neither.

Doug: I was fortunate in that my mom fed me right from a young age so I'm extremely fortunate in that respect. I don't have any cavities or anything like that. I haven't had any major oral issues. I had my wisdom teeth out at one point but other than that I'm pretty cool in my mouth.

Tiffany: I was lucky, not to say that my mother fed me right. I think I was just lucky and she didn't really take us to the dentist either.

Elliot: I have one but it's not an amalgam filling, it's one of the composite ones. It's made of white ceramic. I'm not sure that that's actually got in it.

Tiffany: BPA.

Elliot: Well yeah. I know it was lucky and my mom thought she was doing the best thing when I was younger because she didn't want me to have the mercury in the fillings. But as we'll probably get on to a little bit later, the porcelain ones aren't all that safe.

Jonathan: When was the last time you guys were to the dentist? I haven't been in years. I think it's been seven years, maybe longer.

Tiffany: Mine has been sporadic. I went sporadically as an adult once I got dental insurance and I did have braces as a teenager, but I don't think during that time at all I had my teeth cleaned. The last time I had my teeth cleaned was a few years ago and it doesn't seem to make any difference whether I get my teeth cleaned or not.

Doug: I'm more like Jonathan. I think it's close to 20 years at this point, maybe not quite that long, but I have not been to the dentist in ages. And I can't say my teeth are any worse off for it, at least from what I can see or feel.

Tiffany: I've seen your teeth Doug. You've got nice teeth.

Elliot: Yeah, they're very good.

Tiffany: You have a nice smile on you.

Doug: I don't know. I guess we're probably going to get into this but I actually question how much a dentist is actually doing in a lot of cases. I don't have any cavities or anything like that so going and getting a thorough cleaning isn't necessarily a bad thing but I think my toothbrush probably does a pretty good job. I was going to a dentist fairly regularly when I had dental insurance but I haven't had dental insurance in ages so that's why I haven't gone.

Jonathan: That's the same for me too.

Tiffany: And if you think about it, how often did our ancestors go to the dentist? They didn't. And our distant ancestors didn't even brush their teeth and they had better teeth than we do, if you look back through Weston A. Price's photographs. He took all these pictures of people who still ate all their traditional foods, lived traditionally, and they have perfect alignment of their teeth. Then once they start eating Western diets, their teeth get all jacked up and they start getting cavities.

Doug: I think it's pretty obvious that the common conception of what causes tooth decay is pretty flawed. When you look at the work of Weston A. Price or even if you look further back with some of the anthropological studies where they've looked at remains from ancient peoples, they have these perfect teeth. Pre-agricultural societies have these perfect teeth and there's no evidence of toothbrushes or dental floss. They didn't have fluoridated water. All these things that are attributed to our wonderful modern dental health, they didn't have access to.

So it's almost like now they seem to promote the idea that as you age your teeth are just going to go bad. That's just the way it is. All you can really do is go to the dentist and try and put a band-aid on the problem. But realistically, if you really look at the evidence that's clearly not the answer. There's obviously more going on there.

Tiffany: Well that's what they say about everything; as you get old you're going to get senile, dementia, you're going to become rickety, you can't walk, you're going to get sicker and sicker and sicker until you die.

Doug: Yeah, looking back a few generations that obviously is not the case.

Jonathan: Yeah. I think your comment about the diet is a huge aspect of it, since the advent of the sugar industry and just general malnutrition. I know this is a no-brainer, that sugar is really easy to get. But before it was so widely distributed, it was three horses and your firstborn child. I'm just stating the obvious, that the prevalence of sugar alone would probably be enough to contribute to all the tooth decay but there's also malnutrition. People are not getting the proper nutrients that they need to build their bodies properly.

Doug: I think it comes down to the products of agriculture. Once we became more dependent on a grain-based diet or other agricultural products and started decreasing the amount of animal products we were eating, when you look on the timeline, that's exactly where you see - as you mentioned on last week's show, stunted growth - but also all these dental problems start to show up. Grains contain phytic acid and other anti-nutrients that end up binding up minerals, so it's no wonder that you start to see this evidence of degradation, be that oral health or your bones or your health in general.

So I think sugar is definitely a big contributor, no question, but I think it's even just being reliant on agricultural products.

Tiffany: Just carbs in general because there's a bacteria in your mouth called streptococcus mutans that actually lives on carbs, so the more carbs you eat the more that bacteria's going to proliferate and cause problems in your mouth. The more you get away from meat, which contains l-arginine, which actually helps stop the formation of cavities and dental plaque, so diet in general, like you said Doug. I guess a more low carb, ketogenic diet is better for not just your health in general but just for your mouth and your teeth.

Elliot: The bacteria that live in the mouth, as you just said, there are certain strains of the bacteria that do thrive off carbohydrates and sugars. One of the articles was talking about how the stickiness of the plaque on your teeth keeps the by-product of the bacteria on the teeth which is an acidic compound. What this gradually does is wear away at the enamel. If you ever see someone's teeth and it looks as if they're going see-through, mine are still actually like that. Mine started to turn like that when I was about 14 years old and still, right at the bottom of the teeth it's almost see-through. They say that's the complete wear down of the enamel on your teeth. Eventually that's how you do begin to get many of the dental problems. It's the wearing away of the first defences of the teeth which allow these bacteria to thrive and then get into the teeth and cause cavities.

Doug: Well the whole l-arginine connection is an interesting one. It's an amino acid that is found almost exclusively in meat products and dairy as well and it's very interesting because it actually helps to break up biofilms that form on the teeth. So, a biofilm is a film of bacteria. There can be beneficial biofilms but in a lot of cases they're actually negative and that plaque that your dentist scrapes off with a hook is actually a build-up of that biofilm and all of its by-products that the bacteria give off. The arginine is actually able to break that down. It's interesting that all these vegan health people out there talk about how meat eaters' teeth are going to rot, but really it seems like it's the other way around.

Jonathan: The arginine thing is interesting to me too because when I had shingles I did a lot of research on arginine and lysine because viruses, like the virus that causes shingles actually feed on arginine and when you take lysine it cuts off their ability to feed on that. I had to cut out all food items for a while that contained arginine and in my research at that time it was not meat. It was nuts, carbs, coffee, chocolate, things like that, that are higher in arginine than meat is. But that was just my own research at the time and I did not do any connections to dental health so I'd be curious. I think it probably has to do with a balance, as with anything I suppose, striking a balance between all the amino acids so that they can work together.

Elliot: Jonathan, does that mean that we can eat lots of chocolate and drink lots of coffee and that'll somehow be good for our teeth?

Jonathan: Exactly. That is exactly what I'm saying.

Doug: Well oddly enough, I remember reading a health guru guy who was very into super foods and one thing that he said is that chocolate, the actual cacao, is really good for your teeth. I wonder if that was the connection there, that it contains a high amount of arginine. He even had a homemade toothpaste recipe that actually included cacao in it. I even tried it for a little while. It was pretty tasty.

Tiffany: That's a toothpaste you want to swallow.

Doug: No kidding, right!

Jonathan: I just have a picture of brushing your teeth with chocolate and then having chocolate mouth.

Doug: Chocolate mouth is a healthy mouth.

Tiffany: Well one thing that really surprised me when I was researching for the show was this article on SOTT about how the benefits of flossing have never been proven. It's been recommended since 1979 but I think there were floss manufacturers before that time; at least the ADA started recommending flossing in 1979. Some reporters from the Associated Press asked the Department of Health and Human Services for some evidence of why they keep recommending flossing and this year when they released the guidelines, the flossing recommendation wasn't in there. It turns out that there's all these studies but they're so-called weak and unreliable and don't even really show that flossing is effective. The studies didn't last long enough. They used too few subjects. They only used one single episode of flossing and they tried to say "Flossing is great. You should do it." But it actually is meaningless apparently. But then again, flossing is a $2 billion industry so there's your answer.

Elliot: That actually really surprised me though because I'd imagine if you get food caught in between your teeth and that stays there for a prolonged period of time, I would imagine it would have some sort of effect on the integrity of the tooth.

Tiffany: I'm going to draw a line between getting food particles from between your teeth like you would with a toothpick and just flossing for oral hygiene purposes. I totally advocate getting particles from between your teeth if it's food but daily flossing twice a day maybe, they say it has no advantage.

Doug: I'm actually pretty excited by this study because I am a sporadic flosser at best. I've always been somebody who goes in waves with it. Once in a while I'll go on a flossing kick and I'm doing it regularly and then other times I just forget about it and don't bother unless I've got something stuck in my teeth. I don't know that that's necessarily conclusive although interestingly the author Kay Shanahan who wrote Deep Nutrition wrote an article saying that not only that flossing doesn't necessarily do any good but that it's actually not good for you. What she was saying is that what you're doing when you're flossing is pushing bacterial components down to the gum line where the gum is quite weak and they can get absorbed quite easily, especially if there's any small amount of bleeding and even if you don't see bleeding there might be miniscule amounts of this. So, she was not an advocate of flossing. I always thought that was interesting.

Tiffany: Well even though I found the study interesting. If you've ever flossed and you've gotten all this gunk from between your teeth, it does feel very refreshing to know that that stuff is not in your mouth anymore. So maybe it doesn't do anything to stop you from getting gum disease, but I think it just helps your peace of mind maybe. But I'm not a big flosser either. I'll do it like you, Doug. I'll just do it every once in a while, when it crosses my mind. But I do use toothpicks.

Doug: I sometimes do as well. Again, it's usually if I think of it which usually means there's something stuck in my teeth.

Jonathan: I think the connection with disease is an interesting one too, if you want to talk about that for a little bit. There's an article on SOTT "Good Dental Hygiene May Help Prevent Heart Infections". I thought an interesting quote was "...the incidence of bacteraemia from brushing was closer to an extraction than expected. This suggests that bacteria get into the bloodstream hundreds of times a year, not only from tooth brushing, but also from other routine daily activities like chewing food." If you're not keeping your mouth clean - not standard dental care, this is day-to-day keeping your mouth clean, you can have a higher risk of disease because the bacteria can get into your bloodstream and cause infections.
So again, I think we come back to the diet and nutrition here because the best way to keep your mouth clean is to not eat things that promote the growth of the bad bacteria in your mouth.

Doug: It is an interesting connection. A lot of people have written about the connection between oral health and overall body health. A lot of times people are suffering from unknown infections and that can end up having a really detrimental effect on your health in general. A lot of times they can't really determine what is causing it but a lot of times it is some oral infection. It might be a low-grade infection that you don't even know is there and that can lead to things like heart problems but also other organs can be affected as well.

Elliot: Yes, because the mouth is also very close to the brain. I'm sure there have been some links between different types of infections in the brain like types of encephalitis that have been linked with procedures such as root canals where they say the bacteria manages to get into the blood stream in the mouth and then travel directly to the brain. That's quite startling and something I don't think a dentist will likely tell you about if you go to ask him.

Doug: They probably don't even know. It's indicative of how medicine is practiced these days, that each system is looked at as something completely different, almost like it's a closed system and doesn't affect anything else. You could probably ask 100 dentists if there's any connection between heart attacks and oral health and I imagine 99 of them wouldn't be aware of any connection.

Tiffany: Well sometimes if you go to a dentist and you're going to have some procedure they'll give you antibiotics. They'll tell you to take antibiotics for a week before your procedure and then come in because I think they're aware of bacteraemia. If I'm not mistaken, one dentist I went to did talk about heart infections, but no one ever mentioned encephalitis to me or any kind of blood brain barrier issue. But they also promoted mercury fillings too.

Jonathan: Speaking of the mercury fillings, I'm trying to remember the name of that documentary. I'm sure that you guys have seen it. It's The Beautiful Truth about the Gerson protocol and cancer quackery, where the father and son travel the country looking into the Gerson therapy for cancer. The whole documentary turned into a thing about general holistic health and there was a scene where they went to a naturopath dentist who was talking about mercury fillings. They had a filter that showed the mercury vapour and they showed a tooth with a mercury filling; he was scrubbing it with a toothbrush and it looked like there was smoke coming off of the tooth. He said that was mercury vapours and it happens every time you brush your teeth when you have these fillings. So, for somebody with even a mild case of OCD that can be really bothersome.

Tiffany: It sounds like you're a little bit worried about that.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Elliot: I was recently reading a study and it was done on MRI scans and it was showing how people with mercury fillings, the radiation that they're subjected to when they go for an MRI scan actually almost energizes the mercury within the filling and it causes a similar problem Jonathan, as when you brush it. What they speculated was whether cell phone radiation would also do the same. There have been a number of studies showing that EMF does trigger this enormous release of mercury vapour from the fillings. I just thought that was another interesting fact.

Doug: So not only is the EMF in and of itself damaging but people have to worry about whether their fillings are actually leaking because of it too.

Tiffany: Well the FDA says it's okay because the mercury that's in your average filling is too low an amount to cause any harm, but there's been studies that show that the vapour that's released from the fillings is associated with brain and kidney disorders. And when you compare it to other composite fillings - not that they're 100% safe but mercury is definitely worse - it's much more expensive. You have to count the cost of the damage to the environment, your dentist having to clean it up, all the precautions you have to take if you want to get it taken out and then all the exposure. If you get a mercury filling when you're a kid there's no way that you would probably link any kind of medical problem that you had as an adult all the way back to your childhood of having mercury implanted into your teeth, and then all the mercury in the waste water.

So, it's bad. It's not just the danger of having it in your mouth. It's all this other extraneous stuff that makes mercury fillings really not something that anybody should ever, ever get.

Jonathan: Okay, I'm just going to go ahead and go into the fetal position in the corner. I'll be back at the end of the show.

Tiffany: Well I read that if you combine all of the mercury fillings in every American and European you get more than 1,000 tons.

Doug: Yeah, which is more than the amount of mercury that's in circulation now or in other products as well. I remember reading one time - and I don't remember the source so take this with a grain of salt but apparently, the dental industry has some of the highest suicide rates or at least did when mercury fillings were more common.

Jonathan: I've heard that too.

Doug: And they were attributing it to their mercury exposure. Because the fact of the matter is, probably in the back of your mind if you've totally accepted the idea that mercury fillings are harmless, you're probably not taking a lot of precautions with putting them in, taking them out, the handling of it. So, their exposure is probably quite high. One of the side-effects of mercury toxicity is suicidal thoughts. So, connect the dots there.

Jonathan: That's where the phrase "mad hatter" comes from because hat makers back in the day used mercury to set the form of the hat. Was that it?

Doug: Yeah, I think so. They were getting exposed all the time.

Tiffany: If you want to get your fillings removed you have to take very, very special precautions and go to a special dentist, not just some dude down the street who says he can take them out. There are a lot of steps you have to take to protect yourself, protect the staff in the dental office, dispose of it properly and detox afterwards.

Doug: The best thing to do is to get a vitamin C drip while you're getting it done because any that does manage to get through then can be detoxed. Having some kind of dam that blocks you accidentally swallowing it as it's being removed is important as well.

Elliot: There's also another factor that I don't think many people are aware of and there are a few people that are talking about this now; the type of light that is used to look in your mouth when they have the mercury filling removed because apparently when blue artificial light is used, that actually reacts with the mercury vapour and makes it - some crazy statistic - like a thousand times more absorbable by your gums.

There's a number of people who are stressing that if you do get your mercury fillings removed make sure you do it under a red bulb. It's pretty crazy and I don't think a lot of people actually know about that, but that's something that you want to consider as well if possible.

Doug: Jeez! Finding a holistic dentist who actually does safe amalgam removal is difficult enough but finding one who uses red light, good luck! Maybe you would be better off with the guy down the street you were talking about there Tiffany.

Doug: It's like "Here, use this bulb instead."

Tiffany: But the bad news is the other composites they use to fill your teeth have BPA in them and there's an article on SOTT saying that the BPA is no better than mercury because it leads to learning impairment and behaviour issues. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and it's toxic to DNA. You can't go back in time or anything, but you might not want to get your teeth drilled into and filled up with something that doesn't belong there.

Doug: Well that's the question, right? When I was researching about amalgams I thought okay, the mercury amalgams are clearly bad so I automatically thought porcelain or some other composite would be better. Then reading this article where it says "Oh by the way, there's BPA in this and the hormone disruption that we know about BPA, that's not the worst of it. It actually crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes all kinds of psycho-social problems in kids and damages DNA."

So, is there such a thing as an alternative? Honestly? I think what it really comes down to is you have to start questioning the whole drill-it-and-fill-it mentality that exists out there. You can get me started here about how dental science doesn't seem to have made a whole lot of progress in the how many hundreds of years it's been around. People are still doing the same thing, like putting mercury in people's mouths? That's so 100 years ago! Let's catch up here! Man!

Elliot: The interesting thing about that study on the alternative dental composites, is that they actually showed that in some cases the non-mercury fillings were actually worse. They caused more problem behaviours and problems with neurological development. The way that I see it is that BPA is a manmade chemical. BPA is bisphenol A and if you don't know what it does, it's a good idea to go and research what it does because this stuff is really, really toxic. I'm tending toward thinking, okay, mercury is a natural substance that the body can detoxify, but I don't know if you can actually detox BPA very well. So, if you do have to get a filling, I really don't know which one would be best.

Doug: I would say neither.

Elliot: Just knock my tooth out.

Doug: Yeah, seriously. Honestly, that's not a choice. Do you want bullet number one or bullet number two? Honestly, it's not a choice that should be made in that respect. So maybe it would be a good time to go into what are some alternatives. So, you go to the dentist, he says you've got a cavity. He gets the drill out and you're like "Wait! I want to go research this. I don't want to do this right now." What should people do?

Tiffany: Well first don't get drilled and filled because the actual act of drilling causes damage and once you get your teeth drilled and you get it filled with either mercury or composite you're basically just setting yourself up as a lifelong patient of your dentist or some other dentist because it damages the tooth. It causes more cracks so you're eventually going to have to get those filled down the line anyway. But there are natural ways to get rid of cavities that of course your dentist is not going to tell you about.

The first major one is xylitol. We've been experimenting with xylitol as a sweetener in bulletproof coffee or whatever and some paleo-friendly baked goods. But you can actually chew xylitol gum or brush your teeth with xylitol. Not only does it help heal cavities, it helps heal gum disease too. This morning was the very first time that I just brushed my teeth with straight up xylitol. I just took half a teaspoon, put it in my mouth, let it mix in with the saliva and brushed my teeth for about three minutes or so. My teeth feel super, super clean, like the cleanest they've felt in a long, long time! I'm not a big fan of toothpaste. Sometimes I'll brush my teeth with water. Before I used a powder. Some people make their own powders and they put salt or baking soda in there. I think that's a little bit too abrasive. But once the xylitol melted down it was very soothing and then my teeth felt really clean. They say don't rinse your mouth out afterwards. You can brush your tongue with it too and it cleans the white stuff off of your tongue. Yeah, xylitol helps cavities. There have been studies on it.

Doug: I think that comes down to the fact that xylitol actually breaks up biofilms like we were saying about the arginine. Xylitol is a natural biofilm breaker-downer. That's the technical term, breaker-downer. I think when you are faced with this problem of cavities what you really have to look at is the bacterial balance in the mouth as well as the overall holistic health of the entire person. So, it really does come down to the diet and what you're eating, what you're feeding your bacteria. Obviously, there are other things too.

Weston A. Price who was a dentist in the early part of the 1900s - we mentioned him earlier talking about how he studied all these different populations and looked at their dental health and compared that to the diet that they were eating. He looked at the different dietary components and the things that were missing from the Western diet that were leading to poor oral health. The major items were fat soluble vitamins; vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K. Those are all extremely important for overall health but also for dental health and bone health. Teeth are just bones, right, so the state of your teeth is pretty reflective of the state of your bones as well, so going on an animal food-heavy diet and particularly a fat-heavy diet so that you're getting all of those fat-soluble nutrients. I know there are a lot of different protocols out there that talk about healing cavities and one of the things they recommend is a fermented fish oil or any sort of traditionally fermented fish oil because that contains all the naturally occurring fat soluble vitamins.

A lot of the fish oils on the market get purified before they're bottled or put into pills, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's good to know that you're not getting any kind of toxicity in it, but that also gets rid all those naturally occurring vitamins that you need. So, they talk about using that as a component in a protocol for human cavities.

Tiffany: Yeah. As with all things, start with diet. Your mouth is not separate from the rest of your body. It's just the beginning of your GI tract.

Doug: Yeah, exactly. And avoid grains too because grains and legumes, as I mentioned before, contain phytic acid and those things will strip minerals from your body and lo and behold, your teeth are made from minerals. So, if a component of your diet is pulling those essential minerals out then you can bet that you're going to be suffering in some way and your teeth are probably one of the first places that you're going to start to see that.

Elliot: And sugars.

Elliot: Sugar is extremely acidic so it decalcifies and demineralises the structural content of the teeth and that includes fruit, especially citrus fruits, oranges. Take it easy on the lemons and the limes because that can really have a bad effect on your teeth. I remember when I was younger I used to go through 12 clementines or satsumas, the small oranges. I used to do that every single day and I'd be too tired at night time to brush my teeth afterwards or if I did brush my teeth, I'd have all this acid in my mouth and I felt like I was completely scrubbing away all of the enamel when I did brush my teeth. I'd wake up in the morning and have this nasty, plaquey not very nice feeling on my teeth. I think that's very common for people who do eat a lot of citrus fruits; their teeth really take a beating.

Doug: I think, like we were saying, the bacterial balance of the mouth too is important because sugar feeds those bad bacteria and they give off acidic wastes and then because they're part of a biofilm that is in contact with your teeth constantly, that remains in contact with your teeth. That's another aspect of it for sure.

Actually, we've got a comment in the chat room. One person is saying "I've noticed that vitamin C makes my gums stronger". That's true actually. Vitamin C and vitamin C-like compounds called bioflavonoids are very good for your vascular system. Part of the problem with gums is that the strength of the veins in the gums can be affected by the general state of nutrition so taking vitamin C, taking bioflavonoids can be very, very good for the gums as well as the rest of the vascular system.

Tiffany: Yeah, it can help your teeth sit more firmly in your gums.

Doug: There was another mention of bone broth. Bone broth would be an excellent thing to add to a protocol if you're trying to heal cavities. It's an excellent thing to add anyway just because it is so rich in minerals. That's really good for the gums too because it's got a lot of glycine in it and glycine is very good for all your connective tissue so lots of good stuff in bone broth.

Tiffany: Another thing that's good for gums, if you have an infected gum is white oak bark powder. It's not white actually, it's kind of brownish and you take some and back it into the infected area of your gum and you can leave it there overnight. It has calcium in it and it strengthens the periodontal fibres in your gums and it helps your gum stick to your teeth better. There was a dentist I was reading online and he said he tried it for a month and he noticed that his patients' gums became stronger.

Doug: Wow. That's pretty cool.

Jonathan: There's also comfrey, not necessarily for gum disease but for teeth. It can actually re-grow bone.

Doug: Jonathan, didn't you say you were doing a swish with it at one point?

Jonathan: Yeah, I would pack it in, chew for 20 minutes to a half hour at a time and it was one of those things - and I fully admit a lot of times I do things that are really good for me and then I just forget or they drop off. And I'm like "Dude, that worked and I haven't done it in a year!" But that was one of those stupid things. It actually worked. I could tell that it was starting to help my teeth. I know from reading anecdotes about comfrey, it's actually in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the fastest agent for bone healing. It's strange that they would have an entry for that, but there was a nurse whose son broke his arm clean through, went to the hospital and she wrapped it in comfrey, gave him comfrey tea and then continued to do that for five days and it healed within five days all the way through.

Jonathan: It was completely back to normal.

Doug: Five days!

Jonathan: Five days, yeah.

Doug: That's amazing.

Jonathan: You're basically on a 100% comfrey diet during that time but I know that it helps bone so it would be good for anybody who has tooth decay. I don't know if it would specifically help gum disease per se, but with the tooth it can help. And then there's oil pulling. I don't know if you guys have ever done that, with coconut oil.

Tiffany: Yeah, I've tried that before. I don't know if I tried it for long enough to notice any real difference.

Jonathan: I think you have to do it for a while.

Doug: It's weird. You take a big spoonful of coconut oil, you put it in and start swishing it and they tell you to do it for 20 minutes which is a little inconvenient. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on it or anything because it is actually supposed to be a very good thing to do for oral health. But I found that I just got to the point where I didn't really want to do it anymore because the 20 minutes was just too long. Maybe I'm just being silly.

Tiffany: Yeah, that was a long time. I've done it for 15 minutes sometimes but you have to be careful with how much vigour you're swishing this around with because some people, like me, might get a little bit too forceful with the swishing, so if you just tone it down a little bit your jaws and your mouth won't get tired and maybe you can do it for a little longer. But from what I've read it's a really good tooth whitener, if you want to get tobacco stains and that off your teeth.

Doug: That's funny. I didn't know it was a whitener. When I first encountered oil pulling it just seemed like one of those things where it was listed as a panacea for every ailment you've ever had. It's going to cure your cancer. It's going to cure your arthritis, detox all these heavy metals. It was these completely outrageous claims so the first time I encountered it I thought that sounds like a bunch of BS, but then I started reading more reasonable reports just talking about oral health and I thought 'that's a little bit more reasonable. Maybe it actually does something.' Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties so I can see how it can help with infections in the mouth or restoring the bacterial balance of the mouth or like you're saying, whitening teeth. That makes sense to me. Curing cancer, maybe not.

Jonathan: I could see how coconut oil would remove plaque. I don't know if you guys have ever tried any other uses for coconut oil but my girlfriend uses it to take her makeup off and it works like a dream. Actually, a friend of mine and I at one time did a roofing project and removed roofing tar from his hands with coconut oil. It came right off.

Doug: Wow! No kidding!

Jonathan: Aside from the obvious anti-bacterial properties of coconut oil itself, coconut milk or pulp is actually very high in arginine. I remember that was one of the things I read when I had the shingles. I think most of that is extracted in the oil so the oil itself may not necessarily be high in arginine but coconut milk is.

Doug: So, you could do oil pulling with the milk.

Jonathan: Yeah. That might be the thing. I think the oil itself is high capric and lauric acid if I remember correctly and I think those are the two things that do a lot of the cleaning that coconut oil does.

Doug: And those are also the components that - once again - break up biofilms. Those are the medium chain triglycerides that you find in coconut oil, which might also be why it's good for oil pulling.

Tiffany: Traditionally, didn't they use a sesame oil and sunflower oil for the oil pulling?

Doug: Coconut oil's a relatively recent use I think. It's just because everybody's really hot on coconut oil right now because of all the health benefits that are coming out about it. But traditionally I think it comes from Ayurvedic medicine and they would use sesame or sunflower oil, something like that. You can always use other types of oils.

Tiffany: If you're sensitive to coconut you can use sesame.

Doug: So we had another article on SOTT that I thought was pretty interesting called Mouthwash Linked to Oral Cancer which was a big surprise for me and at the same time kind of not. In 2014 a study came out of the Glasgow Dental School. They looked at 1,900 cancer sufferers and 1,900 healthy people and they found that people who routinely used mouthwash were much more likely to have oral cancer than those who weren't. So, if you're using mouthwash as a way of foregoing brushing you might want to look again at that.

Tiffany: I read a while ago that most mouthwashes don't work anyway for what they're designed to do, which is to freshen your breath and clean your mouth. They work for 30 seconds and then after that your mouth is back to the state that it was before you used the mouthwash.

Doug: That gets into what causes bad breath in the first place. Most people seem to think it's something about the mouth itself. If you have some kind of altered bacterial balance in your mouth and it's causing some kind of stink, then it could certainly be an infection.

Tiffany: Or some old food stuck in your teeth.

Doug: Old food might do it too. But a lot of the times bad breath is actually coming from an overall imbalance of good bacteria in the whole system, including the stomach, including the digestive tract. That altered flora situation is actually what's causing it. So, you swish a little bit of minty stuff around your mouth, it's not going to do anything for the rest of the body that might be contributing to that bad breath.

Tiffany: I just consider that bad breath is fumes coming up from your gut.

Doug: That's how I think of it too. I'd say if you've got bad breath don't look for a cancer-causing mouthwash to solve your problems. You need to look at the bigger picture.

Tiffany: What are you eating and what are you not digesting properly?

Doug: Exactly. Those mouthwashes that are on the market are basically alcohol with flavouring in them so I can see how swishing with alcohol is really not going to be that effective and might actually cause some problems as far as oral cancer is concerned.

Elliot: Most of the ingredients on the back you can't even pronounce so I'm sure at least a few of them get absorbed directly into your gums and then circulate throughout the system so it's fairly understandable as to why it may be linked up with cancer.

Jonathan: I would go as far as to say that they all get absorbed. The fastest way to take in any agent through your mouth is sublingually. So, whatever you're swishing around, it's all getting in there.

Tiffany: It's true. One of the chatters asks about xylitol mouthwash. I would say that xylitol mouthwash is a good thing for all the reasons that xylitol toothpaste is a good thing.

Doug: I'd say make your own though because you don't know what kind of toxic substances are going to be in there.

Tiffany: Just get some xylitol and swish it around in your mouth.

Doug: Put some peppermint oil in there with it. Boom! Homemade mouthwash.

Tiffany: Another thing about xylitol from what I've read is that it makes your teeth less sensitive and it reduces plaque formation and tartar formation.

Doug: What's the difference between plaque and tartar?

Tiffany: I think plaque is when it's still soft and tartar is when it hardens.

Jonathan: Tartar is the calcified result of that biofilm.

Tiffany: The calculus. So, has anybody had any root canals?

Jonathan: No, thank god!

Elliot: No.

Doug: Thank god no I haven't.

Tiffany: Because that's a bone of contention. Some people say that the root canals though not ideal, aren't going to make you drop dead and other people say don't get a root canal if you were paid to get one, that you shouldn't get one at any cost, like Dr. Mercola. But from what I've read it's pretty bad because it removes the live pulp from your tooth and they replace it with some kind of synthetic material so it'll stop your tooth from rotting away and you can keep your tooth in your mouth but it does so much internal damage. You have a dead tooth in your mouth and there's no blood flow through that tooth. There are all these tubules in your tooth and there's no flow through it so you get this stagnant bacteria that just festers then it leaks out into your blood stream and causes hidden inflammation. I think Dr. - what's the real famous doctor that did all the tooth studies we talked about?

Doug: Weston Price?

Tiffany: Weston A. Price, yes. He had a patient who had really, really bad arthritis and she'd had a root canal tooth so he took the tooth out and he did a really bad thing. He put it in a bunny and then the bunny got really bad arthritis and the bunny ended up dying.

Doug: And her arthritis cleared up.

Tiffany: Her arthritis cleared up. So, all the nerves inside this dead tooth that's in your mouth are dead and it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. But on the other hand, I've read that if you have a strong, healthy immune function, a little bit of bacteria getting into your system from a root canal tooth is not going to kill you. I'm just wondering what you guys think.

Doug: "Not going to kill you" doesn't exactly mean thriving.

Elliot: I kind of see where you're coming from there Tiff because ideally if the immune system is working properly then it should ideally be able to fight off any bacteria. The idea that it's not the germ, it's the environment. It's your bodily environment that determines whether or not you're going to get an illness. It's not any specific bacteria. I could see where you're coming from with that.

Doug: I would disagree, politely because the fact of the matter is your immune system has a limited capacity in what it can do. If you have a constant strain on your immune system from an infection that can't be dealt with by the body and that's constantly putting that burden on the immune system, then you're facing the day, every single day, at half your power. So I would say that just by having that stealth infection, even if your body is able to handle it, what else can it handle? Any additional burden that it comes under is going to be at half power. So I would say it's bad thing and I'd say avoid root canals at all costs.

Tiffany: I say do whatever you can to avoid having to have a root canal. If you can do some kind of natural things to get rid of the infection and you don't have to get the root canal, that would be great. But who am I to tell people what to do? I've never had a root canal.

Doug: I'm not telling people what to do.

Tiffany: Yeah, I know.

Doug: But I'm just saying one option is to just have the tooth removed. It's not an attractive option of course because having a tooth removed is a bad thing. One thing that has progressed a lot in the last 100 years or so is dentures so maybe that would be a possible solution.

Tiffany: You can get a partial or you can get a bridge. They have implants now which sound pretty scary.

Doug: Yeah, maybe not also slamming implants but who knows, right?

Elliot: Let's just hope they don't contain any BPA.

Tiffany: Maybe you can get an implant donation like somebody, like somebody can donate their tooth to you. And then you'd have to worry about rejecting someone's tooth.

Doug: Or maybe if somebody loses a tooth they can put it on ice and keep it alive and then insert that tooth in, you'll have at least a living tooth there. I don't know if anyone would accept the transplant.

Tiffany: That's probably why that rabbit died in the experiment, not because the tooth had disease in it, but because it was some human's tooth in the rabbit and it shouldn't have been there.

Doug: You think? Yeah, because he just put it under the skin. It's not like he put it in its mouth. He just inserted it under the skin. It shouldn't have been there.

Jonathan: I'm glad that you brought up the bridge thing. I was going to ask what you guys think about that because I have a relative who has some bridges and they seem to work. It seems to be okay. I would think too at a certain point, as opposed to just mashing things in there and trying to fill in the dead tissue, just get it out. Just yank the whole thing out. You might be waiting a month, two months, for the new equipment, but it's much better in the long run.

Doug: I would think so.

Jonathan: Is it a good time to go to the pet health segment?

Tiffany: We didn't talk about fluoride. Does anybody have fluorosis?

Doug: Does anybody have it, did you say?

Tiffany: Yeah.

Doug: I don't thankfully.

Jonathan: I don't think I have fluorosis.

Elliot: I think I might have it.

Doug: Fluorosis is a discolouration of the teeth that comes from chronic fluoride exposure, like a speckling. You sometimes see kids and their teeth have a speckled quality to them. Parts of them are whiter than other parts. And that's called fluorosis and it's from chronic fluoride exposure.

Elliot: Yeah, I have that. The white speckles on my teeth. The small village where I grew up was heavily fluoridated. Not many places in England are fluoridated but this was unfortunately. I noticed a few years ago and I think it's safe to say I've probably got fluorosis. That's not very good.

Jonathan: I wonder how long that lasts because I spent many, many years of my life drinking tap water. I'm curious because I have a little bit of that speckling, not a ton. But I'm wondering, is it something that you just get and you can't get rid of or can you reverse it?

Tiffany: I don't know. Maybe if you're able to remineralize your teeth using all the means that we talked about, like the broths and oil pulling or using xylitol or things like that, maybe you can get rid of some of those white spots, but I'm not sure. I haven't seen many studies showing after.

Doug: My understanding is it's permanent but who knows? Mainstream science may have tried all kinds of chemical means of getting rid of it but never actually looked at diet or anything like that, so who knows?

Jonathan: Doug, you are determined to give me a panic attack today!

Doug: Sorry man. I'm the bringer of bad news today I guess.

Elliot: We have to remember that the tooth is not some static organ. It's fluid, it's constantly regenerating and constantly building and remoulding and then breaking down. It's very much like bone and so I would imagine that it probably is possible to reverse it. I kind of hope you can reverse it because I don't particularly like having speckled teeth. But what that signifies is something a lot worse - that there's a lot of fluoride in the body. One of the chatters mentioned on the chat - asked the question whether iodine can pull fluoride from the teeth. I haven't seen any studies on that but I would imagine that it would be possible because fluoride is part of the halogen family and iodine is also a halogen but iodine displaces halogens from the body and excretes them by the urine and excrement so I would imagine that that may be possible.

Doug: Maybe doing a diluted iodine swish in the mouth might actually work. That's a good idea.

Tiffany: Well if anybody decides that they still want to go to the dentist after listening to this show, at least refuse the fluoride treatments that they offer you after they clean your teeth.

Doug: Fluoride is a pretty nasty element. It is completely non-essential to the functioning of the human body but at some point, science in all its wisdom decided that it was really, really good for teeth so that meant that the fertilizer industry, the aluminium industry and the nuclear industry - probably other ones too - suddenly had a way of disposing of all their extra fluoride that was a by-product of the industries. So, they started packaging it up as sodium fluoride and selling it to municipalities to put into their water supply and providing it to dentists to do topical applications and sending it to toothpaste companies to put into their toothpaste. It's a big, controversial issue.

Tiffany: And they're putting it in Prozac too.

Doug: Oh, and in Prozac and there are antibiotics out there that use it as well. And it is nasty stuff. Fluoride is incredibly toxic although in the mainstream they would never admit to that. There are links to cancer and it actually leads to lowered IQ. They've actually done studies where they've shown that people who have fluoride exposure are actually lowering their IQ. Think about that the next time you go to the dentist.

Tiffany: But they love us! They all want us to have nice pearly-white smiles.

Elliot: Another interesting thing about fluoride - and it's possibly the most sinister aspect of fluoride - is that it's a dielectric blocker. Now if anyone's familiar with the work of Gerald Pollock and the work he does on water, he talks about how water in the body is very different from water in your glass and that water has the ability to charge separate which means that it can transmit an electrical current essentially. It stores electrical energy. Fluoride actually blocks water's ability to conduct that electricity. Fluoride is very, very, very toxic and it's best to do all that you can to stay clear away from it.

Doug: Yeah, try and stay away from it. We've also talked in the past about iodine. We did a show on iodine with the author Lynne Farrow talking all about it. So there are ways of actually getting it out of your body if you have been exposed to a lot of it. And I think most of us have, either through the dentist, through fluoride toothpaste or from the water supply, depending on where you are. Iodine can be used to get fluoride out of the body. Of course, you have to be very careful with it. You don't want to go too fast, too strong with it because it packs a big punch. I think taking steps to get fluoride out of the body as well as eliminating any exposure that you have now are two good steps to take.

Tiffany: So now we can go to the pet health segment.

Jonathan: Now we've done it! We've got a lot of good tips here I think today so let's do that and then we'll wrap up when we come back.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness show. My name is Zoya and today I'm going to talk about dental health of your pets. Dental disease is one of the most common reasons that your dog and cat may require costly surgical and medical treatment. The increased popularity of carbohydrate-rich processed pet foods in place of a balanced fresh meat diet supplemented with bones can result in the accumulation of significant levels of plaque on the surface of your pets' teeth which in term calcifies to become tartar.

The tartar contains literally billions of bacterial colonies that invade the gums causing painful gingivitis and will ultimately erode the tooth root attachment resulting in damage and tooth loss. Rotten teeth and gums are a modern disease caused by inappropriate diets and the effects include pain, infection, immune suppression, kidney, liver and heart disease, just to name a few.

So what can you do to help reduce the risk of dental disease in your dog or cat? First of all, you need to feed your pet a balanced, fresh meat diet. Many pet owners mistakenly believe that feeding dry food actually prevents dental disease but the truth is quite the opposite. Are your teeth clean after eating a biscuit? A natural raw food diet based on fresh meat and raw bones will naturally maintain your pet's teeth and gums by creating correctly balanced saliva and general environment that naturally cleans and helps to prevent plaque formation.

Bones are nature's toothbrush. Raw bones play an integral role in dental hygiene for dogs and cats. The process of macerating the meat and bones actually massages the animal's teeth and gums to clean away any food residue or tartar development. This prevents plaque formation, bad breath, dental cavities, gingivitis and extensive veterinary teeth scaling and extractions. A good supply of calcium and other nutrients during the early growth stages of puppies and kittens will also help to ensure strong, healthy teeth. Feeding a raw food diet ensures natural, normal acidity levels in the gut that naturally breaks down bones. A balanced fresh meat diet creates the right acidity levels in the gut to help pets digest bones where many on-the-shelf products don't.

Another thing you can do is check your pet's mouth on a regular basis. Gently lift the flaps of your dog's or cat's gums and have a quick look at the teeth you can see there. Pay attention to the colour of the gums, any developing lumps, signs of broken, chipped teeth and areas that seem or look painful. Also ask your vet to perform an oral exam during regular checkups so they can alert you to any existing or potential problems.

And another thing you need to remember is that bad breath is a precursor to other issues. Do not ignore bad breath in your companions. Usually bad breath either in cats or dogs, with a repulsive odour can be a sign of a serious health issue that has the potential to be damaging far beyond the pet's teeth, gums and mouth. Internal organs can be at risk if the bloodstream becomes compromised with bacteria from a dental problem.
Looking at your pet's health holistically instead of a single current issue may save him or her from unnecessary pain and even death.

Coming back to what you can do to prevent teeth problems, cleaning your pet's teeth at home daily with a natural pet-safe or homemade toothpaste is an excellent way to keep a healthy pet mouth. But please note, never use a toothpaste formulated for humans. Feedings dogs fresh vegetables and herbs like carrots, cucumber, celery, cilantro and parsley are fantastic to give natural ways to clean teeth, stimulate gums and freshen breath.

Even though a cat's diet primarily requires animal protein, they sometimes do crave tasty veggies which are great for their overall oral health. Cat-safe vegetables in small portions include broccoli, green beans and cooked carrots. Bad breath odour in dogs can be reduced or even eliminated by adding a couple of spoonfuls of organic virgin coconut oil to their food which is also good for healthy coat and skin and helps with digestion. How exactly? The lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that attack bad breath and gum disease-causing bacteria.

Well this is it for today. I hope the information was useful. Have a great weekend and good-bye.

Jonathan: Alright, thanks Zoya. Those goats sound like they have healthy teeth.

Tiffany: And nice fresh smelling breath.

Jonathan: I apologize, I have been stupidly busy lately and do not have a recipe for today.

Doug: Tiff has one.

Tiffany: Yes, I mentioned it earlier. It's just xylitol toothpaste. Take a half teaspoon of xylitol, put it in your mouth, let it dissolve with your saliva, brush your teeth for a few minutes and brush your tongue. Spit it out but don't rinse. Depending on if you think you have cavities, you can do this about three times a day. You can also use a larger amount if you have some kind of periodontal or gum disease issue. Do that three to four times a day for about three to five minutes each time and try it for one to two months and see what happens.

Jonathan: And you don't mix it with anything else?

Tiffany: Not according to this recipe, no.

Jonathan: Okay. And is that abrasive too? Do you use rough grain xylitol?

Tiffany: No because it's going to melt in your mouth and just become a liquid anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Doug: They say that using baking soda and salt can actually be too abrasive and can damage the enamel. They say you should only do that once in a while as a heavy-duty cleaning but not something to do daily. But I wonder if you could mix cocoa powder with it, a chocolate flavour.

Tiffany: I've heard you can mix it with coconut oil if you want something to go with it, something a little oily.

Doug: And maybe some cocoa powder?

Tiffany: If you want to Doug.

Doug: I really want to brush my teeth with cocoa powder.

Jonathan: Doug, just go right to cacao nibs.

Doug: So, I've got an abrasive as well.

Jonathan: Thanks, Tiff, I'll have to give that a shot. I've been doing the salt and baking soda toothpaste for quite a while but I wasn't aware that that could actually damage your enamel.

Tiffany: Yeah that starts to annoy my mouth after a while.

Doug: You've learned so much today Jonathan.

Jonathan: I know! I'm feeling good. I'm not panicking. I'm sitting up. I'm not in a fetal position on the floor so that's awesome. I think we had a good show today so thanks everybody for participating in the chat and for listening. Be sure to check out the SOTT radio show on Sunday at noon eastern time and if you are not in the eastern time zone in the US as many people are not go to Radio.SOTT.net on Sunday and the time will be displayed there in your local time zone so it will tell you when the show goes on the air.
And that's all. We'll be back next week. So thanks again everybody.

All: Good-byes.