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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine August 2003

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The Dangers of Poor Dental Hygiene
By Angela Pirisi

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What makes Dr. Poster's toothpaste unique is a combination of active ingredients that can help promote oral health, and whose benefits are supported by science and experience. These include coenzyme Q10, lactoferrin, squalene, xylitol, folic acid, hydrogen peroxide and tea tree oil. "These active ingredients fight plaque and ginigivitis by naturally inhibiting harmful bacterial growth and attachment to teeth and gums," says Dr. Poster. Generally, they work in one of two ways, respectively, by either directly killing plaque and decay-causing bacteria, or by preventing the adhesion of bacteria to teeth and gums so that it can't thrive. Besides the beneficial results on dental health, another distressful oral condition, halitosis is also inhibited. Halitosis or bad breath is often caused by the growth of certain bacteria in the oral cavity. Dr. Poster's novel toothpaste formula inhibits these bacteria also.

Coenzyme Q10 has been studied for decades with regards to helping periodontal disease, while its far-reaching general health benefits are well established. Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring compound that is vital to the energy-producing cores of all the body's cells, namely the mitochondria, as well as acting as an antioxidant. Some eye-opening, positive results were reported from an earlier study, showing that treating gums with 50 mg of coenzyme Q10 topically for six weeks decreased the periodontal pocket depth and helped healing of the gums. The results were so dramatic that the researchers had difficulty locating the disease-affected gums after treatment.9

Hydrogen peroxide has long been recognized by dentists as an effective mouthwash that can find and kill bacteria hiding among gingival folds and gaps. By causing a frothing action, hydrogen peroxide exposes anaerobic-type bacteria, which thrive in an airtight environment, to oxygen-rich air in the form of bubbles.

Xylitol, a popular sweetener used in many foods and oral hygiene products, has been shown to reduce tooth decay in numerous clinical studies worldwide. A review of 14 studies weighing the effects of sugar substitutes, xylitol and sorbitol, on tooth decay found a "consistent decrease in dental caries, ranging from 30% to 60%, among subjects using sugar substitutes as compared to subjects in a control group." The highest reduction in cavities was seen with regards to xylitol use in particular.10 Likewise, a five-year follow-up study by Finnish researchers found that regular xylitol consumption (candy was used) resulted in a "highly significant" reduction of cavities of 35% to 60% at the three-year mark, compared with the control groups. The study looked at xylitol consumption in 740 Estonian 10-year-old schoolchildren who were given xylitol-sweetened candy three times a day, amounting to 5 g per day, excluding weekends and summer holidays.11

It's been known for a while that topically applied folic acid is effective in treating gingivitis. Studies indicate that folic acid can aptly battle gingivitis and the accompanying inflammation, and helps to fortify gums, making them more resilient and disease-resistant. As one study showed, and many others like it, four weeks of rinsing with a folic acid mouthwash twice daily (5 ml) significantly improved gingivitis symptoms.12

Meanwhile, squalene is a beneficial lipid extracted from shark liver oil, reputed for its potent antioxidant properties, and tea tree oil and lactoferrin (a milk protein) are both effective antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents. Tea tree oil boasts antiseptic and healing properties. Lactoferrin is known as an immune booster and has been said to interfere with the adhesion of bacteria to gum tissue.

The Ultimate Toothpaste

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Unlike many commercial toothpaste formulas that are generally packed with ingredients that may harm both our oral and whole body health, Dr. Poster's toothpaste does not contain artificial sweeteners and colors or fluoride. Sweeteners, such as saccharin and aspartame, have been blacklisted by many natural health advocates.

Fluoride, although widely touted as a cavity fighter for decades, has been earning a spotty reputation, literally and figuratively. Growing evidence suggest that fluoride may even damage dental health. Researchers have also found a high incidence of fluorosis (white spots or blotches on teeth), in children overexposed to fluoride, which has also been linked to prenatal and early childhood exposure.13-14 Other studies have suggested that too much fluoride from various sources, such as drinking water, toothpaste (when swallowed), and food sources, can promote hypothyroidism (fluoride has been used as a treatment for an overactive thyroid),15 bone thinning from skeletal fluorosis causing hip fractures,16 and a depleted immune response (particularly white blood cells).17

If anything, though, these suspected and scientifically supported deleterious effects of certain widely used toothpaste ingredients do illustrate the point that what we put in our mouths can have a huge health impact, both on our oral and total health. As Dr. Poster expresses, "While plaque and tartar on teeth are cosmetically unattractive, gingivitis is a serious threat to health." Hence, it makes sense being armed to the teeth, so to speak, when safeguarding both. "On a daily basis," adds Dr. Poster, "you need to try avoiding bacteria-promoting food and drinks, and brush with the best formulated toothpaste available."


References

1. Nery EB, et al. Prevalence of medical problems in periodontal patients obtained from three different populations. J Periodontol 1987 Aug;58(8):564-8.

2. Genco R. Periodontal disease and risk for myocardial infarction and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular Reviews and Reports 1998;19(3):34-40.

3. Wu T, et al. Examination of the relation between periodontal health status and cardiovascular risk factors: serum total and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, C-reactive protein (CRP) and plasma fibrinogen. Am J Epidemiology 2000 Feb 1;151(3):272-82.

4. Mattila K, et al. Effect of treating periodontitis on C-reactive protein levels: a pilot study. BMC Infect Dis 2002 Dec 10;2(1):30.

5. Joshipura KJ, et al. Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and incidence of ischemic stroke. Stroke 2003 Jan;34(1):47-52.

6. Grossi, SG, Genco, RJ. Periodontal disease and diabetes mellitus: a two-way relationship. Ann Periodontol 1998 Jul;3(1):51-61.

7. S. Offenbacher et al., Maternal Periodontitis Impairs Fetal Growth. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Friday, 80th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, San Diego, March 6-9, 2002.

8. Geerts SO, et al. Systemic release of endotoxins induced by gentle mastication: association with periodontitis severity. J Periodontol 2002 Jan;73(1):73-8.

9. Wilkinson EG, et al. Bioenergetics in clinical medicine. II. Adjunctive treatment with coenzyme Q in periodontal therapy. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 1975 Sep;12(1):111-23.

10. Hayes C. The effect of non-cariogenic sweeteners on the prevention of dental caries: a review of the evidence. J Dent Educ 2001 Oct;65(10):1106-9.

11. Alanen P, et al. Xylitol candies in caries prevention: results of a field study in Estonian children. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2000 Jun;28(3):218-24.

12. Pack AR. Folate mouthwash: effects on established gingivitis in periodontal patients. J Clin Periodontol 1984;11:619-28.

13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Fluorides, Hydrogen Fluoride and Fluorine. U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Altanta, GA. 1993.

14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Health Issue Assessment: Summary Review of Health Effects Associated with Hydrogen Fluoride and Related Compounds. EPA/600/8-89/002F. Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, Office of Health and Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, Cincinnati, OH. 1989.

15. Galletti P, Joyet G. Effect of Fluorine on Thyroidal Iodine Metabolism in Hyperthyroidism. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. 1958;18:1102-1110. http://www.fluoridealert.org/galletti.htm.

16. Li Y, et al. (2001). Effect of long-term exposure to fluoride in drinking water on risks of bone fractures. J Bone Miner Res.16(5):932-9.

17. Curnette J, et al. Fluoride-mediated Activation of the Respiratory Burst in Human Neutrophils. J Clin Invest, 1979;63:637-647.


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