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    Original Content

    The Link Between Poor Oral Health and Cancer

    Remember when you were a kid (or maybe even an adult) and your dentist stressed the importance of regularly brushing and flossing?

    He wasn’t only concerned with helping you prevent cavities or bad breath. The truth is that neglecting your mouth can lead to a whole host of serious health problems – including cancer.

    Interestingly, researchers have also noticed that many patients undergoing cancer therapy develop some type of oral complications.

    What does all of this mean? In this post, we’ll delve into the link between cancer and oral health.

    The Risk of Cancer

    First of all, is this just another scare tactic? Doesn’t everything give you cancer these days?

    Actually, this is one risk that can be backed up by many scientific studies. Consider a few recent findings:

    •        At Harvard University, researchers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 64% higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than men with healthy teeth and gums.
    •        A study in the UK found that women with periodontal disease were three times as likely to develop esophageal cancer and twice as likely to develop gallbladder cancer.
    •        Another UK study found a 31% increased risk of lung cancer, a 23% increased risk of skin cancer, and a 13% increased risk of breast cancer in women with gum disease.
    •        A study at the University of Texas found that participants with poor oral health had a 56% higher risk of developing an oral HPV (human papillomavirus) infection than those who had good oral health. This virus has been linked to mouth and throat cancer.

    Clearly, the link between poor oral health and cancer exists. The question is: Why?

    Explaining the Link

    The short answer is that no one knows for certain why periodontal disease increases the risk of developing cancer.

    Scientists, though, have come up with a few interesting theories. The most popular one is that chronic inflammation in the gums triggers inflammation in other areas of the body – thus creating a perfect environment for cancer to grow.

    Other researchers are examining the bacteria associated with gum disease to see if it’s the trigger for certain types of cancer. This bacteria can travel to different parts of your body through your saliva. Since it comes in contact with your stomach and esophagus when you swallow, it increases the risk of developing cancer in these areas.

    Still, others look to the numerous things that gum disease releases into the mouth (and therefore body). These include inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, prostaglandins, and enzymes. All of these factors are associated with cancer development.

    With more research, scientists will likely find a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between oral health and cancer. In the meantime, your best bet is to minimize your risk of cancer by continuing with your good oral routine.

    There’s one more link we want to touch on before we go. What if you or someone you love has already developed cancer and is undergoing treatment right now?

    The Link Between Cancer Treatment and Oral Health

    We’re familiar with the more common side effects of cancer treatment, including hair loss and nausea.

    But did you know that more than one-third of cancer patients also develop serious complications in their mouth? These range from minor annoyances like dry mouth to potentially life-threatening oral infections.

    Not only can these complications affect the patient’s quality of life, but they can also interfere with the cancer treatments.

    The National Institute of Dental Research recommends these tips for keeping your mouth healthy during cancer treatments:

    •        Soak an extra-soft toothbrush in warm water before you brush.
    •        Brush and floss daily and gently.
    •        Avoid mouthwash with alcohol.
    •        Sip water throughout the day to avoid dry mouth.
    •        Avoid spicy, sour, crunchy, very hot, or very cold foods.
    •        If you vomit, rinse your mouth with warm water and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda (don’t swallow).
    •        Contact your doctor if you develop any sores, swelling, or bleeding inside your mouth.

    Final Thoughts

    More research is needed to determine the exact connection between oral health and cancer.

    In the meantime, there’s already plenty of evidence that it’s a risk everyone should take seriously.

    To minimize yours, continue brushing and flossing daily and scheduling regular visits with your dentist.

    51 Weird, Wacky and Wonderful Things You Never Knew About Teeth

    Think you know everything there is to know about teeth?

    Think again. In this post, we’ll reveal 51 interesting and bizarre facts related to teeth, dentistry, smiles, and…snails?

    Brace yourself – things are about to get weird!

    1. During your lifetime, you’ll produce about 25,000 quarts of saliva. That’s enough to fill two entire swimming pools.
    2. Flossing daily can extend your life expectancy by up to 6 years.
    3. Because your teeth are as unique as your fingerprints, dental records are used at crime scenes to identify victims.
    4. There are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people on the entire planet.
    5. Before the invention of toothpaste, people used chalk, charcoal, lemon juice, and even ashes to clean their teeth.
    6. You’ll spend an average of 38 days brushing your teeth during your lifetime.
    7. Right-handed people tend to chew their food on the right side of their mouths, while lefties chew with their left side.
    8. Blue is the most popular color for toothbrushes.
    9. Every year, kids in America spend over half a million dollars on chewing gum.
    10. Women smile an average of 62 times a day, while men only smile 8 times.
    11. A child will laugh 400 times on any given day, while adults average only 15 times.
    12. Giraffes have black tongues and no top teeth – only bottoms!
    13. Dentists recommend spending 2-3 minutes per day brushing your teeth, but the average person spends less than 60 seconds.
    14. By the age of 17, 78% of Americans have at least one cavity.
    15. Commercial dental floss was invented in 1882.
    16. Armadillos have 104 teeth.
    17. A snail’s mouth is smaller than a pinhead, yet contains over 25,000 teeth!
    18. An elephant’s molar averages 7 inches in length and weighs 6 pounds.
    19. Blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, eat tiny shrimp because they have no teeth.
    20. The appropriately named Crocodile Bird sits in the open mouth of a crocodile and cleans its teeth.
    21. One can of Coke contains nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar.
    22. The first female dentist, Lucy Beaman Hobbs, was licensed in 1866.
    23. The winner of the 1986 National Spelling Bee won on the word odontalgia (meaning “toothache”).
    24. The earliest known dentist was named Hesi-Re, who lived in Egypt 5,000 years ago.
    25. Ancient peoples used to chew on tree twigs to clean their teeth.
    26. George Washington’s teeth were not made of wood – they were made from gold, ivory, elephant tusk, and human slave teeth.
    27. As early as 600AD, Mayans were making crude dental implants from pieces of seashells (ouch).
    28. Ancient Greeks cleaned their teeth with alabaster, coral powder, pumice, talc, and iron rust.
    29. 3.7% of American adults have no teeth.
    30. One in three people is born without wisdom teeth.
    31. An average of 3 million teeth is lost every year at sporting events.
    32. The average lifespan of a single taste bud is 10 days.
    33. The average toothbrush contains 2,500 bristles.
    34. Every year, Americans use 14 million gallons of toothpaste and 3 million miles of dental floss.
    35. Americans spend $100 billion on hair care products each year, but only $2 billion on dental care products.
    36. Over half of us have untagged ourselves in a Facebook photo because we don’t like our smile.
    37. It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 muscles to frown.
    38. Nearly 90% of people polled said they’d give up their favorite thing for a year if they could have a beautiful smile for the rest of their life.
    39. We can identify a smile on someone’s face from 300 feet away.
    40. The average person will spend 20,160 minutes kissing during their lifetime.
    41. Mosquitoes have 47 teeth.
    42. Ever heard the saying, “Cat got your tongue?” It originated in Assyria 2,500 years ago, when it was common practice to cut out the tongues of captives and feed them to cats.
    43. Teeth tattoos applied to a cap or crown are becoming more and more popular.
    44. In Southeast Asia, braces are considered cool and trendy. Fake “fashion braces” are popular among young adults – even though they’re illegal!
    45. Brad Pitt voluntarily had his teeth chipped for his role in the movie Fight Club (and later had them fixed).
    46. In Korea, wisdom teeth are referred to as “love teeth” because they appear in young adulthood when people are falling in love for the first time.
    47. During the Civil War, soldiers were required to have at least four opposing front teeth to open a gunpowder pouch. Some young men had their teeth pulled to avoid being drafted!
    48. Brushing your teeth daily only became popular in America after World War II. Because it was required in the army, soldiers got into the habit and brought the practice back with them.
    49. Ever wondered why you produce so much saliva right before you vomit? Your body does it instinctively to protect your teeth and throat from stomach acid.
    50. In 1994, a West Virginia inmate braided a rope of dental floss, scaled a prison wall, and escaped!
    51. Every person who accepts a job in Antarctica must first have his or her wisdom teeth and appendix removed.b

    The Final Word on the Great Fluoride Debate

    There are two sides to every story, and the addition of fluoride to municipal water supplies is no exception.

    You’ve heard that most water treatment centers put fluoride in our tap water. You may have even had fluoride treatments at your dentist’s office. Because of this, many people assume that fluoride is good for you.

    On the flip side, some argue that the fluoride added to our drinking water is unnecessary (at best) and hazardous to our health (at worst). 

    What do you think? Is adding fluoride to our water supply helpful or harmful? Does it really matter?

    In this post, we’ll examine both sides of the fluoride debate so you can make an informed decision.

    What Is Fluoride and What Does It Do?

    Before we delve into the debate, let’s first establish the facts.

    FACT: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s found in the Earth’s crust and nearly all water supplies.

    FACT: Fluoride is a reduced form of fluorine, both of which are listed on the Periodic Table of Elements.

    FACT: Researchers have found that people who drink fluoridated water have up to 66% fewer cavities than those who drink non-fluoridated water.

    All of these facts make fluoride sound pretty great, right? In many ways, it is.

    Because our teeth lose minerals every day (through a process called demineralization), we need ways to remineralize them. Fluoride is one effective way to do so.

    This is why it’s been used in water supplies and dental offices since the 1930’s. But if fluoride is so commonly used and accepted, then why the ongoing debate?

    Well, despite studies that show a correlation between dental health and use of fluoride, not everyone agrees that it belongs in our water supply.

    Let’s give each side a chance to state their arguments.

    Fluoride in Our Water Supply

    Team PRO-fluoride says:

    Fluoridation to water is regarded as a simple measure to improve public health. It’s thought that adding fluoride helps strengthen the enamel of teeth, preventing decay, cavities and tooth loss.” – Steve Coffel, The Great Fluoride Light

    Water fluoridation saved $39 billion in dental care costs over the course of 10 years. The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate the water supply is less than the cost of a single dental filling.” – Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    Team ANTI-fluoride says:

    Fluoride may actually weaken the bones. Fluoride may affect dietary allergies and protein digestion and intolerance…it may also damage joints, connective tissue, the brain, and the testicles.” – Canadian Journal of Public Health

    “This extremely toxic, hazardous chemical is illegal to dump and would cost companies a hefty price tag to properly dispose of it. Instead, the waste is sold to cities and towns where they are then legally dumped into water supplies.” – Joe Martino, Collective Evolution

    Is Fluoride Safe? Are There Any Possible Risks?

    Team PRO-fluoride says:

    “Fluoride is safe and effective when used as directed but can be hazardous at high doses. Keep in mind, however, that it’s very difficult to reach hazardous levels given the low levels of fluoride in home-based fluoride-containing products.” WebMD

    “Fluoride has been recognized as an important nutrient for healthy teeth. Fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay. It is a public health measure, a modest community-wide investment that benefits everyone.” – Campaign for Dental Health, American Association of Pediatrics

    It's not just the CDC that upholds the merits of fluoride. More than 125 organizations around the world also recognize its safety and value. These organizations include the ADA, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization.” – Jennifer Mitchell, Colgate.com

    “Most health issues that opponents claim to be linked to fluoride are from sources of water with much higher fluoridation levels than what is found in our water systems. Many anti-fluoride studies were not designed properly and gathered unreliable data. Studies that indicated a link between fluoride and lower IQs were not conducted properly and did not take all other factors into account. – Mike Hamby, DDS

    Team ANTI-fluoride says:

    One of the main arguments against fluoride in water is that people believe it is unethical for the government to force fluoride on people without giving them a choice. When fluoridation began, fluoride was not as readily available in toothpaste like it is now.” – Mike Hamby, DDS

    “Fluoride is a waste product of the aluminum and fertilizer industries and, not surprisingly; a multi-million-dollar business. The chemicals used to fluoridate the water actually are not pharmaceutical grade as one might expect, but are a hazardous waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry.” – William Glaros, DDS

    “Fluoride is so toxic and dangerous that it has the ability to eat through metal and concrete. 24 studies have shown a link between fluoride exposure and the lowering of IQ. Research has found that fluoride affects normal endocrine function, causes kidney disease, bone weakness, dental fluorosis, cancer, calcification of the pineal gland, arthritis, immune deficiencies, skeletal fluorosis and much more.” – Joe Martino, Collective Evolution

    The Final Word on Fluoride

    The truth, as it often does, lies somewhere in between these two extreme viewpoints. And as you may have gathered from the varied opinions, there is nothing wrong with fluoride itself, and when used properly it can save teeth. The problem has to do with not having a choice as to whether or not our drinking water is supplemented with this mineral, and having no control over the form of fluoride being used.

    When man was able to run around drinking water from streams and rivers that naturally accumulated minerals, he didn't have to worry about whether or not his teeth were being adequately fortified with the appropriate minerals. Today, however, there are practically no safe sources of water that can be drunk without treatment.

    When municipalities first began fluoridating water back in the 1940’s, they were using sodium fluoride. A high-quality mineral supplement designed to strengthen teeth. Today, however, the fluoride found in most water supplies is not sodium fluoride, but fluorosilicic acid. A corrosive and toxic aluminum byproduct of the fertilizer industry. While technically still “fluoride” this is not the high-quality pharmaceutical grade additive but rather an inconvenient waste product that manufacturers are eager to find cheap ways to dispose of. 


    Ultimately it is up to each individual to take control of, and responsibility for, what he or she puts into his or her own body. It may be wise to contact your local water treatment center and inquire as to just what type of fluoride is being added to your water supply, where it comes from and how much is added. There are many high-quality fluoride filters available on the market that you can buy and use if you find that your local water supply is being contaminated with inferior grade waste product. If you do decide to remove the fluoride from your water supply, it is important to do so consciously and to be aware that you may need to find a high-quality fluoride or remineralizing toothpaste to get the minerals needed for optimum oral health.

    Brushing With Activated Charcoal - Is it Safe and Does it Work?

    Unless you've been participating in a social media detox for the last several months, likely you've heard of the latest teeth whitening trend - brushing with activated charcoal.

    Users are posting videos of themselves on social media with a mouthful of black paste and – supposedly – whiter teeth afterward. Many of these posts have gone viral and attracted millions of views.

    Granted, we’re all seeking healthier and safer ways to take care of ourselves. And most bloggers and other advocates offer advice with the best of intentions.

    But what do the medical and dental communities have to say about it?

    In this post, we’ll discuss activated charcoal and how safe and effective it is for teeth whitening.

    What Is Activated Charcoal?

    First of all, what is activated charcoal? Is it the same stuff you dump into your grill before you cook hamburgers and steaks?

    Not exactly. In fact, activated charcoal is very different from the charcoal you use to cook with.

    Activated charcoal is made from high-pressure gas being forced into granules of charcoal. This process creates “pockets” inside the particles. These pockets are what give activated charcoal its most well-known quality – the ability to absorb toxins.

    If you’ve ever been treated for severe food poisoning or accidental overdose, chances are that activated charcoal was part of your treatment plan. It can absorb high amounts of toxins that could make you very sick or even kill you.

    Because of its detoxifying and absorptive properties, many people conclude that it must work the same way on teeth. If it can pull impurities from your digestive tract, couldn’t it do the same for your teeth?

    It sounds logical in theory, right? But the truth is that brushing your teeth with activated charcoal could potentially do more harm than good.

    Is It Safe to Brush My Teeth with Activated Charcoal Powder?

    In theory, the pores in activated charcoal should bond with surface stains and plaque on your teeth. This enables you to brush them away, leaving you with whiter teeth.

    While this may be possible, chances are that you’ll brush away more than just stains.

    Activated charcoal powder is harsh and abrasive. While you may succeed in removing some stains, you also take the chance of damaging your tooth enamel. Damaged enamel can lead to a whole host of problems, from cavities to tooth sensitivity.

    Another possible risk is that your teeth could absorb some of the charcoal, leaving them stained or spotted. The same thing can happen to your gums too! Instead of a whiter smile, too much charcoal could stain your gums and leave them looking dingy and dark.

    I Want to Try It Anyways – What Should I Do?

    What if, despite the risks, you do decide you want to try brushing with activated charcoal?

    Your best bet is to look for a toothpaste or tooth-whitening product that contains activated charcoal. These have been specially formulated with just the right amount of charcoal to achieve the whitening results you desire.

    This is much better than buying activated charcoal at the store and trying to make a DIY toothpaste at home. You simply don’t have the expertise necessary to create a safe and effective formula (and neither do many of those bloggers).

    Your best bet is to leave the mixing to the experts and choose a product that contains a safe, predetermined amount of activated charcoal.

    Final Thoughts on Brushing with Activated Charcoal

    Most of us want whiter teeth, and activated charcoal is one option for achieving that goal.

    If you decide to try it, make sure you choose a product that’s professionally made and safe to use.

    That way, you’ll keep your teeth and gums healthy – which is always the most important thing!

    The 1930's Dentist Whose Life's Research Took Him from the Lab to the Far-Flung Corners of the Earth - and Uncovered the Key to Perfect Dental Health

    Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in popularity of the paleo diet and the ever-increasing trend sweeping the nation to move away from highly processed SAD foods (Standard American Diet) and toward the simple real foods that our ancestors ate. More and more people are becoming conscious that canned, packaged and processed foods are not only making us sick, tired, and fat, but often, can hardly be called "food" at all.

    Since the industrial revolution, developed society has forgotten it's roots. While many may see the current science-backed real-food movement as a recent discovery, in fact one of the very first researchers who discovered a connection between traditional diets and optimum health was a dentist from the 1930's!

    In his quest for answers about the real cause of dental decay, he traveled the globe and learned that many modern ideas about human health were very, very wrong.


    The Journey Begins

    The hero of our story is Dr. Weston A. Price from Cleveland, Ohio.

    In the early 1930s, while America was in the throes of the Great Depression, Dr. Price set off on a decade-long journey to some of the most remote regions on earth. His goal was to reach peoples untouched by western society and study their dental health.

    His ambitious itinerary included:

    •        Mountainous villages in Switzerland
    •        Gaelic communities on the Outer Hebrides islands of Scotland
    •        Indigenous peoples in South America
    •        Polynesian and Melanesian peoples in the South Pacific
    •        Remote African tribes
    •        Maori tribes in New Zealand
    •        Aboriginal villages in Australia

    Unfortunately for Dr. Price, there were no frequent flyer miles back then. Fortunately for us, though, the good dentist uncovered some fascinating insights into the modern diet and our dental health.

    Surprising Discoveries

    What Dr. Price observed in his travels astounded him.

    He visited remote tribes that had never seen (or even heard of) a dentist, yet what did he find?

    Wherever he went, he observed people with perfectly straight, beautiful teeth. They had well-developed jaws with enough room for all their teeth. He also found little or no signs of tooth decay, despite the absence of dental treatment.

    The surprises didn’t end there. Although these people had no access to modern medicine, they all displayed strong, healthy physiques. They also showed remarkable resistance to illness.

    Far from finding remote tribes full of sick individuals with bad teeth, Dr. Price found just the opposite. Instead, it was everyone back home in America who suffered from ill health, cavities, and crooked teeth!

    What did Dr. Price conclude from his decade of research?

    The Link Between Diet and Dental Health

    Based on his observations, Dr. Price concluded that the modern diet was ultimately responsible for America’s dental woes.

    Most tribal diets he observed contained up to four times the water-soluble vitamins and minerals of the standard American diet.

    Even more surprising? Most tribespeople consumed as much as ten times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins and saturated fat. These came from animal sources such as butter, eggs, fat, shellfish, and organ meat.

    These are the same fat- and cholesterol-rich foods that the American people shunned as unhealthy! And yet, Americans were the ones suffering from so many health and dental problems.

    Dr. Price concluded that these remote tribes instinctively knew what modern researchers were only just discovering.

    Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A and D, are vital to the human diet. Without them, we can’t absorb minerals or use protein effectively, no matter how much of it is in our diets. And if we’re not absorbing the nutrients we need, our physical and dental health will suffer.

    The Takeaway

    The isolated tribes that Dr. Price observed on his world tour astounded him. He observed people that were physically robust, with no reproductive, mental, or emotional problems.

    They stood in stark contrast to the people in developed countries who ate processed foods, sugar, pasteurized dairy products, and low-fat foods. The “convenience” of our modern diet is, in fact, the key to many of our physical, emotional, and dental problems.

    If Dr. Price noticed it almost a century ago, you can imagine how much worse our diet has become since then. Perhaps this is why, as we become more health-conscious, doctors are recommending a return to whole foods and healthy fats.

    In an ironic twist, the peoples in these isolated tribes and villages had it right all along. Who’d have thought it?