Cosmetic, Implant , General Dentist in Smithtown Long Island, NY. This blog has been created to bring up all oral health topics and dental treatment. I welcome any discussions of any dental topics or dental treatments that are important to you. Videos and articles can be found on my website, www.WeCaterToCowards.com. I look forward to helping and using my personal experiences in dentistry in the past 15 years in all aspects of dentistry. Talk to you soon.
Having sensitive teeth can sometimes make eating and drinking a painful experience. However, certain home remedies may help reduce tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity is a common and treatable condition. A 2013 study found that one in eight people who visited dental practices experienced sensitive teeth.
In this article, we explore some home remedies for sensitive teeth and the science behind them. We also cover causes and prevention of tooth sensitivity and when to see a dentist.
Oil pulling may help reduce gum disease and tooth sensitivity.
Oil pulling with sesame or coconut oil may help reduce tooth sensitivity.
Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic practice originating from India, which involves swishing oil around the mouth for several minutes before spitting it out.
The results of a 2009 study suggest that sesame oil pulling may reduce the symptoms of gum disease, which dentists refer to as gingivitis. A pilot study from 2015 also supported this practice, showing that daily coconut oil pulling may reduce plaque formation and markers of gingivitis.
The potential benefits of oil pulling for gingivitis may, in turn, reduce tooth sensitivity. Researchsuggests that tooth sensitivity is more common among people with gum recession that results from gingivitis.
Chewing guava leaves or using a topical gel containing guava leaf extract may help reduce tooth pain and sensitivity.
A 2017 review of the health benefits of guava leaves notes that extracts rich in guava flavonoids have the potential to soothe toothache due to their pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
People have long used clove oil as a folk remedy for toothache. Research suggests that there is more to this than just tradition.
A 2006 study compared clove gel with topical benzocaine, which is a gel that dentists often use to numb a person's gums before inserting needles. The results indicated that clove gel might be as effective in relieving needle pain as benzocaine gel.
Applying clove gel or oil to the gums may help reduce tooth sensitivity and pain. However, scientists need to conduct more research into this use of clove gel to confirm its benefits.
Garlic is a traditional remedy for a range of health conditions. One use of garlic in folk medicine is to treat toothache.
Chewing on a piece of garlic briefly produces a compound called allicin. The authors of a 2011 study concluded that allicin has antimicrobial properties and may help kill bacteria that can lead to oral diseases, such as Streptococcus mutans.
The buildup of S. mutans around the teeth and gums can lead to tooth decay, which may worsen tooth sensitivity. Fighting these bacteria may slow down this process and lessen tooth sensitivity.
Using a saltwater rinse as a mouthwash is another way to fight bacteria in the mouth and improve oral hygiene.
In a 2017 study, researchers found that a saltwater rinse may be as effective as a chlorhexidine mouthwash in the reduction of dental plaque.
Capsaicin is the spicy substance that occurs naturally in chili peppers. Although capsaicin can cause burning when a person applies it to their skin or gums, it may also reduce pain.
The authors of a 2011 review note that the topical application of capsaicin can help relieve some types of pain. Scientists are not sure exactly how this works, but they believe that capsaicin may numb nerve fibers, making them less able to deliver pain signals.
Applying capsaicin gel to the gums may alleviate pain from sensitive teeth.
Turmeric is a yellow spice and an Ayurvedic remedy for reducing inflammation. Turmeric contains curcumin, which may help relieve pain.
A small 2014 study found that a turmeric plant extract was as effective as ibuprofen in relieving pain from knee osteoarthritis.
A person can try making a paste by mixing turmeric and water, then rubbing it into their gums to help reduce tooth pain and sensitivity. However, there is not yet any scientific research to support this use of turmeric.
A person can reduce the risk of tooth cavities by using a fluoride toothpaste.
Using dental products containing fluoride can reduce the risk of cavities and may also help minimize tooth sensitivity.
A 2013 review concluded that most fluoride preparations reduce tooth sensitivity when people use them alongside desensitizing treatments.
Many forms of fluoride treatment are available that are suitable for daily use, including:
Desensitizing toothpaste contains agents that make dentin less permeable. Dentin is a hard, porous tissue that lies beneath the layer of enamel in all teeth.
When dentin is less permeable, this means that it is more difficult for liquid to pass through it. Reducing the permeability protects the nerve underneath, which helps decrease tooth sensitivity and pain.
Using a desensitizing toothpaste containing potassium is one option for people with sensitive teeth.
In an in vitro study from 2006, researchers applied oxalate extracts from rhubarb and spinach to dentine discs that they took from human molars. The results suggested that these extracts may help reduce tooth sensitivity.
Teeth can become sensitive when enamel, their protective top layer, becomes worn down.
When enamel wears down, the dentin underneath can become more permeable, allowing liquids and gases to pass through it more easily.
Below dentin is a tissue called dental pulp that contains many nerve endings and blood vessels. When substances pass through dentin to reach these nerve endings, a person may experience pain. Drinking hot or cold liquids and chewing can trigger this pain.
The following can all wear down enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity:
gingivitis, which is gum disease that results from plaque buildup
excessive teeth brushing or brushing too hard
eating acidic foods
grinding or clenching the teeth
A 2013 study paper reported an association between tooth sensitivity and both gum recession from gingivitis and at-home tooth whitening.
People can help protect the enamel on their teeth and prevent tooth sensitivity by:
brushing the teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
flossing once a day
taking breaks from whitening the teeth
limiting the consumption of sugary, starchy, and acidic foods
The presence of oral bacteria in so-called cystic pancreatic tumours is associated with the severity of the tumour, a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal Gut reports. It is hoped that the results can help to improve diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal cancers in the west. The disease is often discovered late, which means that in most cases the prognosis is poor. But not all pancreatic tumours are cancerous. For instance there are so-called cystic pancreatic tumours (pancreatic cysts), many of which are benign. A few can, however, become cancerous.
It is currently difficult to differentiate between these tumours. To rule out cancer, many patients therefore undergo surgery, which puts a strain both on the patient and on the healthcare services. Now, however, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found that the presence of bacteria inside the cystic tumours is linked to how severe the tumour is.
"We find most bacteria at the stage where the cysts are starting to show signs of cancer," says corresponding author Margaret Sällberg Chen, docent and senior lecturer at the Department of Dental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet. "What we hope is that this can be used as a biomarker for the early identification of the cancerous cysts that need to be surgically removed to cure cancer, this will in turn also reduce the amount of unnecessary surgery of benignant tumours. But first, studies will be needed to corroborate our findings."
The researchers examined the presence of bacterial DNA in fluid from pancreatic cysts in 105 patients and compared the type and severity of the tumours. Doing this they found that the fluid from the cysts with high-grade dysplasia and cancer contained much more bacterial DNA than that from benign cysts.
To identify the bacteria, the researchers sequenced the DNA of 35 of the samples that had high amounts of bacterial DNA. They found large variations in the bacterial composition between different individuals, but also a greater presence of certain oral bacteria in fluid and tissue from cysts with high-grade dysplasia and cancer.
"We were surprised to find oral bacteria in the pancreas, but it wasn't totally unexpected," says Dr. Sällberg Chen. "The bacteria we identified has already been shown in an earlier, smaller study to be higher in the saliva of patients with pancreatic cancer."
The results can help to reappraise the role of bacteria in the development of pancreatic cysts, she notes. If further studies show that the bacteria actually affects the pathological process it could lead to new therapeutic strategies using antibacterial agents.
The researchers also studied different factors that could conceivably affect the amount of bacterial DNA in the tumour fluid. They found that the presence of bacterial DNA was higher in patients who had undergone invasive pancreas endoscopy, a procedure that involves the insertion of a flexible tube into the mouth to examine and treat pancreatic conditions thus the possible transfer of oral bacteria into the pancreas.
"The results were not completely unequivocal, so the endoscopy can't be the whole answer to why the bacteria is there," she continues. "But maybe we can reduce the risk of transferring oral bacteria to the pancreas by rinsing the mouth with an antibacterial agent and ensuring good oral hygiene prior to examination. That would be an interesting clinical study."
Gum disease is common and unpleasant, but, according to a growing body of evidence, it could also play a role in a surprising range of seemingly unrelated health problems.
Cleaning your teeth may be even more important than you thought.
Plaque — a sticky substance that contains bacteria — builds up on teeth. If it is not brushed away, the bacteria can irritate the gums.
The gums may then become swollen, sore, or infected; this is referred to as gingivitis.
In general, gum disease can be treated or prevented by maintaining a good oral health regime.
However, if it is left to develop, it can result in periodontitis, which weakens the supporting structures of the teeth.
Gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease, is widespread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of adults in the United States have some degree of gum disease.
The mechanisms behind periodontal disease are relatively well-understood, and newer research shows that this health problem may play a role in the development of a number of other conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.
In this Spotlight, we will cover some of the surprising links between gum disease and disparate health issues.
Gums and the brain
Although spatially the gums are near the brain, one wouldn't normally associate dental complaints with neurological conditions.
However, some studies have found a link between periodontal disease and tooth loss and cognitive function. One study looking at cognitive performance followed 597 men for up to 32 years. The authors conclude:
"Risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost. Periodontal disease and caries, major reasons for tooth loss, are also related to cognitive decline."
Researchers have also linked periodontal disease with an increased buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain — the neurological hallmark of Alzheimer's.
Other experiments have produced evidence that one type of bacteria commonly found in cases of periodontitis — Porphyromonas gingivalis — can be found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's.
Following on from that discovery, in a more recent study, researchers showed that P. gingivalisinfection boosts the production of beta-amyloid in the brain.
In this study, the researchers paid particular attention to an enzyme produced by P. gingivalis called gingipain. They found that this protease was toxic to tau, another protein that plays a pivotal role in Alzheimer's.
It is worth noting that other researchers have concluded that beta-amyloid is produced in response to a pathogen. The way we view Alzheimer's is slowly changing.
In the future, scientists hope that targeting gingipain enzymes might help stop neurodegeneration in some people with Alzheimer's disease. They have already designed a gingipain inhibitor, which they are testing in humans.
The researchers hope that it will "slow or prevent further neurodegeneration and accumulation of pathology in [Alzheimer's disease] patients."
The heart of the matter
Although not everyone with heart disease has gum disease, and not everyone with gum disease has heart disease, there does appear to be a correlation.
Of course, individuals who smoke or drink large quantities of alcohol are more likely to have both oral and cardiovascular issues, but there appears to be more to the relationship than shared risk factors alone.
Whether gum disease is an independent risk factor for heart disease is still being discussed, but there are some theories as to how the two might be related.
Primarily, inflammation is a response to irritants or pathogens; it is a protective mechanism. However, if it continues for an extended period, it can damage tissues and organs.
It is possible that inflammation in the gums sets off a cascade that, ultimately, sparks inflammation in the cardiovascular system.
Alternatively, the link between heart and gum diseases may be due to bacteria.
Bacteria in the gums can enter the blood supply and be propelled to distant destinations, including the heart, where they can cause inflammation and damage.
As evidence that this is possible, researchers have shown that P. gingivalis is the most commonly found bacterial species in the coronary artery.
Cancer risk increase
Once again, gum disease and cancer do not, on the surface, appear to have much in common.
A study published in 2008 investigated tooth loss and cancer in 48,375 men. The authors concluded that there was, indeed, a link between gum disease and cancer. They write:
"Periodontal disease was associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk."
Another, more recent, study involving more than 68,000 adults found a strong association between gum disease and overall cancer risk; the link was also significant between gum disease and pancreatic cancer.
Why might this be the case? Apaperpublished inNaturegoes some way toward an explanation.
The researchers found that an enzyme produced by a type of bacteria commonly associated with gum disease — Treponema denticola — commonly appears in certain tumors of the gastrointestinal system.
The enzyme, known as T. denticola chymotrypsin-like proteinase, helps the bacteria invade tissue in gum disease. The researchers found that it also activated other enzymes that promote cancer cells as they advance into healthy tissue. Erectile dysfunction
An estimated 50 percent of men over the age of 40 experience erectile dysfunction. It is a complex condition that can result from both psychological and physiological factors.
Some well-known risk factors include smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, and hypertension. According to some scientists, periodontal disease might also increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.
For instance, the authors of a literature review published in 2016 identify an association between erectile dysfunction and chronic periodontitis.
In fact, they suggest "that physicians should refer patients with [erectile dysfunction] to oral healthcare providers for a comprehensive oral evaluation and treatment."
The importance of dental hygiene may extend to the bedroom.
Because erectile dysfunction and gum disease have shared risk factors, including smoking and diabetes, it has been difficult to ascertain whether gum disease is an independent risk factor for erectile dysfunction.
Although sexual dysfunction and gum health seem worlds apart, there are a number of potential ways in which they could influence each other.
Once again, inflammation might be the culprit. As mentioned earlier, inflammation in one part of the body — the mouth, in this instance — can spread via chemical messengers in the blood and impact other regions.
Erectile dysfunction is often due to malfunctioning blood vessels; specifically, the smooth muscles lining the walls of blood vessels lose their ability to relax. This is referred to as endothelial dysfunction, and it prevents vasodilation in the penis and, consequently, erections.
A so-called proinflammatory state may promote endothelial dysfunction and, therefore, increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.
However, the link has not been definitively proven. The authors of a review published in 2016 concluded that, although this link seems likely, more large-scale studies are needed.
Gums and lungs
Of course, the mouth is a shared gateway to the gums and the lungs, making a link between gum and lung diseases less surprising than some of the others that we have encountered.
A study published in February 2019 investigated the records of 1,380 men. The authors found a significant relationship between chronic periodontitis and a reduction in respiratory function.
This link remained significant, even after controlling for confounding variables, such as smoking.
Once again, inflammation may be the link between the two conditions. If the tubes in the lungs that carry air are inflamed, they become narrower and air flow is restricted.
Aside from the probable role of inflammation, bacteria present in the mouth might also be breathed into the lungs. Once in the lungs, the bacteria could trigger infections that directly lead to inflammation.
A recent meta-analysis investigated potential links between gum disease and lung cancer. The authors concluded that "patients with periodontal disease are at increased risk of developing lung cancer."
In their paper, they outline some potential ways in which gum disease might increase lung cancer risk. For instance, breathing in bacteria, such as P. gingivalis, from the mouth could cause infections.
Similarly, enzymes produced during the course of gum disease might pass into the lungs. Once there, they could help pathogens take root and colonize the lung tissue.
These changes spark inflammation; over the long term, inflammation causes changes in cells that raise the likelihood of cancer developing.
The take-home message
One could read this article as a worrying collection of conditions made all the more likely to occur, courtesy of gum disease.
If we adopt the opposite approach, though, the take-home message could be much more positive: Good dental hygiene may reduce our risk of developing a range of serious health problems.
As the authors of the lung cancer analysis, mentioned above, write, "periodontal disease is a preventable and treatable disease." Managing it at an early stage might reduce the risks of a multitude of ills.