“There Is Little Doubt” About Fluoride’s Neurotoxicity, New Research Says

fluoride lowers iq graffiti Back in 2014, a lot of holistically-minded folks got really excited about a paper in The Lancet Neurology, as it very clearly identified fluoride, among 10 other chemical elements and compounds, as being neurotoxic to children.

But fluoride wasn’t it’s only concern. Rather, in reviewing some of the newer science on “developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals,” the authors made a much broader case.

We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered. To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy. Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity.

That’s an important case to be made. But what about fluoride in particular?

Over the past several years, many new studies have been done on fluoride’s effects on developing brains, and these are the focus of a new literature review by one of the authors of the original Lancet paper, Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health. The paper was published late last fall in Environmental Health.

Previous assessment of neurotoxicity risks associated with elevated fluoride intake relied on cross-sectional and ecological epidemiology studies and findings from experimental studies of elevated exposures. The evidence base has greatly expanded in recent years, with 14 cross-sectional studies since 2012, and now also three prospective studies of high quality and documentation of individual exposure levels. Thus, there is little doubt that developmental neurotoxicity is a serious risk associated with elevated fluoride exposure, whether due to community water fluoridation, natural fluoride release from soil minerals, or tea consumption, especially when the exposure occurs during early development. Even the most informative epidemiological studies involve some uncertainties, but imprecision of the exposure assessment most likely results in an underestimation of the risk. [emphasis added]

Of course, the brain isn’t the only part of the body affected by fluoride. Other research has shown harmful effects on the thyroid and pineal glands, for instance, along with the cardiovascular system, the skeletal system, and more – “ every part of the human body,” according to this well-referenced white paper from the IAOMT.

Along with that, consider that fluoride’s benefits are modest at best. Despite the claims, it does not appear to prevent decay. One 2017 study, for instance, found that roughly a third of all children developed caries, whether they received fluoride treatments or not.

This well-conducted trial failed to demonstrate that the intervention kept children caries free, but there was evidence that once children get caries, it slowed down its progression.

What actually prevents decay is something we’ve known about for a long time now, starting with replacing the sugar and white flour products (processed carbs that are digested as sugar) with a nutrient-dense diet, including plenty of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and minerals (especially calcium and phosphorous), as these support ongoing remineralization of your teeth.

This is also part of supporting a healthy biological terrain, ensuring that the body is able to properly assimilate and use what you feed it.

Yes, that can be harder to achieve, especially as a matter of public vs. personal health, but it is known to work – and there certainly are no side effects.

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“Exuberant Hair on the Chin & Neck”…& Gums?

Well, this is something you don’t see every day:

news headline about hair growing from a woman's gums

According to the recently published case report, the woman was 19 when she noticed one of the eyelash-like hairs sticking out from her gums and sought help. The doctors found that she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone disorder in that can cause excess hair growth on face and body alike.

So they put her on birth control in an attempt to regulate her hormones and surgically removed the hair from her gums, and all was well for a while. But 6 years later, she returned with worsened symptoms.

Extraoral facial examination revealed the presence of exuberant hair on the chin and neck regions. Intraoral examination showed some brown hair, similar to eyelashes, which were removed and the underlying tissue histologically analyzed. One year later, the patient came back with even more widespread presence of oral hairs distributed on the gingivae of both arches.

Here’s what it looked like, courtesy of Science Alert:

hair growing from gingiva

The authors of the case report

Suggest that since the mucosal tissues inside the mouth are closely related to the tissues that build our skin while we’re an embryo, it’s not hard to imagine how hair cells might be activated in theory.

They go on to point out that the oil-producing glands of our outer skin commonly grow inside the mouth, leading to a condition called Fordyce granules.

Hair growing in the mouth like this is extremely rare, to say the least. Only 5 other cases have been reported, dating back to the 1960s, and this is the first time the condition has been documented in a female patient. This isn’t to say that there were no cases before the 1960s, only that they weren’t noted in the medical literature.

One thing that’s not so surprising, though, is that the woman’s condition worsened with time.

While the superficial trigger for her symptoms was addressed – the hormonal imbalance – the underlying cause of the imbalance was not. If the root cause isn’t addressed, how can the problem be solved? It’s a little like bailing water out of an overflowing tub without bothering to turn off the tap or treating a burn while still holding your hand on a hot stove.

To get at the cause, you must look at the state of the patient’s biological terrain and how it got into the condition it is today. Symptoms are a sign that the body is being challenged and may be having trouble regulating correctly. Address the factors that are interfering with the body’s innate self-regulative ability, and you move much further along the path to real healing.

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KTH Flashback: Some Basic Principles of Biological Regulation

Biological dentistry developed out of biological medicine. Unlike conventional medicine, which relies largely on drugs and surgeries that may give the appearance of health, biological medicine focuses on restoring the body’s innate ability to self-regulate to facilitate healing. When you’re conditioned to see the conventional, linear approach as the norm, it can be hard to grasp this other paradigm at first. In the article below, Dr. V explains some of the basic concepts that inform the biological approach…


Originally posted August 22, 2017

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

The term homeostasis was first defined in 1932 by Walter Bradford Cannon. He created it by bringing together two Greek terms: homoios, which means “the same,” “like,” or “resembling,” and stasis, which means “standing,” “position,” or “posture.” Homeostasis, then, literally means “to remain in the same condition,” as close as possible to a steady state of the system.

Cannon’s book The Wisdom of the Body describes how the human body maintains steady levels of temperature and other vital conditions such as the water, salt, sugar, protein, fat, calcium, and oxygen contents of the blood. Similar processes dynamically maintain steady-state conditions in the Earth’s environment.

Homeostasis is the condition your body constantly strives to maintain.

You Are, in Fact, a Cyborg: The Human Body as a Cybernetic System

The human body is an extremely complex, unified, dynamic, homeostatic – or goal-seeking – system.

“Homeostatic ideas,” writes Kelvin Rodolfo, Emeritus Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Chicago, “are shared by the science of cybernetics (from the Greek for ‘steersman’),”

defined in 1948 by the mathematician Norbert Wiener as “the entire field of control and communication theory, whether in the machine or in the animal.” Cybernetic systems can “remember” disturbances and thus are used in computer science to store and transmit information. Negative feedback is a central homeostatic and cybernetic concept, referring to how an organism or system automatically opposes any change imposed upon it.

So although these days we tend to think of cybernetics in terms of computers and technology, the human body is itself a cybernetic system. It receives input and responds to it. The response delivers more input, which in turn brings about different responses. It’s an endless feedback loop, all with one goal: maintain homeostasis.

feedback loopLet’s consider just one aspect of homeostasis: temperature regulation. On a very hot day, your body responds to that input – heat – by dilating your blood vessels so more blood flows near the skin’s surface where it can release heat. You also sweat to cool the skin. These processes help keep your internal body temperature at a steady level.

And as it begins to cool off, your body responds accordingly to that new input.

This is cybernetics in action. And it applies to all bodily regulation – not just temperature control, but blood sugar regulation, heart action, hormone release, and so on.

All this is coordinated through the brain, which can be viewed as a complex communication center, computer, and control system – a very complex system. In fact, it’s often been said that there are as many neurons in the human brain as stars in the Milky Way.

For a long time, neuroscientists would say that there are about 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Interestingly, no one has ever published a peer-reviewed scientific paper supporting that count. Rather it’s been informally interpolated from other measurements. A recent study from 2009 published by Azevedo and colleagues took a crack at a more precise estimate. Their answer?

Approximately 86 billion neurons in the human brain. The latest estimates for the number of stars in the Milky Way is somewhere between 200 and 400 billion. So close, but the human brain certainly doesn’t quite stack up!

Still, that’s a lot of neurons, and each is consistently interacting with millions of other cells in the body. That is the potential for 100 trillion interactions, a number 1000 times greater than all the stars in the Milky Way!

neural networkWhat’s really remarkable is the fact that your brain keeps all these bodily systems working together as a synchronized unit to create a smooth running system and maintain a steady homeostatic state. Properly maintained, this steady state can last for a human lifetime.

But life is dynamic, defined by continual change. Your body is sensitive to the smallest stimuli. To live is to be in constant interaction with your surrounding environment.

As Dr. Rodolfo suggests in his article on homeostasis, this dynamic is like driving a car, where we consider the “car and its driver as a unified…, ‘goal-seeking’ system – a cyborg or ‘cybernetic organism.’” It’s goal? Drive a road from point A to point B.

The driver does not steer by holding the wheel in a fixed position but keeps turning the wheel slightly to the left and right, seeking the wheel positions that will bring the naturally meandering car back on track. Disturbance, or departure from equilibrium, is every bit as important as negative feedback: Systems cannot correct themselves if they do not stray.

Oscillation is a common and necessary behavior of many systems. If the car skids, the driver automatically responds by quickly steering in the opposite direction. Such abrupt negative feedback, however, usually over-corrects, causing the car to move toward the other side of the road. A negative feedback, if it is as large as the disturbance that triggered it, may become an impressed change in the direction opposite to that of the original disturbance. The car and driver recovers from the skid by weaving from side to side, swerving a little less each time. In other words, each feedback is less than the last departure from the goal, so the oscillations ‘damp out.’ Negative feedback takes time and such a time lag is an essential feature of many natural systems. This may set the system to oscillating above and below the equilibrium level.

The human body and the environment form an extremely complex interacting unit that is always changing, influenced by any subtle stimuli in the environment. Even in nano concentrations, they have an immediate effect on the extracellular matrix (biological terrain), amplifying or inhibiting reactions through tiny dosages of cytokines and other steering mediators unleashed by the immune system.

The human body is continuously trying to correct these deviations to regain its steady and harmonious state. To do so, the bioregulatory system of the body directs, corrects, or manages most bodily processes using subtle quantities of mediators or oscillations which are directed by the extracellular matrix.

As we’ve noted before, this understanding originates in the work of Claude Bernard, who theorized that maintaining stability in the internal environment (milieu interieur) is a prerequisite for the development of a complex nervous system. His research on multiple dynamic equilibrium is the basic principle behind homeostasis.

Considered one of the fathers of physiology, Bernard was so famous into the early 20th century that be became identified in the public mind as the archetypal scientist, much like Einstein is considered today.

Challenges to the Steady State

Each of us is continuously being influenced by both the environment around us, as well as the microenvironment within. The goal is to remain in a steady state – the state of health.

chemicalsAnd these days, it faces more challenges than ever. According to the Environmental Working Group, there more more than 7 million chemicals in existence. About 80,000 of these are in common use around the world. They have brought enormous benefits – swelling harvests, beating back previously unconquerable diseases, producing a host of consumer goods we now think of as necessities – but at quite a cost.

Tests for a hundred particularly hazardous substances have revealed that – on average – we each harbour 27 of them in our blood, though the chemical cocktail varies from person to person. Children have been found to be more contaminated than their parents or grandparents, while mothers pass on the poisons to babies in the womb. Researchers have found potentially dangerous chemicals in every one of 14 basic foodstuffs they took from supermarket shelves, and in the air of every home they visited.

Findings like these spurred 200 eminent scientists from five continents some years ago to issue a joint warning that exposure to common chemicals skewed the development of critical organs in foetuses and newborns, increasing their chances of developing diabetes, cancer, attention deficit disorders, thyroid damage, diminished fertility, and other conditions in later life.

The Standing Committee of European Doctors – which brings together the continent’s top physicians’ bodies, including the BMA – has added: “Chemical pollution represents a serious threat to children, and to Man’s survival.” And the usually cautious US President’s Cancer Panel has reported that synthetic chemicals can cause “grievous harm” and that the number of cancers for which they are responsible had been “grossly underestimated”.

In yet another warning, researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the University of Southern Denmark predicted a “silent pandemic” of brain conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy and attention deficit disorders, identifying 202 substances known to poison the brain as “the tip of a very large iceberg”.

Your body responds to every exposure – not just to chemicals but toxins of all kinds, synthetic and organic – even miniscule amounts that public officials often say pose no risk to human health. But many accumulate over time, and they interact in ways we’re only just beginning to understand, as researchers look at the cumulative effects of the chemical cocktail we’re exposed to daily.

This can – and does – have profound implications on your body’s self-regulating abilities. And that is a matter we will pick up with next time in the final installment of this series.

Neural network image by Else If Then, via Wikimedia Commons

You can learn even more about this and related topics in Dr. V’s free booklet “How Illness Happens.”

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About that New Honey Nut Cheerios Commercial…

So this is a thing that Cheerios is doing, “in an effort to propel heart health conversations”:

So let’s have a conversation about how “heart healthy” these can possibly be, considering the amount of added sugar in the stuff. In fact, sugar is the second ingredient listed after those “heart healthy” whole grain oats.

Oh, there’s also some honey and brown sugar syrup in there, as well.

And research has shown that, among other things, sugar consumption both raises triglycerides and lowers “good” LDL cholesterol. Both of these, in turn, raise the risk of heart disease.

“But, wait!” you might say, looking at the nutrition label. “It’s only 9 grams of sugars per serving. That’s not so bad.”

Unfortunately, that’s not what most folks give themselves as a serving size:

  

So pour out the cereal like most folks would, and those 9 grams of sugar quite easily become 18 or 27, in which case you’ll have eaten more sugar than is in a regular size Hershey bar (17 grams) and possibly more than half the daily maximum recommended by the World Health Organization.

And even that number is considerably higher than the maximum recommended to prevent tooth decay: just 3 to 5% of your total caloric intake. For a 2000 calorie a day diet, that’s roughly 15 to 25 grams of total added sugars max.

So how is this cereal so good for your heart exactly?

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How the Extracellular Matrix Influences Your Health

When you’ve grown up in a world were Western Medicine dominates, it can be hard at first to wrap your brain around the concept of regulative medicine and especially the influence of the extracellular matrix (ECM) – a/k/a the biological terrain – on health and illness.

Since regulative medicine is the foundation of biological dentistry, this is why we recommend all new patients read Dr. V’s clear and concise booklet “How Illness Happens: An Introduction to the Biological Terrain”.

Recently, we ran across a podcast that has a really terrific discussion of the extracellular matrix and, in particular, the dynamic between the ECM and your body’s cells. But before we share it, there are a few points in it that could use some clarification.

First, there are a couple of factual errors we caught. Pischinger was not a German researcher but Austrian. More importantly, the Dr. Schimmel he speaks of was not the first to apply the principles he discusses. Rather, credit here should go to Kramer and Voll.

More importantly, there’s a wider range of evaluation and treatment modalities available – especially those incorporated from German biological medicine – than just those discussed here. Some of the additional tools we use here in our Northern California office include Biological Terrain Assessment (BTA), MORA therapy, and EAV (Electroacupuncture According to Voll).

Similarly, homeopathic protocols can play an important role along with the other types of functional therapies discussed in the podcast. Ultimately, the goal is to clean and restore order to the terrain so the body can properly self-regulate. Homeopathic preparations gently nudge the body back toward this.

To learn more about how Dr. V uses these tools in his practice, start here.

Transcript of podcast

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Don’t Floss & Drive

Tesla on AutopilotSure, Tesla says that its Autopilot features are meant only to be used with “active driver supervision and do not make the car autonomous.” You don’t have to look hard, though, to find Tesla “drivers” taking advantage of the system, letting the car take over while they apply makeup, for instance, or eat breakfast. Motorists have been caught tending to pets, taking a snooze, even making porn.

And to that list, we can now add flossing their teeth.

The 58-year-old motorist, who Ontario Provincial Police did not name, was pulled over on January 8 after officers saw he didn’t have any hands on the steering wheel because he was moving floss between his teeth. He was driving 84 mph, which is about 60 mph over the maximum speed limit in Oakville, where he was pulled over.

He was charged with careless driving.

It’s also pretty careless flossing. Oral hygiene isn’t hard, and it certainly doesn’t take long: 2 minutes brushing each morning and night, and about another minute to floss. But for it to be effective, you need to use the right technique.

Besides, as longtime readers of this blog know, every so often, crazy things can happen even with something as seemingly low key as cleaning your teeth.

One case report tells of a taxi driver who inhaled a floss pick. It lodged in the airway that branches off into the left lung and stayed there for 8 years.

Yes. Eight. Years.

Then one day, he experienced a sneezing episode, and the next thing he knew, he was coughing up a whole lot of blood. The pick had become dislodged and had to be removed by doctors. Fortunately, there were no lingering ill effects or complications.

Dental floss picks, as its name implies, combine the functions of a toothpick and dental floss, and are widely used to maintain good oral hygiene. Nevertheless, unlike toothpicks or dental floss, they have never been presented as a tracheobronchial foreign body or caused gastrointestinal damage probably because the size is much larger than the other devices. This case demonstrates that large objects like a dental floss pick may be the cause of a tracheobronchial foreign body and reminds everybody to use them cautiously.

dental flossIn another case, a length of floss broke during use, and a piece got stuck between teeth near the gumline. The person either didn’t notice or didn’t bother to remove it. Within a few days, a periodontal abscess had formed around it. Once the floss had been removed, the abscess resolved.

Far more common, though, is soft tissue damage, which usually results from flossing too aggressively or otherwise incorrectly. It can irritate the gums or cause ulcerations, as well as lesions that may not be treatable. Bone loss is another possibility.

So yes, when it comes to cleaning your teeth, technique matters, and to have proper technique, you need to pay attention to what you’re doing.

Here’s a quick lesson on the right way to floss:

Tesla image by Ian Maddox, via Wikimedia Commons

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Is a Root Canal with Ozone Any Better?

tooth anatomy diagramOne reason why root canal treatment is such a challenge is that it’s not just the root canals themselves that must be cleaned out and disinfected. There are also the miles of microscopic tubules that form dentin, the tooth’s middle layer of tissue – a perfect harbor for bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens.

That’s a big reason why those “biological” dentists who choose to do root canals incorporate ozone into their treatment. The idea is that ozone gas, a powerful disinfectant, can get into the tubules more thoroughly than conventional chemicals, while also reportedly being less toxic to oral cells.

Yet it’s not a panacea. As we’ve noted before,

the tubules will always carry the DNA of any pathogens. Even if you saturated the inside of the tooth with ozone or could somehow autoclave the tooth 24/7 for a couple weeks, those traces would remain.

Now, a new review of the science suggests that ozone may not actually be all that much better for endodontic disinfection.

Published last fall in the International Endodontic Journal, the review looked at 180 studies on ozone in root canal treatment, narrowing down to 8 that met the researchers’ criteria. Most were considered at low risk of bias, but only one was a random clinical trial. The others were lab studies.

Overall, the evidence showed that ozone actually reduced bacteria less than sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), the most commonly used solution for disinfecting root canal teeth.

Nor did ozone seem to boost the effectiveness of NaOCl when the two were used together.

Although the selected studies have limitations, this review reached a satisfactory methodological quality and moderate evidence to provide important preliminary information regarding ozone therapy. As regards microbial load reduction for patients undergoing root canal treatment, ozone therapy has inferior results when compared with conventional chemomechanical techniques using NaOCl. As an adjunct during chemomechanical preparation, ozone intervention was ineffective in increasing the antimicrobial effect of NaOCl. Therefore, ozone is not indicated either to replace nor to complement the antimicrobial action of NaOCl.

Of course, this is all a non-issue if you avoid root canals altogether, which we generally recommend. While there are rare instances in which root canal treatment accompanied by active terrain management might be considered “the least worst option” for dealing with a severely decayed or damaged tooth, extraction is usually the safer bet, followed by tooth replacement with a partial or bridge. (Yes, one-tooth “pop-in” partials are an option.)

Always and ever, it depends on the individual and their unique health history and current health situation. One size does not fit all.

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Toothpaste: To Foam or Not to Foam?

guy brushing teeth with lots of foamIf you’ve been using a regular toothpaste all your life, it can feel pretty strange to use something like the tooth powder we told you about last month or a product like “Toothy Tabs.” They just don’t foam.

Just as a minty flavor has come to be associated with freshness, so foam has come to deliver a signal that the mouth is getting clean. To many, when it’s missing, something just seems wrong.

In 1972 Colgate Palmolive (CP) launched the world first non foaming toothpaste but it was a sales nightmare. From 1972 to 1974 CP was able to sale on 1000 packets in US. CP went back to its customers to ask for their preference and most preferred foaming toothpaste. The reason behind was psychological, most people who used non foaming toothpaste felt that their teeth were not enough clean, while some felt the brushing was incomplete and hence reversed to foaming toothpaste.

But is there any reason why a toothpaste should foam? Some folks argue as much, calling it “an important aspect of toothpaste.”

Foam helps distribute the cleansing ingredients throughout your mouth, including between teeth, and helps remove plaque and other debris from the mouth.

Evidence doesn’t really seem to support its importance, though.

For instance, a 2016 study in Clinical Oral Investigations found no difference between foaming and non-foaming toothpaste with respect to plaque (biofilm) removal and the health of the gums. Both were effective.

A similar study the following year in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene reached a similar conclusion, comparing pastes with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), the most common foaming agent, to those without.

No significant differences could be observed with respect to the effect on plaque and gingivitis between SLS-containing and SLS-free dentifrice containing enzymes, colostrum and low concentration zinc.

Yet both also found that participants preferred the SLS pastes for their flavor, “freshness,” and, yes, the foaming effect.

Now, in so far as those things help encourage a person to brush the full two minutes twice daily that dentists recommend, they’re great. On the downside, SLS appears to be not so great for the rest of your mouth.

The main reason SLS is put into toothpaste is for the foam it creates. It doesn’t do anything else – well, except make orange juice taste terrible right after you’ve brushed. And damage the soft tissues of the mouth. As one dentist recently reported in a letter to the BDJ,

Recently, a systematic review reported on SLS based dentifrices and their influence on recurrent aphthous stomatitis. The results also mentioned that SLS-free dentifrices showed significant reduction on number, duration, episodes and pain among recurrent aphthous ulceration (Sutton’s disease) patients. In addition, SLS has been linked with other adverse effects likely to compromise oral health such as local irritation of mucosa leading to desquamation. Due to desquamation the integrity of the oral mucosa is compromised, thus initiating aphthous stomatitis. Globally, aphthous stomatitis is reported as being among the most common oral mucosal pathologies.

To put it in plain English, evidence suggests that SLS may damage cells, leading to recurring canker sores – and that patients with mouth ulcers improved after switching to an SLS-free toothpaste.

It can also increase mouth dryness and make the oral environment more acidic.

We recommend that you opt for SLS-free, as well as fluoride-free, products for cleaning your teeth – if you choose to use a product at all. For research also has shown that toothpaste actually makes little difference on plaque (biofilm) removal. Brush with the proper technique, and you’ll be doing a good job either way.

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Biological Dental Health in 2019 – A Last Look Back

It might be safe to say that 2019 was the year of the root canal – or, rather, the year of surging interest in the potential impact of root canal treatment on overall health and well-being.

x-ray showing root canal toothAnd for that, you can thank the 2018 documentary film Root Cause, which made it onto Netflix and Amazon Prime early in the year, much to the dismay of the American Association of Endodontists, the American Dental Association, and other orthordox organizations.

Suddenly, dentists everywhere were reporting a flood of phone calls from folks concerned about their root canal teeth. They wanted them all out. They wondered if it would help “cure” their current health problems or keep chronic conditions from arising in the first place. They wanted answers.

And our blog was one place they came looking for them – even after Netflix and Amazon caved in to industry pressure and removed the film from their catalog. Three of the ten most popular posts this past year dealt directly with the film and its fallout. Two more dealt with the importance of addressing the biological terrain before any dental or other health burdens such as root canal teeth, one of the key points missed by the filmmakers in their oversimplification of the subject.

  1. When It Comes to Your Health, Are You Deciding – or Letting a Movie Decide for You? Some Thoughts on Health Choices After Seeing Root Cause
  2. But Does Fluoride Stop Decay? Not So Much, Suggests New Study
  3. You’ve Seen Root Cause. Now What?
  4. Use Probiotics Wisely
  5. The Great Toothbrush Debate, Part 572
  6. Another Toothbrush Option: Is It Worth It?
  7. Root Canal Teeth & the Need for a Terrain-Based Approach
  8. It’s Not Just Vaccines
  9. Reason to Steer Clear of Chemical Cleaners
  10. Why We Start with the Biological Terrain: Sarah’s Story

The terrain, as they say, is everything.

All of us here at Dr. V’s office wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and a healthy start to 2020! See you back here after the first of the year!

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Another New Natural Toothpaste Arrives. Is It Worth a Try?

“The toothpaste aisle is the worst.”

There are only like two toothpaste companies and they make about 1,000 different types. The Crest and Colgate racks are clearly delineated by their conveniently — maybe too conveniently — recognizable color patterns. Each of Crest’s 500 toothpaste varieties comes inside a box that is some shade of blue. Colgate is red and white, whether the product is best at removing plaque, stopping gingivitis, whitening your teeth or some type of new breath-freshening innovation that could even do something special like combat coffee stains or help you stop smoking cigarettes.

Why the [bleep] are there so many different types of toothpaste, seriously?

Seriously.

And that’s just talking about the kinds you might find in your nearest drug or big box store. Then there are all the “natural” pastes, powders, and tabs available in organic markets, body care shops, online, and at your dentist’s office. There are even “luxury” toothpastes. (Yes, really.)

And now another has entered the market.

At the recent meeting of the International Academy of Biological Dentistry & Medicine, we received samples of a couple products from a new company called Frau Fowler: a tooth powder and a tube of tablets described as a “breath freshener and mouth cleanser.”

The story behind the company is a rather interesting one, which apparently started with a trip to a biological dentist that helped turn its founder’s health around:

The tabs we received were the “Fire Spice” flavor – that “fire” coming courtesy of a blend of cinnamon, clove, peppermint, and cardamom oils. All of these are known antimicrobials that have proven effective against common oral bacteria.

Sur'Se oral health tabsThey also contain stevia and xylitol, zero-calorie sweeteners that seem to be protective against decay.

The other key ingredients are sea salt and Himalayan pink salt. Not only does salt help reduce oral pathogens by creating a more alkaline environment in the mouth; it also delivers trace minerals that, unlike fluoride, your teeth actually need.

Trying the product, we found that the lozenges crumble easily and cleanly, seeming to leave no debris on or between the teeth. The taste is strong, pleasant, and refreshing.

Truth be told, this is actually a pretty neat idea. While it’s no replacement for proper brushing and flossing, it could be a help when you’re on-the-go and not able to do your whole hygiene routine relatively soon after eating.

There are other flavors available – Berry Good, Pom Chill, Birch Chill, and Peppermint Chamomile – which contain other botanicals known to support good oral health, though a couple also contain the somewhat mysterious ingredient “natural flavor.”

Frau Fowler Mouth Medic Tooth PowderThe tooth powder we tried out contained the same botanical blend as the Fire Spice tabs, along with the same salts and baking soda. Here, we found that less was better than the “generous” amount that the instructions recommend. “Generous” was a little overwhelming – at least at first. Maybe it was the unfamiliarity of brushing with a salt-based powder that made it seem a little too intense.

Still, just a light coating on the brush seems sufficient. After all, the main reason for a tooth paste or powder or tab is to provide a bit of abrasion to help remove sticky biofilm (plaque) from your teeth. Anything else it provides – minerals, botanicals, probiotics – is extra. The mechanical action of brushing is what does most of the work.

Here, too, we found the overall flavor pleasant and refreshing, and the faint lingering flavor of salt afterward produced a natural feeling of cleanliness. That said, if you’ve only brushed with minty, foaming pastes before, it might feel a bit odd at first and take some getting used to.

Like the tabs, the powders come in several flavors, including Orange Love, Licorice Mint, Power Mint, and Citrus Mint. They also have a blend with activated charcoal for whitening. The oil blends differ, but all make sense for supporting oral health.

All products are fluoride-free and gluten-free. Most ingredients are organic.

All in all, these seem to be good quality products for home hygiene at a reasonable price. We can’t say that we see a big reason to switch, especially if you like what you’re using now and it’s working for you. But if you’re looking to try something new, Frau Fowler seems a brand worth trying out.

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Originally from Gary M. Verigin, DDS, inc.