How to Get Rid of Canker Sores Naturally

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores Naturally
Have you ever had a spot inside your mouth, perhaps on the inside of your cheek or tongue, that was painful and white? Most likely, this was a canker sore. For some people, it can be difficult to get rid of canker sores quickly and naturally. Here are some easy-to-apply solutions that anyone can use to help quickly get rid of canker sores. Canker sores also called aphthous ulcers, are small, shallow sores on the inside of the mouth. They appear most commonly on the inner cheek, the tongue surface, and even the gum tissue. These painful open sores tend to have a reddish inflamed ring around the sensitive white inner surface. To understand how to naturally get rid of canker sores, it’s helpful to first briefly discuss the circumstances that provoke their creation. That way, we can try to avoid them going forward. Western medicine hasn’t discovered the root cause of canker sores yet. However, it has identified several contributing factors that can increase the risk of developing these pesky sores.

Main triggers…

The main triggers for canker sores include:
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Stress
  • Acidic foods
  • Trauma to cheek from biting it, braces, or ill-fitting dentures
  • Food intolerances or allergies
  • Gut malabsorption issues
  • Poor oral hygiene
As you can see, canker sores show up when the body is under some form of stress, whether that’s psychological, nutritional, or physical trauma.

What can be done to get rid of canker sores quickly? 

Navigating the path to optimal oral health often involves applying strategies both ‘in the mouth’ and the form of ‘whole body immune support’. Getting rid of canker sores is no different. Below you’ll find several ‘in the mouth’ and system-wide strategies to help you along your path. We start with some simpler strategies. If you want to ‘step up your game’ when it comes to addressing and preventing canker sores (or if you’re motivated by some serious pain from recurring flare-ups) you may want to try some of the later ideas as well.

1. Keep your mouth clean. 

Health-giving oral hygiene is about balancing our oral flora and keeping the mouth clean, but not sterile. The goal isn’t to create a ‘scorched earth’ effect and eradicate all microbes in the mouth (after all, some of them help to support our health!). Instead, we’re trying to use oral hygiene products and strategies that help reduce the risk of ‘thug bugs’ colonizing in the mouth. Why? These thug bugs are implicated with issues like tooth decay and gum disease, and they also encourage an acidic oral pH, which slows the healing of canker sores. Learning how to brush your teeth, floss consciously, and clean your tongue are all excellent strategies to reduce the thug bug numbers and support optimal oral health. It’s also important to only use products with ingredients that are designed to help support, heal, and soothe (without any fillers, coloring, or other junk that might wind up irritating the mouth and/or body). Another (ancient) strategy that helps maintain a clean mouth and encourages a balanced oral pH is oil pulling. We dedicated an entire article to this oral hygiene strategy that has stood the test of time: How oil pulling helps improve oral health and whole-body wellness. If you’d like to take a deeper dive on oil pulling, when you should or shouldn’t do it, and how to do it properly, we invite you to download our FREE Ultimate Oil Pulling Guidebook here.

2.  Eat consciously. 

If you have a particular spot where you tend to regularly chomp on your cheek (which can easily become a canker sore afterward), be sure you increase your awareness while chewing. Eating while reading or while watching TV are common ways to increase your risk of accidentally biting your cheek (or tongue–OUCH). Once the tissue is traumatized by a chomp, the risk of developing a canker sore in that area goes up substantially.

3. Reduce acidic foods. 

Speaking of eating, reducing acidic foods can help create a more balanced oral pH, which can help canker sores to heal. I have to be conscious when a plate of ripe pineapple is in the house, as I’ve found that if I eat more than a few chunks, my risk of canker sores goes way up. If you like to consume naturally acidic foods for their alkalinizing benefit in the body, we invite you to check out our article on how to drink kombucha and not destroy your teeth. In it, we share tips for how to benefit from naturally acidic foods (like lemon water or apple cider vinegar) without creating damage in the mouth.

4. Cut your sugar intake WAY back.

Sugar consumption can play a role in canker sores and a bunch of other whole-body issues. It contributes to nutritional deficiency, raises stress by increasing blood sugar fluctuation, causes the mouth pH to be acidic, and directly undermines our body’s ability to heal itself. This is especially the case when it comes to sweet, between-meal snacks (and beverages!)–they spike your blood sugar and suppress our hunger sensations for real nourishment (which, over time, makes us more nutritionally deficient). If you have to pick just one action from this list, cut the sweets.

5. Eliminate wheat and other gluten-containing foods from your diet. 

Researchers have found a very interesting correlation between semi-regular canker sores, IBD (irritable bowel disorder), and celiac disease. A canker sore is an ulcer in the mouth, and the mouth is the start of the digestive tract. So, it makes sense that if you are sensitive to gluten (as is the case for people with either IBD or celiac), then canker sores in the mouth might be a sign of what’s happening ‘downstream’ in the small intestine.

Wrapping up…

If you get canker sores fairly regularly, take note of the triggers that seem to stress your system. Once you identify foods or other potential imbalance-causing stimuli, you can avoid these triggers and help prevent painful canker sores from erupting again.

How to avoid the 4 most common flossing mistakes?

How to avoid the 4 most common flossing mistakes?
We all get that flossing is good for our oral health. Research even shows that flossing helps reduce our risk of heart disease and other big hitters. But did you know that flossing, if done incorrectly, could harm your oral health and even undermine your whole body health, too? Here are 4 common flossing mistakes and some tips on how to floss correctly so you can avoid these costly errors that can undermine your health. Flossing mistake #1: Zombie flossing The first mistake most of us make while flossing is to just go through the routine without paying attention to what we’re doing or what the floss can tell us about the current state of our oral health. We talk a lot about the importance of bringing awareness to our oral hygiene habits. We coined the term ‘conscious flossing‘ many years ago to describe this idea that we can bring more awareness to such a mundane habit as flossing our teeth. The problems with flossing unconsciously (zombie flossing) are that we don’t gather the precious information that can be gained from ‘reading’ the used floss segments, and we stand to cause all sorts of damage by using an incorrect flossing technique. So, let’s start by paying a little attention while we floss. Yes, we do sometimes floss while doing other things, like watching a movie. But we can still pay attention to what our flossing session tells us. The solution to zombie flossing Simply pay attention to any colors and smells that appear on the segment of floss that was used between two teeth. Rather than ‘snap and run’ to the next pair of teeth, take a moment to ‘read the floss’ and see what’s going on between the two teeth you just flossed around. Do you have any color on the used floss segment? Does it smell? Did you have color/smell here the last time you flossed? Paying just a little attention to what our floss tells us about any potential infection between two teeth (especially molars!) can be a very helpful first line of defense; we can use this information to take action and stop any gum infection from growing. Flossing mistake #2: Using too little floss Ok, we are a pretty thrifty family. We reuse plastic bags and tend to hoard glass bottles. But when it comes to flossing, we each use at least 18″ per session. Here’s why… Have you ever been doing your flossing routine and gotten to the last few teeth but have run out of floss? So you just ‘back up’ a few winds from your ‘used floss finger’ and finish up, right? Well, doing so just may have transferred thug bugs from one infected gum pocket into another part of your mouth that’s not infected yet. Yeah, the bugs do move around the mouth pretty well on their own, but flossing is unfortunately an excellent way to ‘plant seeds’ of thug bugs into the gum pocket, where they can multiply and thrive. It’s just not worth the risk. Flossing mistake #3: Using vigorous, aggressive motions with floss pulled tightly The two main reasons we floss are:
  • to remove any food debris and plaque from between our teeth
  • to disorganize any thug bugs and prevent them from colonizing in any gum pockets
While accomplishing the two objectives above, let’s remember that our gum tissue likes to be stimulated and massaged. However, our gum tissue does not like to be tortured. Snapping into the gum pocket quickly and banging on the gum tissue aggressively are sure ways to cause damage to our gums over time. Habitual torture to gums will cause the tissue to recoil and turn into gum recession. The solution to using a vigorous flossing technique Rather than taking an MMA (mixed martial arts) approach to flossing, try flossing with an aikido or tai chi mindset. Allow the floss to be a bit slack while flossing rather than maintaining a super tightrope tension on the floss. Holding a slack floss will allow you to wrap the floss gently around the curve of each tooth, and this will do a much better job removing plaque and disrupting any bugs hanging around. Once in the gum pocket and ‘hugging’ the curve of the tooth, gently but firmly slide the floss (with a soft level of tension on the string) down as far as the floss will reach (remember, no banging on the gum) and back up the tooth again. Do this 2-3 times. Then, move to the other ‘side’ of the contact between the two teeth and repeat. Flossing mistake #4: Irregular flossing habits Some experts speak out against flossing. Most of the experts in the ‘anti flossing’ camp reference the same research that suggests that flossing can drive bacteria from the mouth into the bloodstream and cause inflammation of heart tissue (called ‘infective endocarditis’). Here’s the challenge: if we don’t floss regularly, populations of thug bugs grow and strengthen, which causes the gum tissue to become inflamed and bleed easily (gingivitis). It’s precisely this state of inflammation that allows the thug bugs to enter the bloodstream. Regular flossing stops gingivitis in its tracks. So, the problem with irregular flossing habits is we most likely are allowing bad bug populations to build, and this allows gum inflammation to develop. If we floss at that point, we are increasing our risk of driving bugs into our bloodstream. The solution to irregular flossing Simple enough, really: regular flossing. While daily flossing helps, the research suggests that at least every other day is ‘regular’ enough to keep bad bug populations from colonizing the gum line. When you consider just how effective flossing is in lowering the risk of disease throughout the whole body, it becomes clear that flossing is a simple yet important habit that we should incorporate into our daily routine. How to maximize your benefit from flossing Let’s sum this all up in a quick ‘To-Do’ list:
  1. Floss consciously. Check for color and smell after each contact.
  2. Use plenty of floss so you can use a clean segment for each contact.
  3. Floss your teeth using ‘tai chi’ hands rather than a ‘no mercy’ attitude.
  4. Allow the floss to wrap around each tooth to clean more effectively.
  5. Floss regularly, at least every other day.

Why cleaning the tongue is the most underrated oral hygiene habit?

Why cleaning the tongue is the most underrated oral hygiene habit?
In this article, we’re going to explore the often-overlooked oral hygiene habit of cleaning the tongue as well as the important role that tongue cleaning plays in supporting greater oral and whole-body health. We often emphasize that the health of the mouth plays a central role in the health of the whole body, so it’s important to balance our oral flora by being good conductors of the symphony of microbes in our mouths. In essence, a critical step in navigating the path to greater whole-body health is to establish and maintain a healthy microbial balance at the beginning of the digestive tract: our mouth. So, let’s start by exploring why cleaning the tongue plays such a big part in any holistic oral hygiene routine and how it can impact our whole-body health. Scientists have found that the mouth may function as a reservoir for microbes that can cause gut inflammation. Why is this so important? Well, like Hippocrates said around 2500 years ago, “All disease begins in the gut.” So, if our gut is unhealthy, it’s impossible for the body to be healthy. Research suggests that common oral microbes may perpetuate and aggravate gut inflammation. If left unchecked, this could result in, or at least contribute to, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and leaky gut.

The mouth is the beginning…

The digestive tract actually begins in the mouth. The mouth chews food, breaking it down into smaller pieces and mixing it with our saliva (which contains digestive enzymes), and then the masticated food travels down the throat and into the stomach. Then the stomach, spleen, and pancreas create fuel for our systems by digesting the food, the small intestine absorbs nutrients from that digested food, and the remaining food waste is eliminated through the colon (large intestine). The big point here, the digestive tract is also home to 80% of our immune system and the mouth is the beginning of this whole system. This is why holistic oral health strategies like oil pulling go a long way toward helping us have a healthy gut microbiome. You see, we swallow a lot of oral microbes every day with our saliva. If the mouth is healthy and has a balanced oral flora, bathing the digestive tract with saliva definitely supports our overall health. However, if the mouth is out of balance and ‘thug bugs’ are running the show, everything ‘downstream’ can suffer from this imbalanced mouth ecology. For example, overpopulation of the bacteria klebsiella in the mouth can wind up causing problems in the gut. Remember, as we swallow, the bacteria hitch a ride through the rest of our digestive tract. Research has found that when strains of klebsiella populated the gut, they caused a strong inflammatory immune response in some of the test subjects.

How does this relate to cleaning the tongue?

Well, klebsiella is facultative anaerobic bacteria. That means that while they can live in environments with regular levels of oxygen, they really thrive in low-oxygen environments. And where is the most prolific low oxygen environment located in the mouth? Yep. When the tongue isn’t cleaned regularly, it creates a low-oxygen environment where bacteria like Klebsiella can thrive. In fact, the majority of the microbes in our mouths live on our tongues. As we’ve shared before, the first strategy for balancing our oral flora is to maintain thin biofilms in the mouth. Thick biofilms create low-oxygen environments, which enables thug bugs like klebsiella to build their numbers. However, using oral hygiene techniques to maintain thin biofilms on our teeth and tongue creates an oxygen-rich environment, which discourages thug bugs while simultaneously encouraging health-giving microbes to thrive.

How to clean the tongue…

Cleaning the tongue is really simple, but it involves a little more than just brushing your tongue. Step one is to get the ‘gunk’ (biofilm) off of our tongue in order to remove the low-oxygen environment. And brushing the tongue simply doesn’t remove the gunk. Our preferred device for step one is a tongue cleaner, and oral hygiene tool that’s been used for centuries in the traditional Indian medicine practice called, ‘Ayurveda’. Take your tongue cleaner (or spoon, with the bowl facing downwards, towards your tongue) and reach as far back on your tongue as is comfortable. Then, using gentle pressure, drag your tool down your tongue from the back (near your throat) to the front (towards the tip of your tongue). Then rinse the gunk off your tongue cleaner or spoon. If you’ve never done this before, please, go do it right now. You’ll never stop cleaning your tongue once you see the sheer volume of biofilm that comes off a tongue that hasn’t been scraped regularly. Do this quick scrape 3-4 times and then spit and rinse. Not only will your mouth be healthier, but many people also find that this increases their ability to taste subtle flavors in foods.

3 Easy Ways to Keep Thug Bugs From Growing on Your Toothbrush

3 Easy Ways to Keep Thug Bugs From Growing on Your Toothbrush
Have you ever looked at your toothbrush under a microscope? I have, and it’s pretty freaky when you see all the little goobers that are clinging to the bristles. A toothbrush is a great place for thug bugs to hang out, just waiting for another chance to recolonize your mouth. To stop your toothbrushes from becoming a petri dish, you simply need to understand the environment that these thug bugs need to thrive. By removing one or more of these conditions, you can rest easy with the knowledge that your toothbrushes are not being used as thug bug nurseries. Fortunately, it’s really simple to keep your toothbrush free from thug bugs without having to spend any money on those newfangled toothbrush sanitizers.

Getting to know thug bugs…

The bacteria implicated with gum disease are called ‘gram-negative bacteria’. They are anaerobic, which simply means that they thrive in low-oxygen environments. If it had to be described as the perfect space for thug bugs, it would be a warm, dark, moist, low-oxygen environment. This is why thug bugs grow so well in oral gum pockets. Knowing this, it’s easy to stop your toothbrush from being a thug bug sanctuary. All you need to do is remove one or more of the conditions that they require. Here are three simple strategies you can use to keep your toothbrush germ-free.

1. Let your toothbrush fully dry out between brushings.

To allow your toothbrush to fully dry out before you use it again, you need to have more than one brush and rotate through them during the week. This allows each brush to fully dry out before it’s used again. Since thug bugs require a moist environment, allowing the brush to dry fully helps to prevent them from living on your brush.

2. Give your brush a sunbath.

Sunlight is a powerful cleaner/disinfectant. Leaving your brush on a sunny windowsill for the day will allow it to fully dry and it will also take advantage of the disinfecting power of natural sunlight. The best part about this strategy is that it’s free. So, you don’t have to purchase one of those fancy ‘brush sanitizers’ and wonder whether it’s doing its job to clean your brush.

3. Soak the bristles in hydrogen peroxide overnight.

For anyone who doesn’t have a sunny windowsill and who only has one toothbrush, here’s a third option to keep it free from thug bugs. Just add some peroxide (3% is fine) into a small glass and put the brush head (bristles down) into the peroxide overnight. Peroxide is a very oxygen-rich environment. So, it does a very good job of robbing these low-oxygen-environment-loving thug bugs of a major condition they need to survive. When you’re ready to use your brush, simply remove it from the peroxide, give it a quick rinse with water, and you’re all set to begin your brushing routine.

But never try to clean it in the dishwasher or microwave…

One more note, never try to clean your toothbrush by putting it in the dishwasher or microwave. The high temperatures will damage the brush and you may also wind up damaging your dishwasher and/or microwave.

Ensuring better oral health for the whole family

Ensuring better oral health for the whole family
When it comes to increasing oral health awareness in the family, it’s important to remember that brushing and flossing aren’t enough to attain or maintain good dental health. 98% of every man, woman, and child in the United States has some form of oral disease. And among those folks, 90% of adults and 65% of 15-year-olds specifically have signs of active gum disease. So if brushing and flossing alone created oral health and most people did at least one of these things habitually, wouldn’t these numbers be much, much lower? Parents want the best for their children at all times. For example, many of us were raised on Twinkies and Lucky Charms (actually, I preferred Ding Dongs and Trix 🙂 –just name your poison). However, parents today want to give their children the finest start possible, especially if they themselves did not have the best nutritious start. Circling back to our oral hygiene routine, it’s vital to note that children learn a great deal from seeing their parents go about their daily lives. As a result, taking charge of our dental health is the best thing we can do to enhance oral health for everyone in the family.

What is conscious flossing?

The term “conscious flossing” describes bringing awareness and attention to the routine habit of flossing. By paying attention while flossing, a lot can be learned about what’s going on in our mouths, and this information can have a huge impact on the ability to create greater oral health.

How to floss consciously

1.  Start with a piece of floss that’s long enough for you to be able to use a new segment of floss between each set of teeth. 2.  Stop and look at the floss after each flossing point. Look for any discoloration on the floss. Any color (blood or yellowish color) is a clear sign that you have an active infection in the gum pockets around those teeth. 3.  Step three requires some courage, so be strong! 🙂 Smell the floss. Yep, smell it after each contact you clean. A bad smell on the floss is also a sign of an active infection in the gum pockets around those teeth. And yes, if you find any smelly floss, that directly contributes to the smell from your mouth that your partner has come to recognize as normal. 4.  As you floss, feel for any pain, sensitivity, or signs of swelling.

Wrapping up…

Once your children see you floss consciously, they will begin to do the same. Everyone in the family will have a better understanding of how to create greater oral health in their own life. That’s what we call a win/win for all!!!

Beyond Brushing – Taking care of your oral health

Beyond Brushing - Taking care of your oral health
Brushing your teeth every morning and night doesn’t guarantee you’re giving your mouth all the attention it needs. Having a thorough dental care routine that goes beyond just brushing your teeth, and ensuring you have the right tools in your bathroom cupboard, can take your oral health to another level and give you a good clean. Here are our top tips for ensuring a healthy mouth and enamel.

Why is enamel so important?

The enamel on your teeth is a protective outer layer on each tooth. It is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in your body. Every time you eat and drink, you expose your teeth to acids and bacteria that are in your food. This would seriously harm teeth if it weren’t for tooth enamel. It’s the most visible part of the tooth, and it’s what people see when you smile or open your mouth. When enamel is damaged or starts to decay, you cannot restore it: enamel simply doesn’t grow back. Sensitivity to hot and cold foods will occur. Here are a few oral hygiene steps to follow to ensure the maximum upkeep of tooth enamel.

Brush regularly (but not too hard)

Many people brush regularly, but simply don’t brush enough for their teeth to stay clean. It is recommended to brush just before bed and at one other time during the day with fluoride toothpaste. Using an electric toothbrush is better for you and your enamel than manual toothbrushes for several reasons. They are constantly rotating and cleaning as you move over your teeth and they rotate at a far higher speed than you could achieve with your hand, providing a deeper clean. Thus they can help to get rid of surface stains without applying too much pressure on the tooth’s surface.

Use a mouthwash

Drinks high in sugar, like fizzy drinks, are the number one culprits as they are tremendously high in sugar and very acidic. This combination accelerates the loss of your tooth enamel. A good mouthwash can go where toothbrushes and floss can’t to rid your mouth of the same debris that irritates the gum line and causes gingivitis. Add a quality alcohol-free mouthwash to your oral care regime to get the most thorough clean you can, even when you’re on the go.

Pick the correct toothpaste

One common misconception when it comes to oral hygiene and tooth enamel is that teeth whitening formulas are healthy. However, whitening toothpaste that contains peroxide can be too harsh on your enamel due to the peroxide content which can damage your enamel and can cause increased and unwanted sensitivity. Instead, choose a toothpaste that gently removes stains without the use of peroxide. The vital ingredient to protecting your enamel is fluoride, which helps to remineralize your enamel and protects your teeth’s sensitivity.

Floss properly

Like brushing, flossing must be done properly so that, when you reach between teeth, you get to the plaque not reached by your toothbrush. Brushing only gets around 50% of the plaque buildup, so spending a few minutes each day flossing helps to get to those hard-to-reach areas. Ideally, use a floss tape that can be more gentle on gums, and make sure to floss morning and evening.

Cleaning between teeth: the secret behind a healthy smile

Cleaning between teeth: the secret behind a healthy smile
When you think about maintaining a healthy mouth, brushing your teeth should be the top priority. Twice daily toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste is the cornerstone to a healthy smile, but there is one simple addition that can truly transform how healthy your mouth is – and that is interdental cleaning. While toothbrushing is the most effective way to keep your teeth clean, it only reaches 60% of the tooth’s surfaces. Using interdental brushes to clean in between the gaps in your teeth is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to change your smile for the better. Why interdental cleaning is important Dental plaque can build up between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot get to. Over time, this can lead to tooth decay, gum inflammation, and bad breath. To prevent this from happening, it is good to use an interdental brush as part of your daily cleaning routine. An interdental brush is a small brush specially designed to clean between your teeth, where a regular toothbrush does not reach. Daily use of an interdental brush, in addition to regular tooth brushing, is an easy and effective way to keep your gums and teeth fresh and healthy. It’s recommended that you clean between your teeth every day, to keep your mouth fresh and healthy. When you first start cleaning between your teeth, your gums may feel a bit sore and might bleed but do not stop because bleeding gums are often a sign of gum inflammation. If you do not notice an improvement within a few days, contact your dental professional. Picking the right size Interdental brushes come in many different sizes, and it can be difficult to know which one is most suitable for your mouth. For the best advice, ask a dental professional for their recommendation. In the meantime, here are a few tips to get you started… · Look in the mirror and insert the brush between the teeth, close to the gums. Start with the smallest size and work up until the brush bristles touch the tooth surface and the gum tissue. · The brush should have a snug fit but the wire, although plastic coated, should not touch the sides of the teeth or the gums. Never force the brush into space. · Once inserted, move the interdental brush to its full length back and forth about 2-3 times. Make sure to clean all the spaces between the teeth once a day. · You are likely to need two to three different sizes or the combination of one or two brushes and floss – it all depends on the spaces between the teeth, which normally vary throughout the mouth. How to use interdental brushes To get the most out of interdental cleaning, it is all about the correct technique. The good news is that using interdental brushes is relatively easy to pick up. Once mastered, it is a healthy habit that will last a lifetime. 1.         Use a straight interdental brush between the front teeth Insert the brush gently between the teeth. Do not force the brush into space; work it in gently or choose a smaller size. Move the interdental brush full length back and forth a few times. 2.         If using a small interdental brush on the back teeth If using a small interdental brush you can curve the soft neck slightly. By adding pressure with your finger, it makes it easier to reach between the back teeth. Or try a long-handled interdental brush. 3.         If using a bigger interdental brush on the back teeth When using interdental brushes of a larger size, access between the back teeth may be improved if you slightly curve the wire. The interdental brush will last longer if you do not straighten or bend the brush at another angle.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Causes of Tooth Decay

It’s critically important to help heal the misunderstandings that our culture has around how to navigate the path to greater oral health. 


Let’s study 5 aspects of how diet and nutrition can impact oral health. 

5 dietary recommendations to positively impact oral health

  • Have sufficient fat-soluble vitamins in our diet (vitamins A, D, E, and K2)
  • Have plenty of vitamins B and C in our diet
  • Have sufficient minerals in our diet
  • Avoid too many foods that are high in acid
  • Avoid eating too much sugar (in all forms) 

In this article, let’s explore the inner workings of diet’s impact on oral health.


To put into perspective the role that diet plays in helping or undermining our oral health, this first article is going to explore the work of Dr. Ralph Steinman. 


Dr. Steinman was a dental researcher in the 1970s who did extensive research to determine the cause of tooth decay. He published his work in his amazing book, Dentinal Fluid Transport. He conducted tens of thousands of experiments on lab rats to determine the cause of tooth decay. What he found may surprise you.


What is dentinal fluid flow? (and how does it impact my oral health?)


Fundamentally, what Dr. Steinman discovered is that our teeth are alive.


Contrary to the popular cultural belief that teeth are like small rocks, the fact is that our teeth have fluid running through them, and this is called ‘dentinal fluid flow’.


The dentin is the layer of tissue in each of our teeth that’s just between the hard outer (enamel) surface and the inner soft tooth pulp.


Dr. Steinman discovered that this dentinal fluid flow is part of the blood circulation that goes into and out of each of our teeth.


He also discovered that when the dentinal fluid is flowing from the inside of the tooth outward, the teeth are very resistant to decay. However, when the fluid flow reverses and flows from the outer surface of the tooth towards the inner portion of the tooth, decay sets in very quickly.


The thug bugs in our mouths contribute to tooth decay. If the dentinal fluid is flowing the healthy way, this flow prevents the thug bugs from being able to decay the teeth; the flow washes them out of the teeth. It’s like they have to swim upstream to get into the teeth. On the other hand, if the dentinal fluid flow reverses, then it’s like the thug bugs get a free pass on a highway right into our teeth! 

Dr. Steinman found that dentinal fluid flow is controlled by the parotid gland, a part of our salivary system that is located in the region behind our lower jaw.  Then he discovered that the parotid gland is controlled by the part of our brain called the hypothalamus.  For the sake of simplicity, let’s refer to this relationship between dentinal fluid flow, the parotid gland, and the hypothalamus as ‘dentinal fluid flow’.

With these pieces in place, Dr. Steinman’s work helped us to understand that a healthy, balanced diet not only helps to control the thug bugs responsible for dental decay, but also helps to maintain a healthy, living tissue within the teeth that can help resist decay through healthy dentinal fluid flow.

11 tips to cut down on sugar

11 tips to cut down on sugar
It comes as no surprise that sugar-related dental problems are still the most widespread cause of poor oral health and disease. The message is clear and simple though, reducing the amount of sugar that is in our diets will help to reduce the damage it can cause to our teeth, with the bonus of improving our waistlines along the way. With sugar-related dental problems being one of the most common complaints when visiting the dentist, Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, CEO at the Oral Health Foundation, shares his top tips to help with our ever-growing addiction to sugar:

1.Sugar by any other name is still sugar

When we think of sugar we probably picture the white stuff you pop in our tea. But there are many ‘hidden’ sugars in lots of things we would not even think of. Sugar can go by many names and recognizing them is the first step to avoiding them. There are too many to list but some to look out for are; sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, molasses, hydrolyzed starch, and corn syrup.

2.Have a smarter breakfast

A certain celebrity chef recently brought attention to the dangerously high levels of sugar in some breakfast cereals, with some shockingly made up of almost a third of the sugar. Switching out for a lower sugar cereal or one with no added sugar, and not adding any yourselves, will have a massive impact on your dental health and your health overall. Filling up at breakfast time is also a great way to avoid those unhealthy snacks throughout the day.

3.Snack happy

It’s 10:30 and we get that urge. It’s a little too far away from lunch and we need something to tide us over. Don’t reach for the biscuit barrel, a handful of nuts will provide that energy boost you need. Remember it’s not only about how much sugar we eat when it comes to your teeth it’s also about how often, so try opting for a sugar-free alternative whenever possible.

4.Fat-free is not trouble-free

Many products are marketed as a ‘healthy alternative’, but those claims on the packaging are only telling part of the story. Often products such as fat-free yogurts still contain high levels of sugars in the form of fructose or refined sugar.

5.Work out some ground rules

Let’s be honest, we don’t need a sweet dessert every day! By setting a set of simple ground rules we can make some simple lifestyle changes that can have a huge effect. Simple things like not eating in the hour before you go to bed, avoiding adding sugar to anything, and making sure we avoid dessert a few times a week soon add up.

6.Get fresh

When it comes to our teeth fresh whole foods are best, this all comes down to stickiness. By smashing up a banana and strawberry into a smoothie it releases the sugars which can coat the whole tooth, even in the tiny gaps, eating them whole helps to avoid this problem. And when it comes to stickiness dried fruit is a big no-no, this stuff can get right in those gaps giving the sugar a huge amount of time to cause problems.

7.Set a quota

When it comes to our teeth, it’s not only about how much sugar we eat, it’s how often we have it. It takes an hour for our mouth to return to a neutral state after eating or drinking and every time we have another mouthful that time starts again. Constant grazing can leave us with a toothless grin so if we do need a sugar fix, keep it to mealtimes and give our mouth a break.

8.Hit the hay early

Being a night owl can spell bad news for our mouth and this is all down to a routine. People who stay up late are more likely to skip brushing before bed and with the added midnight snacking this could spell disaster for our teeth.

9.The most important meal of the day

How many of us have skipped breakfast and then yearn for that sugary fix to get us through the day? This comes down again to giving our mouths a break to recover, having a filling and nutritious breakfast is the best way to start your day right.

10.Drinking like a fish

Whether it’s that pint of cider, a glass of prosecco, or even a cheeky G&T, the sugar in them can have a huge impact on our oral health. Try to moderate the number of alcoholic drinks you have and also have some water nearby to help wash down your tipple of choice. It helps wash some of the sugar from the mouth and our head will thank you for the next day too.

11.Keep an eye on your coffee order

Our double chocolaty chip crème frappuccino or tiramisu latte with extra whipped cream from our favorite coffee place may be delicious, and fun to say, but let’s be honest we know it’s laden with sugar. If we do need a caffeine fix and have a sweet tooth try to keep it to mealtimes, or we could just stick with an Americano or espresso.

How eating disorders can affect your mouth

How eating disorders can affect your mouth

Written by- Oral Health Foundation

How eating disorders can affect your mouth: and how your dental team can help spot early signs

Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder all have negative effects on the mouth, their symptoms can range from slight to severe and dental professionals are often among the first to identify possible red flags.

Multiple studies have shown eating disorders can affect oral health. That’s why the Oral Health Foundation is supporting Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

In this blog post, let’s look at what the main symptoms of each condition are, how they can affect the health of your mouth, and how your dental team can help you.


What is anorexia?

People with anorexia nervosa limit their intake of food and drink and have a fear of gaining weight. Many people with anorexia attribute their self-worth to their caloric intake and punish themselves for eating too much or eating the “wrong types” of foods.

What is bulimia?

Bulimia nervosa is a binge eating disorder and is diagnosed based on binge-purge patterns of eating. To meet the criteria for a diagnosis of bulimia you must be binging (taking in an excessive amount of calories in one sitting) and purging (expelling food/calories through excessive exercise, taking laxatives, or forcing yourself to vomit) for a prolonged period of time on a regular basis.

People with bulimia may also experience symptoms such as tiredness, bloating and/or constipation, abdominal pain, and irregular menstrual cycles.

What is a binge eating disorder?

Binge eaters have previously been classified as food addicts. They will often take in large quantities of food and/or drink without feeling like they are in control of what they are doing, these binges can be planned ahead of time with the sufferer buying “special” foods to binge on, or they could be spontaneous.

Binge eaters are not “overindulging” on foods or simply just having large portions, these are not enjoyable experiences and often cause a lot of distress and embarrassment for sufferers.

Characteristics of a binge eating episode include eating faster than normal, eating until feeling uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food when you don’t feel hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment at the amount being eaten, and feelings of disgust, shame, or guilt during/after the binge.

How can eating disorders affect the health of your mouth?


All of these eating disorders affect your health, have negative effects on sufferers’ bodies, and should be treated as serious health conditions.

Potential negative effects of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies can cause the body to shut down and not function properly and that will also be reflected in the mouth. Oral signs of eating disorders can include:


  • Enamel erosion
  • Dry mouth
  • Enlarged salivary glands
  • Cracked/dry lips
  • Mouth sores
  • Tooth decay
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bruising and/or injury to the mouth