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June 30, 2018

Candida Infection of the Mouth

Oral candidiasis -- also known as Oral thrush, is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of your mouth and tongue. Candida is a normal organism in your mouth, but sometimes it can overgrow and cause symptoms. When the fungus begins to grow uncontrollably, an infection can develop.

Oral Candida

Oral thrush most often occurs in infants and toddlers, people receiving cancer therapies, diabetics, and anyone with a compromised immune system. If you have any history of taking antibiotics or heavy metal toxicity (including mercury fillings),  you are a prime candidate for a Candida infection. 

There are many cases of patients with a long history of “stubborn” candida overgrowth and yeast infections that couldn’t be easily healed. Only when the heavy metal toxicity problem was addressed, the candida overgrowth became easier to manage. This is very common in people that have mercury fillings or a known exposure to mercury.

Oral Symptoms of Candidiasis:
• Creamy white lesions on your tongue, inner cheeks, and sometimes on the roof of your mouth, gums and tonsils
• Slightly raised lesions with a cottage cheese-like appearance
• Redness, burning or soreness that may be severe enough to cause difficulty eating or swallowing
• Slight bleeding if the lesions are rubbed or scraped
• Cracking and redness at the corners of your mouth
• A cottony feeling in your mouth
• Loss of taste
• Redness, irritation and pain under dentures (denture stomatitis)

Other Symptoms of Candidiasis:
• fatigue
• skin issues
• sugar cravings
• autoimmune disease
• digestive issues
• joint pain
• headache
• brain fog

Some Simple Remedies for Treating Oral Thrush:
1. Salt water rinses
2. Oral probiotics throughout the day: yogurt, manuka honey, probiotics lozenges
3. Coconut Oil Pulling
4. Apple Cider Vinegar to maintain proper pH and increase good bacteria in the mouth
5. Tea Tree Oil or Peppermint Oil rinse. Gargle with few drops added to warm water
6. Baking Soda to maintain good pH by neutralizing acids in the mouth
7. Chewing garlic
8. Grapefruit seed extract rinse
9. Aloe vera applied directly to the lesions
10. Visit your dentist for treatment with ozone or laser treatment  

In severe cases, usually related to cancer or a weakened immune system from HIV/AIDS, the lesions may spread downward into the esophagus — the foodpipe stretching from the back of your mouth to your stomach. If this occurs, you may experience difficulty swallowing and pain or feel as if food is getting stuck in your throat.

Thrush is uncommon in healthy children and adults, so if thrush develops, see your doctor to determine if further evaluation is needed to check for an underlying medical condition or other cause.

May 13, 2018

Activated Charcoal for Tooth Whitening. Does it Work?

Using activated charcoal for whitening teeth can be effective, at least, initially. Long term effects can be damaging. A recent study has just proven exactly what I have been telling patients for years. Brushing any abrasive substance (activated charcoal, bentonite clay, kaolin paste, diatomaceous earth, etc.) on your teeth may initially whiten them by polishing the discolored enamel, but eventually it will lead to an end result of harmful effects.

Activated charcoal toothbrushing

According to this study, the teeth may start out getting whiter, but with continuous use, the outer white enamel layer will be worn away (abraded), exposing the secondary layer of brown or gray dentin. The other concern with further use is the thinning of the teeth themselves, making them more translucent (thin and see-through), and ultimately prone to chipping, cracking or decay. As a side note, activated charcoal powder scores about a 70 to 90 on the RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasivity) scale, while most whitening toothpastes score between 100 to 200 RDA.

So when looking for natural ways to whiten your teeth, consider these parameters:

• Try Oil Pulling. See our post on Oil Pulling for further information.
• Brush with Baking Soda. It has a low abrasive level. It has a Mohs hardness value of 2.5 and an RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasivity) value of 7. See this chart below for Abrasive levels of different toothpastes. Also read our post on Baking Soda and Oral Health.

• Avoid staining foods; particularly coffee, tea and turmeric.
• Avoid smoking cigarettes or smoking anything.
• Eat fruits and vegetables to naturally clean your teeth.
• Increase mineral consumption to strengthen the tooth structure which will prevent stains from absorbing.
• Rinse your mouth with water immediately after consuming acidic foods.
• Brush and floss after every meal to remove staining food and acid buildup on teeth.
• Avoid excessive fluoride intake to prevent fluorosis (mottled staining) of the teeth. See our many posts on Fluorosis.
• Avoid antibiotics, especially Tetracycline in childhood. Tetracycline stain has been documented in causing irreversible intrinsic staining in developing teeth.

To answer our original question about activated charcoal – does it whiten teeth?

The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. It only will whiten teeth by removing the outside layer of tooth structure. Not a very holistic choice for whitening. It might be better to use it as a rinse instead of actually brushing it on your teeth. Just swish it around for a few minutes in your mouth and it will absorb the surface stains on your teeth. I have seen several patients whose teeth suffered erosion due to the overuse of  brushing with charcoal. Use with discretion.

April 15, 2018

Osteoporosis and Heart Disease

Most people are aware that there is a strong correlation between periodontal (gum) disease and heart attacks. Bringing this a step further, one can see that there may also be a strong correlation between bone loss and overall heart disease. Since most periodontal disease involves not just gum inflammation and pocketing, but also loss of the bone height supporting the teeth, we can assume that this bone loss, along with the gum inflammation is involved with the heart attack as well.

According to a recent PubMed study, Correlation between Osteoporosis and Cardiovascular Disease, patients affected with osteoporosis, have a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases than subjects with normal bone mass. For years we were told that this may be due to bacteria getting into the bloodstream and causing blood clots (stroke or heart attack) in the blood vessels, but there may be a bigger culprit to consider.

It has been found that low bone densities are strongly associated with high calcification of the blood vessels. Via nutritional deficiency, minerals are deposited in the lining of arteries instead of the bones. This can be seen on standard x-rays, where dense calcium deposits in the aorta are seen juxtaposed to thin, calcium depleted vertebrae.

Calcification may even form around the heart valves, leading to decrease blood flow and thickening of the arterial walls.

An additional  study has shown an almost six time greater risk of heart disease in people with osteoporosis.

When we consider that the people of our country (USA) probably eat more dairy and take more calcium supplements that anyone else in the world, one has to wonder why osteoporosis and heart disease is rampant.

We may be getting all the minerals we need but apparently, these minerals are being deposited in the blood vessels, not the bones.

This is most likely due to Vitamin K2 deficiency, the necessary nutrient that deposits the minerals in the bone and reduces vascular calcium deposits. It is almost impossible to get enough from food, so it is best to supplement.

March 11, 2018

How to Avoid a Healing Crisis

It’s wonderful when we are proactive for our own health. Taking charge of a good diet, and implementing effective daily detoxing is one of the best ways to get out from under a chronic inflammatory condition.

Sometimes however, we can be a bit over ambitious, detox too quickly and feel worse than before we started. This is called a Healing Crisis or Herxheimer Reaction.

Healing Crisis is a term used to describe the uncomfortable side effects that occur when we rapidly detoxify chemicals, heavy metals, pathogens and/or accumulated wastes from tissues and cells.

The symptoms usually include:
• Serious headaches
• confusing mental fog
• intense unexplained anxiety
• insomnia
• constipation or digestive upset
• lethargy
• respiratory problems
• rashes
• palpitations and tremors

Needless to say, this can be scary and extremely uncomfortable. Sometimes the Herxheimer can be so intense that it may feel like an emergency situation that requires a visit to the hospital emergency room.

With that being said, it is always important to detox slowly, at a pace your body can handle. I know that we are all in a rush to get healthy immediately, but slow and steady is really the way to go. The journey to better health is forever on-going and it may take months to notice an improvement in health. It took years for to develop this chronic illness and it may take just as long to get well.

Here are some basics to help:
• Begin all detox plans slowly. You can never be sure how your body will react, so give it at least 3-5 days (or more) for a slow transition before going up to full dosage.
• Take supportive nutrients for the detox pathways. Begin at least 2 weeks before you start any detox plan. Liver and gut support are paramount. It might be best to work with an informed health practitioner to support you on this.
Body brush or take salt baths are helpful to expedite detoxing through the skin, your largest detox organ.
• Keep your bowels moving daily to prevent reabsorption of die-off toxins.
If you have a constipation issue, do not even start a detox program until you have at least one bowel movement each day.
• Always follow a clean diet, avoiding sugars and all processed foods.
• Drink plenty of water with additional minerals to keep the systems hydrated and the cells communicating.
Get enough sleep. Eight to ten hours per night is essential for the body to go into a healing phase.
• Alkalinize to buffer toxins. Chlorophyll drinks may be helpful for this.
• Take plenty of antioxidants to neutralize the oxidative stress from released toxins.

Herxheimer reactions can be quite intense and frightening. Good planning will make a tremendous difference for a smooth experience.

More information on detoxification can be found in my book: My Secrets to Regaining Health

February 18, 2018

Cold sores vs. Angular Cheilitis

With so much stress in our lives, cold sores on the lips (and in the mouth) are commonplace.  But sometimes a cold sore may be something else. If you've ever had cold sores that didn't respond to medication designed to treat them, it might be angular cheilitis, a completely different medical condition that looks surprisingly similar. The good news is that angular cheilitis is usually easy to treat, perhaps even easier that cold sores.

Angular cheilitis may mimic cold sores, but there are specific signs you can look for to tell them apart.
1.     Angular cheilitis usually begins as a patch of dry, irritated or cracked skin at one or both corners of the lips. It can persist for years, if left untreated.
2.     Cold sores typically begin as an itchy or painful area that turns into one or a group of small, painful blisters. Over a 7-10 day time period, they may weep, scab over, and then finally heal. They can be found anywhere on the soft tissues of the mouth, intraorally and extraorally.
3.     Angular cheilitis originates from a yeast or staph infection, vitamin deficiencies or poor fitting dentures.
4.     Cold sores are a contagious viral outbreak, usually manifesting when you are under stress or have a weakened immune system.

A cure for either one of these conditions is simple and quick once we know the cause. Nutritional support with a painless laser treatment is usually the easiest way to treat these and to prevent recurrence. Knowing which one you have can make all the difference in the outcome. Always best to see your health provider for a proper diagnosis and plan of action.

January 7, 2018

Silver Diamine Fluoride in Caries Management

There are several ways to reverse or arrest decay (see our many posts on this topic), and the application of silver diamine fluoride has come up recently as a possible solution. In our office, the inquiries on silver diamine fluoride are mostly from parents of young children, hoping to avoid having fillings placed in their toddler’s teeth.

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a colorless strongly alkaline liquid (pH 10) that is 24.4% to 28.8% (weight/volume) silver and 5.0% to 5.9% fluoride. Just as 5% sodium fluoride varnish has FDA clearance as a Class II medical device for the treatment of tooth hypersensitivity, FDA classified SDF as a fluoride and cleared its use as a Class II medical device for the same indication. SDF has been popular for many years in Europe and recently became available here in the United States.

Teeth Stained by Silver Diamine Fluoride

A recent article in the New York Times highlighted the use of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) as an alternative approach to treatment of cavities in children. The article highlighted that SDF was faster and cheaper than drilling and filling; and it mentioned the downside that when applied, SDF blackens the tooth. When applied to a carious lesion, SDF has been shown to lower caries risk of the tooth surface. This is most likely due to its fluoride content topically applied to the tooth. It will not stop decay from progressing deep within the tooth.

Here is a short list of the Pros and Cons:
• SDF has very low toxicity
• it is quick, painless, non-invasive
• it is less expensive than a filling, no drilling necessary
• it can stop tooth decay on the exterior surface of the cavity and help prevent recurrent decay making it effective in management of root caries in the elderly

• permanently stains cavities black.
• does not restore tooth form or function, so large holes in teeth will remain and continue to trap food
• decay and bacteria will continue to exist buried within the tooth structure at the deep internal part of the cavity lesion. This means that the cavity is still active and growing at the part nearest the nerve
• requires repeat application for maximum efficacy
• cannot be used in the presence of infection or decay into the nerve
• metallic taste, funky smell
• potential to irritate gingival and mucosal surfaces

SDF is not a complete solution to caries risk. Single application has been reported to be insufficient for sustained benefit. SDF might be more accurately described as effective for caries control and management. It will not reverse decay.

It likely has additional applicability as an interim approach for managing problematic caries in individuals currently unable to tolerate more involved dental treatment.

A search of ClinicalTrials.gov for silver diamine fluoride returned 14 studies; 7 of which have been completed, 5 that are recruiting, and 2 that have not yet begun recruiting. This suggests that more scientific insight and news will likely be forthcoming about this product.

Silver Diamine Fluoride is not the panacea that many have been led to believe. Proper diet, good oral hygiene are still paramount to maintain a healthy dentition.

December 10, 2017

Magnesium for Better Health

Mineral deficiency is rampant. Due to modern farming methods that rely heavily on using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides that are absorbed into the soil, our topsoil has been heavily depleted of its mineral content. As a result, so are our fruits and vegetables.

Magnesium is the master mineral, and the repercussions of deficiency are easily observed.

Here are  some signs of a magnesium deficiency:
• Poor sleep
• Heart palpitations or flutterings
• Muscle weakness
• Muscle cramps
• Tremors
• Nausea
• Unexplained anxiety
• High blood pressure
• Low blood pressure accompanied with a feeling of fainting
• Type II diabetes
• Respiratory issues, specifically asthma
• Dizziness
• Fatigue
• Difficulty swallowing
• Poor memory
• Confusion
• Immune system problems

Dentally, when mineral deficient, you may experience increased bruxism (grinding of teeth) or even rampant decay (demineralized enamel) or periodontal infections (weakened immune system). Minerals are vital to a strong immune system as well as building the integrity of teeth and bones.

The most immediate response (usually within one day) that I notice in patients who begin increasing magnesium, is better sleep and less anxiety. Many feel as though they have taken a sedative, as their entire body and mind are finally feeling relaxed.

There are many different formulas for magnesium supplements, so it is always best to talk with your health professional to see which would work best for you. Transdermal magnesium chloride (magnesium oil) applied topically or Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths are probably one of the safest ways to increase magnesium uptake with virtually no side effects.

So for relaxation, and overall better health, mineral supplementation with an emphasis on magnesium is key.

If you like this post, you may also like our many other Posts on Mineral Supplementation

November 12, 2017

Homeopathy in Dentistry

Homeopathic Remedy

Homeopathy is a natural form of medicine 
used by over 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. The name homeopathy, coined by its originator, Samuel Hahnemann in the year 1810, is derived from the Greek words for ‘similar suffering’ referring to the ‘like cures like’ principle of healing. In other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if it were taken in large amounts. Homeopathic remedies are vibrational remedies, in which an exceedingly dilute amount of a particular natural substance is used to treat a particular ailment.

That being said, there are a plethora of different homeopathic remedies available over the counter, and even more being custom made for specific disorders.

In my practice, I have found that an increasing number of patients are seeking complementary and alternative therapies to conventional medicine. Homeopathy is one modality that is very helpful in this regard. It can be used successfully as an adjunct in healing dental infections, lessening dental pain, improving periodontal health, and expediting healing after surgery.

Will it cure everything? Probably not. But by integrating homeopathy with the wisdom of conventional dental care, the results can be more progressive than usually expected.

As many of you already know, I am a big believer of vibrational healing. (see The 2 Minute Tune Up post) By using different kinds of quantum energy healing techniques, I have been able to make a full recovery from chronic Lyme disease. By adjusting the energy field of a disorder, the disorder can be brought back to an energy of health.

“Energy (holistic) medicine recognizes that there is more to affecting change than going directly after the symptom. Sometimes you have to affect the field to create a shift in the particle; like listening to uplifting music to change your emotional state which will ultimately affect your physical health. This is based on Quantum physics: using indivisible units of energy called quanta to affect the field around it. And this theory basis of Quantum physics explains the precepts behind Energy Medicine,” inclusive of homeopathy. (Referenced from my post on Reiki: June 2011)

While homeopathy falls under the umbrella of alternative or complementary medicine, it is not to be confused with naturopathy or herbalism. Homeopathy is defined more narrowly than naturopathy. Homeopathy is one of the most frequently used complementary therapies worldwide.

October 19, 2017

Genetic Testing for Gum Disease and Oral Cancer

The link between genetics and degenerative diseases has become a focal point in the medical field.
DNA testing for Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, diabetes, etc. is fairly common nowadays; and the addition of new types of genetic testing is mounting.

Cross over to dentistry, and let’s see what’s available. Presently, in New York State, the dentist is now allowed to test for genetic markers in saliva for periodontal disease and oral cancer (from HPV). Both are relatively simple and painless tests. No needles, no drills, no blood. Just rinse with a saline (salt) solution and spit into a test tube. One week later, your results are in.

So why is this important? Well, if you have the genetic markers for gum disease, you really don’t want to postpone periodontal care. Losing teeth is never a good thing (can’t smile and can’t eat) and it will be expensive to replace missing teeth with implants or dentures. Best to diagnose it before it is symptomatic to prevent it from manifesting.

As for the genetic oral cancer test, it is good to know which HPV gene you have if any (there are 51 HPV types tested in the saliva analysis), so that you can be proactive in eradicating it BEFORE oral cancer strikes.

According to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, nationwide rates for oral HPV infections are 11.5% of men and 3.2% of women. That’s 11 million men, compared with 3.2 million women. That means that about one in nine American men is infected with the oral form of human papillomavirus (HPV).

Genetic testing for the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease, as well as the assessment for oral cancer susceptibility, allows for a personalized approach to holistic preventive health care.

Bear in mind that that nearly all oral diseases cause absolutely no pain until they are quite advanced. This includes tooth decay, periodontal disease, and oral cancer. Oral cancer occurs more frequently than most other common cancers. Due to late diagnosis, about half of the nearly 50,000 patients diagnosed every year with oral cancer in the U.S. will die of their disease. The only positive way to impact this devastating outcome is with yearly physical examination of the oral cavity, head, and neck. Saliva genetic analysis may just save your life.

Be sure to ask for you saliva genetic testing at your next visit.

August 13, 2017

Ozone Dental Therapy for Dental Cavities

As a city dweller, when you hear the word “ozone,” air pollution probably comes to mind. Yes the two (air pollution and ozone) often go together, but only because ozone is nature’s response to counteracting the air pollution. Uncontrolled ozone at ground level does impact air quality levels, usually negating air pollution toxins.

Ozone is simply oxygen (O2) with an extra atom in its gas molecule (O3). It is often referred to as “excited oxygen.” Ozone is constantly trying to throw off the extra atom, an instability that gives it an oxidizing property, similar to the fizz of hydrogen peroxide. That makes ozone extremely valuable in fighting not just air pollution, but all types of toxins, including those found in dental cavities.

Historically, when faced with a dental cavity, a dentist’s only option was to “cut” the tooth – drill away structure damaged by decay. Today, however, we are able to heal many small cavities with a gentler alternative.

Nutrition is of primary importance as we are rebuilding tooth structure. That being said, following the Weston Price protocol is critical. What you eat is as important as what you don’t eat. (See this post for more information http://www.thebrandwellnesscenter.com/apps/blog/show/24822385-reversing-and-preventing-cavities- )

Ozone dental treatment involves the painless, controlled application of dental ozone gas. It is sprayed onto a tooth with early stages of decay. Ozone drives oxygen through microscopic tubules in enamel, killing bacteria. Oxidation also eliminates acid waste products from bacteria. This creates an unfavorable setting for harmful bacteria that thrive in an acidic environment, and allows beneficial bacteria to take over. The progress of tooth decay is essentially halted.

This new, healthier environment allows minerals to flow back into the tooth, stimulating natural repair of the cavity and hardening of the tooth structure. Once a tooth is remineralized, decay doesn’t usually return once you continue with good nutrition and oral hygiene.

If you have a large cavity with a sizeable hole, your tooth won’t regrow that much structure. However, sterilizing the prepared tooth with ozone before placing a filling can be beneficial. It will sterilize the internal tooth structure and assist with internal remineralization of the tooth. This will practically eliminate the possibility for any bacteria starting a new cavity under the filling.

The applications of ozone in dentistry are many, as it can be used successfully for treating resistant tooth, gum and bone infections of the jaw.

If you like this post, you may also like our other Ozone postings:

July 22, 2017

Integrating Naturopathy and Dentistry

Holistic medicine is growing rapidly in the United States. Conventional medicine with its use of medications (and subsequent side effects) and invasive treatments, is losing its allure to the general population. People want to be well and feel well without taking drugs.

This is not to downplay the importance of allopathic medicine, as it certainly has its place in emergency situations. But for chronic health challenges, patients are waking up to the idea that there may be solutions outside of just treating the symptoms of the illness.

Dr. Brand receives her Naturopathic Physician Certification

Patients want answers for their chronic health problems, as they finally realize that they are frustrated with the idea of “medication for life”. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired!

As a holistic practitioner, I understand profoundly the mouth–body connection. As a person who overcame chronic Lyme disease (and all its associated symptoms), I understand the hopelessness of being given a label of having an incurable disease.

Having experienced both sides of the conventional medical paradigm, as a doctor and a as a patient, I can honestly attest that there is more to regaining health than most of us have been led to believe.

It is my opinion that most chronic illnesses can be reversed, just as I was able to get past chronic Lyme, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, neuropathy, tremors, brain fog, leaky gut, macular degeneration and an entire host of other “dis-eases” labeled as incurable.

As I wrote in my short book My Secrets to Regaining Health:
"Shifting your health starts with you. Believe that you can be healed. Be proactive in  making it so, and you will be. It worked for me and it can for you."
Using biocompatible dental products is important for preventing additional damage to your health, but clearing your body of existing toxins that have accumulated over a lifetime, may be a bigger missing link to regaining health.

As a holistic dentist/naturopathic physician, I am are rooted in the concept that when treating teeth, I consider the entire body — diet, lifestyle, mental and emotional health. In my practice, I only use technology that minimizes exposure to harmful chemicals — for the patient, staff and doctor, as well as the environment.

We are all so much more than our bodies. Holistic medicine is an integrative field that involves the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual fields of health. As a dentist and as a naturopathic physician, I can intelligently and rightfully integrate all these modalities into my dental practice.