There aren’t any studies that show people who get root canals have a higher risk of cancer. In fact, research on the link between cancer and endodontic procedures like root canals shows that people who have had these treatments have a lower risk of certain cancers.

The danger of these claims is that these fears can crowd out other real cancer risks or health concerns. Viewers may focus on previously completed root canals while ignoring well known risk factors for cancer or infection, including smoking, weight gain, and failing to get the right cancer screening tests on time.  To be blunt, even if there is some truth to this whole idea, your old root canal is probably not harming your body nearly as much as your bleeding gums, cigarette smoking, or undiagnosed sleep disorder. Illness is cumulative, so it’s important to focus on the bigger concerns first when working towards optimal health and well-being.

HOWEVER, there is one very important thing that the documentary ROOT CAUSE gets right!  There are many patients walking around with active infection in their tooth roots and bone who have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that there is any problem whatsoever.  We know this is true because we have advanced 3D imaging that allows us to routinely see infections in the tooth and bone that simply cannot be seen in traditional dental X-rays and are asymptomatic.

Because of this, we have been able to help countless patients get rid of active infection in their body quickly and easily.  The first step to health is accurate and actionable diagnosis!

In looking at documentaries and other health related information on the internet, it’s important to remember a phrase we often share with our patients:

“Everything on the internet is somewhat right for some people.”

BOTTOM LINE:  The most important thing is that you find a provider that you trust who will help you navigate through all the conflicting information out there, and who will have an in depth understanding of your individual circumstances in order to provide you customized advice on how to get and stay healthy.

While root canals can’t save every tooth, leaving the natural tooth intact helps maintain the jawbone’s original structure. Without the original tooth, the surrounding jawbone that once supported it will eventually break down, affecting a person’s appearance and their ability to chew.

There is a weird benefit to nighttime "mouth taping" that you should know about.

If you're like most people, the idea of taping your mouth shut while you sleep might sound a little crazy and maybe even scary. But as it turns out, mouth taping might just be the key to a restful night of sleep and so much more.

Helping your body nose breathe (rather than mouth breathe) during the night accomplishes a goal you might not even know exists. It greatly increases the amount of nitric oxide circulating in your blood, which has a range of benefits.

Why nitric oxide production is so important to your health

Nitric oxide is a molecule that occurs naturally in your body and plays a bunch of important roles in your health. There are two basic ways nitric oxide gets to your blood. The first is by eating nitrate-rich foods, like nutrient-rich vegetables, and the second is through the various ways your body creates its own nitric oxide, mainly exercise and nose breathing. While you have control over your diet throughout much of your life, your body's natural ability to produce nitric oxide through exercise and nose breathing decreases as you age. That's why it's vitalto develop good nose-breathing habits as early as possible—and not allow your body to fall into bad patterns again.

Science tells us that some of the major drawbacks of decreased nitric oxide from mouth breathing include:

Worsened vascular (heart) function
High blood pressure
Drop in cognitive function
Decreased immune function
Increased inflammation

On the other hand, improving your nitric oxide intake can help to not only improve your heart function, blood pressure, cognitive function, immunity, and inflammation but also:

Athletic performance
Weight loss
Neuropathic pain
Anxiety and depression

Are you a nighttime breather? Here are a few ways to tell:

The kicker here is that most people who mouth breathe at night don't realize it's happening.

Mouth breathing can be a silent, slow-moving detriment to your oral and overall health. No matter how much you practice nose breathing throughout the day, you could still be mouth breathing at night without knowing it.

Recognize any of these things happening to you on a regular basis? If the answer is yes, you might be a closet mouth breather:

Getting up in the middle of the night to pee
Tossing and turning through the night
Nasty breath in the morning
Gingivitis and or bleeding gums
Signs of teeth grinding
Drool on your pillow

If you know you have some form of sleep-disordered breathing, like sleep apnea, it's almost certain you're mouth breathing through the night. Let's talk about your sleeping and breathing patterns at your next appointment.

Why your dentist cares about your sleep quality: Downtown Dental // Nashville, TN

Our dental patients should know why we are listening (and looking) closer for the telltale signs that they may not be sleeping well.

It’s a typical day on the job: we see several patients, observe and clean their teeth and get them ready to see Dr. Clark. As we're cleaning one patient’s mouth, something seems a little off. We notice that they have a smaller mouth and a normal size tongue, and it’s difficult to see past their soft palate as they say “Ahhhh.” When we ask the patient about their week, they complain that they’ve been feeling tired and haven’t been sleeping well at night. We've experienced patients with a similar story and appearance before. What’s the connection?

Research shows that 24.1% of patients are more likely to visit their dentist than their physician for an annual exam, which places a responsibility on us to be knowledgeable about the oral signs that may be indicative of a larger health condition.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder that affects 20-30% of adults. It is also the most common undiagnosed sleep disorder and chronic disease in Western society, with up to 80 percent of people that suffer from moderate to severe OSA unaware of their condition.

This is important considering untreated OSA can take up to 20 years off of your lifespan.  It ages your body, wreaks havoc on your immune and cardiovascular system, and dramatically decreases quality of life.

OSA sufferers often experience an inability to concentrate or focus on everyday tasks because they experience repeated microarousals, which eliminate the opportunity to have  complete restorative sleep cycles. They also can experience morning headaches, clenching and grinding, and dry mouth, which can have a severe negative impact on dental health and overall wellness.

Additionally, the disorder is linked to a number of comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and even Alzheimer’s. Those that suffer from OSA are two times more likely to get into a car wreck, as sleep apnea causes a decrease in cognitive functioning.

Sleep apnea can originate in the throat, which makes us the front line in detection of the physical signs that a patient may suffer from if they have OSA. Many patients with sleep apnea DO NOT experience the tell tale symptoms they have heard about;  snoring, daytime fatigue, witnessed cessations of breathing during sleep, high blood pressure, and waking from sleep with a gasp or choking sound. Instead of focusing only on these subjective symptoms, the easiest way to gauge risk of obstructive sleep apnea is to look in the mouth…

What we look for: signs and symptoms

Patients with OSA display many symptoms that can be observed simply by looking into the mouth. The MOST predictive signs include:

  • Small or recessed chin
  • Scalloped tongue
  • Eroded enamel / Clenching and Grinding
  • Mallampati Classification of III or IV

Other signs we assess that are correlated with OSA include:

  • High BMI
  • Morning Headaches
  • Narrow Arch or Small Mouth

If any of these signs are observed, or we note other symptoms that may be indicative of sleep apnea (for example, if the patient is obese or complains of a dry mouth), we often ask follow-up questions, including:

  • Do you snore?
  • Do you wake during the night for any reason?  Is it 4 hours into your sleep cycle?
  • Do you feel well rested after getting a full night of sleep?

Patients who confirm these symptoms should be further assessed. Dentists and dental hygienists can use screening tools for early detection of risk factors. If, after screening, we believe that a patient displays signs of sleep apnea, it is our responsibility to educate our patient and provide them the support they need to get tested.

OSA is not just overweight or older people who snore loudly, it's young otherwise healthy people who just have too much soft tissue (tongue, tonsils, soft palate) in the throat.  

Each Downtown Dental patient (as well as those referred to Downtown Dental by their medical doctors) are provided with a sleep consultation appointment to discuss all the risks, and benefits associated with proper treatment of OSA. Based on the medical doctor recommendation along with our own assessments, we will follow the best approach to a customized, comprehensive treatment plan with ongoing care.

We're thrilled to be a part of Nashville Soccer Club as their OFFICIAL DENTIST: Dr. Clark is a longtime soccer player/fan and we look forward to sharing exciting things with you this season. We see athletes of all ages and abilities to not only treat injuries, but to fully optimize dental health and alignment to maximize performance.

Downtown Dental is passionate about total health, overall wellness, and how a healthy mouth impacts the performance of your entire body. As we work with this stellar team of athletes in the 2019 season, we plan to create meaningful content that will hopefully educate and enhance our athlete patients, of any performance level, as well as their coaches and trainers.

Our patients often ask us about oil pulling, or ‘swishing’: it’s an alternative treatment purported to rid your body of unwanted bacteria through the process of swishing vegetable oil (mostly coconut oil) around your mouth. Those who swear by the process claim that it whitens teeth, fights bad breath, and gets rid of bacteria stuck in hard to reach places. We totally support alternative wellness, even when it comes to your teeth. Understand that oil pulling may sound like a great alternative oral care solution, but it can never replace brushing and flossing. Here's some real talk about oil pulling and how we think it can be beneficial: What is oil pulling? The process of oil pulling involves putting a tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil, often coconut oil, into your mouth and swishing it around for 20 minutes before spitting it out and brushing it away with a toothbrush and toothpaste. The process gets its name partly from the pushing and pulling of the oil through teeth and mouth, and partly from the way the oil is supposed to pull icky stuff out of your mouth tissues. The longer you push and pull the oil through your mouth, the more microbes are pulled free. The oil needs to be swished around long enough for it to turn a milky white, which indicates that the bacteria has been "pulled" off. After roughly 20 minutes the solution is filled with bacteria, viruses and other organisms; at this point, the person spits out the oil and rinses thoroughly with water. How does oil pulling work? The number of bacteria found in our mouths is usually between 1,000 and 10,000 on each individual tooth. It may sound like a lot, but these guys are tiny! Each of these bacteria have a fatty outer coating, and when they come into contact with another fatty substance, such as oil, they have a tendency to stick to that substance. Since liquid oil has the ability to get into hard to reach areas of the mouth that a toothbrush would miss, it is thought to be able to pick up bacteria that may have otherwise stayed hidden. People that “oil pull” state that it has helped whiten their teeth, alleviate halitosis, and even reduce gingivitis. In many cases, people also claim that it helps “prevent” cavities, as well as relieve gum and tooth sensitivity. What we believe There is clear evidence that many diseases and conditions are influenced by the mouth’s ecology and bacteria, and we understand the topic of oil pulling is valid when patients wonder why oil pulling has been encouraged by dental professionals as a supplemental therapy for patients, especially if we are in the business of “preventing” oral health problems. We support holistic approaches to your oral care. You just have to be smart about it and consider your individual dental health: there are certain types of infections that oil pulling will not resolve, and you have to be aggressive about treating those. It won’t take away raging gum infections or cavities. Oil pulling may remove bacteria, but it doesn't kill bacteria, and that's a big difference. BOTTOM LINE If oil pulling is used alone, without regular brushing and flossing, then no, it is not an effective way to keep your mouth healthy. It will not heal existing decay. However, when used in conjunction with proper daily brushing and flossing habits as a preventive measure, it may improve bad breath, help to decrease staining, and benefit in other ways. If you have dry mouth issues, we absolutely believe pre-bedtime oil pulling can be helpful.
Whether it's echinacea or aspirin, always tell your dentist about any medications and supplements you are taking. Everything you ingest, even vitamins, causes a certain reaction. If your dentist doesn’t know what drugs or supplements you have taken, he or she will not know how to protect you from possible substance interactions. This is particularly important if you are undergoing any surgical treatment. Conventional versus herbal Although many conventional (prescription and over-the-counter) medications sold in the United States are derived from plants, they are different from herbal medications. Conventional drugs, which must be approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, are based on an active ingredient or chemical that manufacturers synthesize when they develop the drug. In other words, a conventional drug is based on a chemical that is made in a laboratory, even though it may have originally come from a plant. Herbal (also called botanical or alternative) medications are made from natural chemicals extracted from a plant and are produced either in original form (sometimes combined with other herbal extracts) or refined. When an herbal medication is refined, the essential extract is taken out of the plant source, concentrated and then added back to make the original herbal medication more potent. Combinations to avoid Even seemingly innocuous herbal and vitamin supplements can have serious side effects for a few dental patients. Here are some combinations to be aware of: Ginkgo biloba and vitamin E can be dangerous when taken with aspirin because they each can act as blood thinners. The combination may cause difficulties in blood clotting, which could be serious for patients undergoing surgery. Taking high dosages of vitamins before undergoing anesthesia can also cause concern. In particular, vitamin C, often taken in high dosages for cancer treatment, can weaken the efficiency of anesthesia, among other problems. Calming supplements, such as Kava Kava or St. John's Wort, can strengthen the effects of anesthesia. What your dentist can do Always provide your dentist with a complete medical history, including any herbal medication and conventional drugs you are taking. Some patients who take alternative medicines are afraid the dentist will not respect their decision to take an herbal medication and will tell them to stop taking it; however, as herbal medications become more popular, many dentists are beginning to use them in their practices. Your dentist might even have an alternative, herbal solution for you. If an herbal medication could interfere with your dental treatment, your dentist may ask you to stop taking the medication until the treatment is complete. The dentist also may be able to prescribe a different drug for treatment, if one is available. More: Delta Dental  SaveSave
No doubt eco-friendly has become an important ‘buzz phrase’ in most dental offices, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because of patient awareness and inquiries. Still not sure what that means for your smile? Let these trends fill you in. The paper factor: This past summer, the American Dental Association endorsed new deadlines for dental offices to have devices that capture dental amalgam waste so that it can be recycled. More and more dental offices are thinking and acting ‘green’ by reducing the amount of plastic used in multiple areas such as substituting digital scanning instead of plastic impression trays, and substituting cloth and paper for plastic in both sterilization and other patient protection disciplines. Digital do-good: Digital is quickly replacing paper and plastic, so much so that many offices have converted to all-digital—especially in X-rays, charting and photo records. And while it doesn’t necessarily affect the health of a patient, it is something that helps the greater good. Biodegradable cleaners and disinfectants are now ‘in’ and dentists have become conscious of how they can make a difference in their offices every day to make their contribution towards cleaner living for our planet. We also now have 3D imaging, which is the most accurate way to get impressions, and we can use it for crowns, veneers and Invisalign. No more 'goop' is needed to get a mold of your teeth. Lasers get more love: Sure, lasers sound like a high-tech solution for just about anything, but there’s also a real impact on what they help in terms of the environment. By use of a laser and air-abrasion, we can avoid removing so much less of a patient’s tooth structure was removed, and all without any local anesthetic. This is the future of dental patient care, which means fewer materials used because the restorative surface is so much smaller. And because many of the dental materials used today are resin-based, less material used means less resin. Also, keeping restorations smaller means less water used. Metal is minimized: According to New York cosmetic dentist Zachary E. Linhart, DDS, recently, people have become concerned about bisphenol-A (BPA) in dental composites, in addition to the age-old worry about mercury in amalgam (metal) fillings. “No scientific, long-term studies have shown negative effects of BPA or mercury on humans in relation to dental fillings. BPA is a newer concern, and studies are still being done to see if, in these small doses, it can have a hormonal effect on humans.” Via New Beauty Magazine
Having chronic gum disease gives people a 70% increased risk of developing Alzheimer's, scientists have found. Research has linked gum problems and dementia for several years. These studies have usually been small in which a snapshot of people's health in time has been taken, rather than large studies tracking their likelihood of developing disease in the long term. One of the largest longitudinal studies on the topic has now found a strong correlation between gum disease, or periodontitis, and risk of Alzheimer's. The study, published in the journal Alzheimer's Research and Therapy, tracked 9,291 patients with gum disease and 18,672 control patients without gum disease over 16 years. After controlling for factors such as age, sex and whether they lived in a city or the countryside, having gum disease throughout the period led to the 70% increased risk. "These findings highlight the need to prevent progression of periodontal disease and promote healthcare service at the national level," study author Chang-Kai Chen and colleagues from the Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan wrote in the paper. As well as an increased risk of dementia, people with chronic gum disease were also at a higher risk of depression and high cholesterol, among other conditions. These associations, as well as an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease found in previous studies, are thought to relate to the body's inflammatory response to gum disease. READ MORE FROM THE STUDY
Stress can do a lot of bad things to your body, from headaches to backaches, high blood pressure to heart disease. But can stress really make your teeth fall out? Yes, it can, according to actress Demi Moore, who told Jimmy Fallon during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show that it’s the reason she lost her own two front teeth. Moore was on The Tonight Show to promote her film Rough Night, and although she’d love to have been able to say her teeth loss was a casualty of a wild adventure (like “skateboarding,” she said, or perhaps a “rough night” like in the movie), she felt it was important to share the truth behind her dental woes. “Stress is literally, probably after heart disease, one of the biggest killers in in America,” she told Fallon. In fact, it’s not the first time Moore went public on the topic of stress. In 2009, she famously tweeted a photo of herself with her front right tooth missing. The following year, she told Ellen DeGeneres that she “knocked” her own teeth out because she’d been clenching her teeth too hard, which is one of the known effects of stress. Clearly, Moore feels passionately about getting the word out, but it’s important to also explore why tooth loss happens and more importantly, how to prevent it. Moore didn’t provide details about the process other than to say that her front teeth were “sheared off,” which doesn’t paint a clear clinical picture. Although it’s a common recurring dream that one’s teeth suddenly begin falling out, that’s not how the experts say it goes down. Reader’s Digest got the scoop from Janet Zaiff, DDS, a dentist in Westchester County, New York. “Stress, of course, influences the body physically. When we think of its effects, we tend to think first of the more catastrophic problems such as high blood pressure and heart problems. But there are also more subtle problems, and these, in turn, can gradually lead to the bigger ones,” Zaiff explains. For example, a negative mental state can potentially hurt the bacteria in our mouths. These “changes in oral flora are known to cause heart disease, but they also lead to periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss,” Dr. Zaiff explains, although this usually puts more than just one or two teeth at risk. Dr. Zaiff also notes that when you combine periodontal disease with tooth grinding, tooth loss is certainly a possibility. Dr. Zaiff believes that in Moore’s case, another factor may be previous dental work that caused a fracture. It’s hard to say for sure without having seen Moore’s dental records. Either way, if you want to keep your pearly whites right where they are in your mouth, it’s important to get a handle on your stress via Reader's Digest
Gingivitis is one of the most common oral health problems in Canada. It starts off with a little redness in the gums but without proper attention and care, the situation can worsen leading to bleeding, puffiness, bad breath, and over time, what is known as periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease. The consequences can be dire with loosening or loss of the teeth. The main culprit behind the condition is bacterial growth, usually called plaque. Although several different types of species are detrimental to gum health, some are more troublesome than others. One particular enemy is known as Porphyromonas gengivalis . Having high amounts of this bacterium can significantly increase the potential for periodontitis. Researchers tried for decades to figure out what makes this bacterium so problematic. Back in the 1990s, studies revealed the bacteria had the ability to invade our gum cells. This led to the potential for bleeding and cell death leading to gum recession. This was bad news indeed yet the results only offered half of the story. As with many chronic infections, there had to be some involvement of the immune system. By 2001, the effect of this bacterium on immunity was finally discovered. Its presence led to a cellular form of inflammation in the gum area. What was worse was the fact the type of response prompted immune cells to destroy cells in that area. Even with this rather unsavory thought, there was still a missing piece to the puzzle. No one quite knew what was actually causing the inflammation. Some research had suggested the physical components of the bacterial cells was enough to cause this problem. Yet these results revealed only short term effects. Now the guilty party may have been found. An international group of researchers have used a combination of microbial and human cell cultures, they have identified a particular protein, aptly named Gingipain, as the source for the long term inflammation occurring in the gums. The results of this research suggest the bacteria are most troublesome not when the protein is active, but when it is dormant. The initial experiments behind this discovery were relatively straightforward. Cultures of immune cells were infected by the bacterium in the hopes of finding cellular markers of inflammation. Sure enough, the cells reacted to the microbial presence. But there was a surprise in store. When Gingipain was active, there was relatively little inflammation. On the other hand, when the enzyme was dormant, inflammation took off. This strange twist led the researchers to think there may be more than an infection going on. Answering that required a different type of experiment. The team had to add the infected cells to an artificial immune system to find out the effects of the enzyme on a systematic level. When they looked at the effect of infection on the immune system, the team was shocked to find the inactive or dormant form of the enzyme led to the most troublesome effects. In this case, inflammation was increased and sustained. This meant a lack of enzyme activity was making the situation worse. Though the results appeared to make little sense, the team persevered to identify a reason. They looked at the various proteins involved in inflammation in the hopes of finding one that might interact with the enzyme. The best candidate was a molecule known as interleukin six (IL-6). If the group was right, blocking this molecule might halt inflammation regardless of the enzyme's activity. Sure enough, when the group blocked IL-6, inflammation went down in all cases. The team had found the lynchpin of the periodontitis mystery. Perhaps more importantly, the results revealed the trouble wasn't being caused some previously unknown entity but a biological factor known for being involved in long-term inflammation. Based on the identification of IL-6 as the culprit, the authors suggest the potential to slow and possibly stop the progression of gingivitis may not be too far away. A pharmaceutical route to achieve this goal already exists although it only is approved for another IL-6 based chronic condition, rheumatoid arthritis. Still, the existence of an approved therapeutic means the potential for periodontitis treatment may be years rather than decades away. While we wait for medicine to catch up to the research, the best way to reduce the chances for this IL-6 based route of gum inflammation is to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy. This means brushing at least twice a day and making sure to visit your dentist regularly. While research may be able to help us find routes to resolve gum disease, these oral health professionals can help you prevent and manage troubles before they go too far. via HuffPost Canada