Dentists say this common ingredient could be messing with your mouth

By: Zoe Weiner, MSN

The best part of brushing and swishing mouthwash (aside from the whole “no gum disease or cavities” thing) is that “ahh”-inducing feeling you get right after you’ve finished cleaning your teeth.

And now, thanks to flavoring with essential oils, natural toothpaste and mouthwash can give your mouth the same minty-freshness as the old-fashioned stuff most of us grew up on.

But no matter how much you love that cool and tingly breath after a particularly satisfying brush sesh, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to putting those sweet-yet-spicy smelling essential oils in your mouth.

✅ Read on and learn its effects to your oral health via MSN ! The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

The best part of brushing and swishing your teeth (aside from the whole “no gum disease or cavities” thing) is that “ahh”-inducing feeling you get right after you’ve finished. And, thanks to flavoring with essential oils, these days natural toothpaste and mouthwash can give your mouth the same minty-freshness as the old-fashioned stuff most of us grew up on. But no matter how much you love that cool and tingly breath after a particularly satisfying brush sesh, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to putting those sweet-yet-spicy smelling essential oils in your mouth. 

“Using essential oils in the mouth sounds like a great, natural idea, but this should be done on occasion—not every day,” says Dr. Mark Burhenne, creator and author of “The powerfully antibacterial nature of essential oils means regular use can actually upset your oral microbiome over time by killing off the good bacteria your mouth needs to fight cavities and gum disease.” As in—yes, your mouth has a microbiome.

In some studies, essential oils have been proven to be just as effective as chlorhexidineAKA the main ingredient in prescription-strength mouthwash. But, while we’re all for going the natural route with your oral care, in this case, it may not be the best idea. “[It] might sound like a good thing, but [essential oils are] not beneficial for long-term oral health,” says Dr. Burhenne. “If you’re using mouthwash, chances are you’re trying to make it a daily habit. But killing all the bacteria in your mouth should be something you avoid on the whole.”

“Killing all the bacteria in your mouth should be something you avoid on the whole.” —Dr. Mark Burhenne

Think about using these heavy-duty oils the same way you’d use an antibiotic. “On occasion, you need a bacterial ‘clean slate’ to get an infection under control. But if you were to use antibiotics every day of your life, you’d limit your immune system’s ability to fight off any infection or disease,” he explains. “Since your oral microbiome is the mouth’s immune system, keeping it free of bacteria isn’t actually a good thing.”

In lieu of swishing with essential oils or alcohol for the sake of fresh breath, Dr. Burhenne suggests making a mouthwash of your own by mixing turmeric, L-arginine, calcium carbonate, whole cloves, baking soda, xylitol, blue-green algae, and anise. It’s essential oil, alcohol, and fluoride-free, but will still give your mouth the full cleanse it needs.

If you’re going to use essential oils in toothpaste, just know that a little bit goes a long way. “When I’m trying a toothpaste that uses essential oils, the best gauge I’ve found is to pay attention to how strong the scent of the oils is,” says Dr. Burhenne. “A light scent of peppermint is probably a sign your toothpaste has just a minuscule amount of oils in it, whereas a very strong scent might mean you’ve got too many bacteria-killing oils for daily use.” Noted—so, as within your skincare, just keep that EO use light.


DIY braces? Orthodontists say to think twice before straightening your teeth solo

By: Joanna Clay, University of Southern California; Medical Xpress

??‍⚕️ Are you considering straightening your teeth through DIY braces?

If so, you might want to check out this article via Medical Xpress – Medical and Health News before jumping into the decision! The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

A couple of years ago, the story of a college student 3-D printing his own braces went viral. Fast forward to now and you’ve likely seen billboards or social media ads for a whole new slate of DIY aligner companies, which cut out the orthodontist chair and send trays straight to your doorstep. They’re both attempting to democratize the quest for straight teeth, but experts and graduates from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC say it’s important to get a doctor’s OK when considering the DIY route.

The first thing to remember is that orthodontics isn’t just about looks, said orthodontist and USC alum Nehi Ogbevoen.

“We not only want to improve aesthetics but also the function of the bite,” he said. “We’re trying to plan your bite and smile and how they are going to age over the next 30, 40 years.”

Oftentimes, an orthodontist will want the patient up to date with their dentist visits. They’ll also do X-rays prior to treatment, making sure there are no signs of gum disease or large cavities.

If the DIY retailers don’t ask for X-rays, Ostrow experts and alumni say to think twice.

“There’s a lot of things we can catch on an X-ray—for example, impacted teeth,” Ogbevoen said. “There are other things we can catch that, if you aren’t seeing a dentist regularly, can be really scary.”

People are often lured by the DIY price, which can be around $2,000. For comparison, traditional metal braces or Invisalign typically run from $5,000 to $8,000, although the latter has options for mild alignment issues that are less costly. And in general, DIY aligners are for more mild issues.

But, experts say, if you have an undiagnosed disease or issue, DIY aligners could worsen the situation, costing more in the long run.

Consider consultations when getting DIY braces

Hany Youssef, Ostrow faculty who also has a private practice in Orange County, had a patient come in with negative side effects from a DIY kit.

He said although orthodontics can be cost prohibitive, there are a lot of options. He recently quoted $1,500 for a patient with mild alignment issues. The more severe the case, the more it’ll cost, he said.

If you’re considering DIY, Youssef suggests getting a consultation from a dentist or orthodontist, an initial visit is usually free, and bring up your interest in the treatment. It might be suitable for folks with milder issues but either way, a dentist or orthodontist’s OK is important. Some of the direct-to-consumer companies say orthodontists do consult on the treatment, others emphasize getting assigned to a specific orthodontist. But no matter what it says on the website, experts say to ask a lot of questions before signing up.

The American Association of Orthodontists has a tip sheet for people considering the direct-to-consumer route, offering suggested questions to ask yourself and the company. They include asking about comprehensive X-rays, licensed orthodontist consultations, how the best treatment is evaluated and how emergencies will be handled.

Glenn T. Sameshima, chairman and program director of USC’s Advanced Orthodontics Certificate Program, said the popularity of DIY aligners does bring up an important topic in orthodontics: accessibility. Insurance coverage is roughly the same as it’s been the last few decades, he said. And the same goes for treatment costs. Sameshima, who has a private practice, said coverage is commonly around $1,500 lifetime. Some dental insurance carriers are more generous and offer 50 percent coverage.

But in the end, this DIY aligner popularity—some of it spurred by expiring aligner patents—could be good for the industry overall, he said. For the first time in a while, there’s competition, which could start to bring costs down.

And although orthodontics can be costly, preventative care is often well-covered, which can help ward off the need for braces. And if braces or aligners are needed, dental schools (such as USC) often offer discounted rates.

“I see a future, 20 to 30 years from now, when they’ll be able to do a combination of clear aligners and braces, with 3-D printing bringing these costs down,” Sameshima said.


How can boosting Your Vitamin And Mineral Intake Protect Your Smile?

By: Lucy Wyndham, Dental News

Everyone knows that eating a good mix of vitamins and minerals is vital for optimum health, but did you know that these nutrients are just as essential for your dental health? The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2% of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. But with the right vitamin and mineral consumption and effective dental care, the nation’s tooth decay could be significantly improved.

A steady dose of fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water which your teeth rely heavily on as research has found that it can reduce the rate of cavities by 60%. 95% of all leading brands of toothpaste contain fluoride and there are also prescription only ones available for those who need extra protection against cavities. Fluoride Alert details a whole host of ways in which you increase your fluoride consumption, including consuming processed foods and drinks, drinking tea, eating products which have been treated with a fluoride pesticide, such as, dried fruit and cocoa powder and cooking food in Teflon pans.

Calcium and vitamin D

Calcium is well documented for keeping muscles, joints, and bones strong, but it’s just as powerful in protecting your teeth. Calcium keeps the teeth and gums healthy by replacing lost calcium particles. Therefore, it’s essential that your diet is packed full of dairy products, tinned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables. You’ll also need to keep your vitamin D intake high as this helps calcium absorption. Vitamin D is absorbed from sun exposure, from taking nutritional supplements and from eating a healthy diet of fatty fish, foods which have been fortified with vitamin D such as cereals and egg yolks.

Don’t forget phosphorus

Phosphorus is the second largest mineral found in the body, with 85% of it found in the teeth and bones alone. It works hand in hand with calcium and vitamin D to keep your teeth healthy and looking good. As long as you’re eating a well-balanced diet you should be consuming enough phosphorus to keep your dental hygiene in top condition. However, if you’re looking to up your intake of phosphorus- rich foods turkey, tuna, and sunflower seeds all rank highly. These high protein foods help to boost the absorption of this vital mineral.

To keep your teeth healthy you must ensure you look after them by following a good hygiene routine. However, the vitamin and minerals you consume play a pivotal role, too. In order to keep your teeth strong, healthy and pearly white fluoride, calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are a must.


What your dental hygienist wants you to know about the importance of oral health

By Heather Jackson, Loma Linda University Health

Whether the topic is flossing and brushing or baby teeth and cavities, your dental hygienist has important advice. Remember these key takeaways from Loma Linda University Health to help you properly care for the gateway to the rest of your body. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

Whether the topic is flossing and brushing or baby teeth and cavities, your dental hygienist has important advice. A dental hygienist knows that oral health evaluations can be as important as other medical examinations. Loma Linda University School of Dentistry dental hygiene specialist, Danielle Ellington, RDH, MEd, offers six tips for ensuring a healthy mouth.

Before reaching voting age eligibility, approximately 78 percent of Americans have at least one cavity, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), and 80 percent of the U.S. population has some form of periodontal gum disease.

Ellington says neither condition should be taken lightly because their impact goes well beyond the mouth.

“What some people do not understand is that oral health can affect the health of the rest of the body,” Ellington says. “For pregnant women, oral health can affect their unborn child. And for both genders, oral health maladies have been linked to cardiovascular and neurological problems.”

Ellington also adds that responsible oral health care can save not only your mouth but your life.

“We want to encourage the public to value their oral care,” she says. “Your oral care is about more than just the color of your teeth. As a society, we have become so focused on oral aesthetics that we are missing more important aspects of oral health.”

Here are Ellington’s six tips to help you properly care for the gateway to the rest of your body.

  1. Floss before there is loss. Flossing can make a difference between a healthy mouth and needing a substantial amount of periodontal treatment, Ellington says. Simply sliding a cord of thin filaments between your teeth (flossing) once a day reduces the accumulation of plaque often caused bysugary foods. The limitation of deserts and carbonated drink intake, combined with regular flossing, can greatly reduce tarter build-up, bone loss, and bleeding gums that lead to the need for periodontal treatment.
  2. A follow-up is not a suggestion. Ellington says that when a dental hygienist schedules a recall — also known as a follow-up appointment — it is more than just something to consider putting on a patient’s calendar. Recalls are tailored specifically to each patient’s current level of oral health, she says. If you have significant plaque or tartar accumulation, inflammation, and bleeding, you are a high-risk patient who needs to be seen sooner than later. Frequent dental appointments enable a hygienist to perform professional cleanings that can maintain the health of your gums.
  3. Watch what you eat. Pay attention to your diet because it can dictate whether you have an acidic (lower pH) or alkaline mouth (higher pH), Ellington says. An acidic mouth puts you at a higher risk for cavities. If you eat a lot of fruit, processed foods, and carbohydrates, your saliva will be at a higher risk for a lowerpH. If you tend to eat foods such as meat or meat substitutes, dairy products, nuts, and legumes, your saliva will have a higher pH and your teeth will be more prone to tartar build-up. She recommends a diet that encourages a neutral pH—foods such as avocado, broccoli, celery, cucumber, lemon, peppers, and spinach.
  4. Water is a super liquid. Ellington says not to underestimate the need for regular water consumption. A lubricated mouth is less susceptible to developing cavities. A hydrated mouth also significantly reduces the susceptibility of teeth to stains. She recommends something as simple as ending a meal with water.
  5. Be candid and complete about your health history. Ellington wants patients to know that no medication or dietary supplement is too small to mention. It has a significant impact on the clinician’s ability to make accurate evaluations and perform effective care. For example, if a patient has taken baby aspirin for several years, it can interfere with their blood vessels ability to stop bleeding during a procedure. She adds that without an accurate medication history a dentist may not be able to properly treat or keep a patient safe. 
  6. All teeth matter. Frequently, parents do not realize their baby’s teeth are important to their adult teeth as they maintain space for emerging adult teeth. Ellington says many parents think cavities in their children’s baby teeth don’t matter because they will fall out and be replaced by adult teeth. What they may not know is that bacteria from a diseased baby tooth may be passed on to an arriving adult tooth. She also advises parents to avoid transferring bad bacteria to their children through shared utensils or kissing. Some parents “clean” a pacifier with their own mouth if it falls on the floor and then return it to their child’s mouth. Each person has their own microflora — their own bacteria habitat — in their mouth, and transferring a parent’s saliva to a child can increase the likelihood it will develop cavities or gingivitis. 


7 Soft Recipe Ideas Dental Patients Often Overlook

By:Anna Medaris Miller, US News

Distract yourself from pain – and expedite healing – by getting creative in the kitchen. Here are some soft food ideas from USNews! The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

RX: Soft foods

As if getting your wisdom teeth out, your tonsils removed or your mouth otherwise manipulated, injured or operated on isn’t painful enough, such procedures often also deprive patients of enjoying one of life’s essential pleasures: good food. A soft foods diet “definitely is not fun and makes you appreciate your teeth,” says Joy Dubost, a registered dietitian in the New York City area who has undergone two oral surgeries. But thinking outside of the applesauce-and-broth box can make the situation easier and often, healthier, since having a variety of nutritious foods is important for healing. Here are some creative and satisfying soft recipe ideas that will please your taste buds – and your dentist:

Butternut squash hummus

Bored of regular old hummus and unable to chomp on crunchy chips you’d otherwise dip into it? Try one of Joel Gamoran’s favorite and seasonally appropriate snacks: butternut squash hummus, which you can easily make by blending roasted squash, tahini, lemon and garlic, says the national chef for Sur La Table and host of the TV series “Scraps.” “Eat this with a soft pita or just a spoon,” Gamoran says. Outside of taste, the nutrients in the squash alone can support the healing process: Vitamin B6, for instance, is among the B complex vitamins linked to better outcomes among adults post-dental surgery, while its high vitamin A and vitamin C content can help stave off infection.

Deviled eggs

Scrambled eggs are a great soft food staple for oral procedure patients (hello, protein!), but that’s not the only way to prepare an egg that’s easy on a sore mouth. Deviled eggs are a great alternative, Gamoran says, not to mention perfect for sharing as an appetizer with friends and family if you’ve also grown sick of recovering in isolation. With deviled eggs, Gamoran says, “you actually feel like you are eating something substantial.” For an extra taste jolt, flake smoked fish like trout or salmon into the egg yolks, he suggests.

Mushroom risotto

When Phoebe Lapine got her wisdom teeth removed, she was in too much pain post-procedure to care much about her soup and smoothie diet, she recalls. But now as a chef and culinary instructor based in New York City, she enjoys plenty of mouthwatering soft recipes, even with perfectly capable chops. “Risotto is the first thing that comes to mind, as a more elegant alternative” to standard post-op fare, she says. Try a savory recipe with wild mushrooms for a nutritional boost and added (but still soft) texture. The fungi are rich in vitamin D and some B vitamins, both of which have been linked to improved healing after some dental procedures.

Mashed cauliflower

Nothing beats comfort food when you’re feeling lousy, and fortunately, comfort food can be both soft and healthy. Mashed cauliflower, for instance, is a staple in Gamoran’s house, no matter the family’s state of oral health. Simply steam or boil cauliflower, drain it and mash it with cream cheese and chives, he suggests. You can also, of course, mash sweet or white potatoes rather than waiting until it’s comfortable to eat, say, crispy roasted potatoes, says Nancy Farrell, a registered dietitian in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “Modifying the food texture still allows for consumption of the important nutrients in foods and beverages – nutrients that are necessary for proper healing and regeneration of tissue,” she says.

Seasoned sauerkraut

If you underwent anesthesia for your procedure, it may take some time for your gut to “wake up,” says Farrell, also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “A sluggish GI tract can lead to constipation for some people until things are normalized,” she says. “That is why prebiotics and probiotics are helpful.” Try making “a tender, soft-cooked, seasoned sauerkraut” as a side dish, she suggests. As a prebiotic food, it works by “feeding” the good bacteria in the gut, the Mayo Clinic reports. Other sources of fiber – even dropping a powdered supplement in your smoothies, as Dubost recommends – can also support good digestion.


Milkshakes all day, every day are not exactly the responsible option if you want to be able to eat popcorn or steak anytime soon. Proactively eating smart, Farrell points out, “is especially important during times of illness and periods of healing.” So try cool sweet treats like fruit smoothies with creative spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg instead, Dubost says. And while not a health food, a spin on shaved ice called granita can still deliver some nutrients and soothe a sore mouth, Gamoran finds. Just mix equal parts simple syrup with any blended fruit or juice, toss it in the freezer and scrape it every 30 minutes with a fork. Once it reaches a consistency of your liking, dig in!


Whether you’re orally impaired or not, pho is a dish that should be in your meal rotation, Gamoran says. The Vietnamese noodle dish is super soft, he says, and you can easily make it your own or with broth from a restaurant. Other all-too-often forgotten varieties of soup can be welcome alternatives to canned chicken noodle. Farrell loves squash soup, lentil soup, pea soup, tomato soup and, mouth willing, stews with soft meat for added protein and other nutrients. “Nutrition is a science, and the variety of foods and beverages in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer can and should be the core foundation of your medicine cabinet,” she says.


When Should I Have my Wisdom Teeth Removed?

By: Consumer Guide to Dentistry 

Wisdom teeth removal is a common oral surgery, but as is the case with tonsils, their removal is not always necessary. This begs the obvious question: When should wisdom teeth be removed? Learn more! The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

Wisdom teeth — also referred to as third molars — are typically the last of the permanent teeth to erupt (push their way through the gums). The majority of permanent teeth begin to erupt around the age of six or seven. Most children have 28 of their 32 permanent teeth fully erupted by age 13. The, remaining four (wisdom teeth) tend to erupt between the ages of 17 and 21.

Wisdom teeth removal is a common oral surgery, but as is the case with tonsils, their removal is not always necessary. This begs the obvious question: When should wisdom teeth be removed?

Healthy Wisdom Teeth

Before we jump into when removal of wisdom teeth might be necessary, let’s flip the script and begin with when removal is unnecessary.

If your wisdom teeth have erupted fully, are positioned correctly and are not interfering with your bite alignment, it’s unlikely your dentist will recommend removal. Healthy wisdom teeth that are not causing any jaw pain or positioned in a way that makes them difficult to clean, do not need to be removed.

Unfortunately it’s not always quite so simple, and often wisdom teeth are problematic enough that removal is warranted.

When Removal is Necessary

Although many people who have their wisdom teeth removed tend to be 20 years old or younger, you shouldn’t think of removal as an age-specific thing. Rather, timing of removal is tied to whether or not there is a problem with their development/eruption, or whether their presence is causing dental pain or problems in the mouth, such as bite misalignment.

Generally speaking, the following symptoms could be indicative of wisdom tooth issues and warrant removal:

  • Tender, red, swollen or bleeding gums at the back of the mouth
  • Jaw pain and/or swelling
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Soft tissue infections at the back of the mouth
  • Cysts
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Damage to adjacent molars

A primary concern related to wisdom tooth eruption is spacing. There may not be enough room as the teeth come in, which can cause wisdom teeth to press against the neighboring teeth, causing pain, swelling and potential bite irregularities. This is referred to as impacted wisdom teeth (Impacted teeth may erupt horizontally instead of vertically, preventing them from developing correctly.)

Even if the wisdom teeth are able to  erupt without pushing excessively against other teeth, there still may not be adequate space for proper brushing and flossing, leaving you at risk for  decay, gum disease and other issues. Swelling of the gum tissue can compound this problem and exacerbate dental concerns.

Although wisdom teeth removal is typically associated with one of the aforementioned issues, there is another instance in which healthy wisdom teeth may also be removed. If you’re receiving orthodontic care with braces to help correct bite irregularities, removal of wisdom teeth may help to make room for crowded teeth to be re-aligned and simplify the process.

Trust Your Dentist

Given the common nature of wisdom teeth issues and removal, dentists typically begin monitoring their development with patients around the age of 14. X-rays are used to identify potential complications like impacted teeth, and indicate the need for removal. Your dentist can also monitor the effect on surrounding teeth to determine if there is the potential for spacing issues that could cause discomfort, swelling, etc.

Most dentists recommend removal of wisdom teeth (when warranted) before the teeth have fully developed and their roots have taken hold. This makes their removal easier and can lessen recovery time.

It’s important to note that you don’t need wisdom teeth in order to have a healthy, balanced smile. Unlike missing other teeth — which can cause bite irregularities and other dental problems — your wisdom teeth do not play an essential role in oral health. That said, your dentist is unlikely to recommend removal if there are no dental concerns associated with your wisdom teeth. Removal after the age of 30 is rare, but your dentist will nonetheless continue to monitor wisdom teeth as latent issues can surface at any time.

Later in life, wisdom teeth can become cracked due to wear, just like every other tooth. If the cracks become large enough to warrant significant tooth restoration, such as a root canal and crown, dentists do not typically recommend repairing the wisdom tooth. In such cases, removal may be recommended.

If you’re experiencing pain or tenderness around your back molars, speak with your dentist.

For more information, check out our comprehensive extraction guide.