5 Natural Alternatives to Chewing Gum

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Natural Alternatives to Chewing Gum

Chewing gum can be an expensive habit, and depending on the type you use, can be bad for your teeth. Beyond oral health, chewing gum can look ugly and is costly to clean up. With this in mind, we’ve found some clean, natural, and (most importantly!) great tasting alternatives to chewing gum which can give the same breath freshening results with none of associated expense or waste.

 5 Natural Alternatives to Chewing Gum

MintNatural Alternatives to Chewing Gum - Mint

Most dental products such as toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash and chewing gum are mint-flavoured, so why not go right to the source? A couple of mint leaves after a meal or coffee can quickly freshen breath. Mint can be bought pre-cut in many grocery stores or supermarkets, and can be easily grown at home as an attractive and very useful plant.

Natural Alternatives to Chewing Gum - Liquorice Licorice

Liquorice Root

Liquorice (or Licorice) can be a love-it-or-hate-it flavour. If you love it, then it makes an excellent natural chewing gum replacement. A stick of liquorice root is naturally sweet, has a distinctive flavour, and will help eliminate bad breath. Liquorice root can often be found in specialist health stores and some bigger supermarkets.

 

Natural Alternatives to Chewing Gum - Cloves

Cloves

Commonly associated with Christmas, you can have a mulled wine flavour all year round and freshen your breath at the same time! Cloves also have a slightly numbing effect, which can be soothing for dental pain. Overuse can sometimes lead to irritation, so use in moderation. Cloves are cheap and easy to find. They are also very portable and long-lasting.

 

Natural Alternatives to Chewing Gum - Ginger

Root Ginger

Zesty and tangy, root ginger is very effective at freshening breath. Root ginger takes some preparation such as chopping and peeling, but its effects are almost instantaneous. Root ginger’s benefits go beyond dental health and chewing gum alternatives – it’s a natural remedy for colds and the associated symptoms, such as sore throats and low body temperature.

 

Natural Alternatives to Chewing Gum - Parsley

Parsley

Like mint, Parsley is easy to obtain both pre-cut and potted from grocery stores and supermarkets. It can be trickier to grow at home, but whichever way you choose to purchase it, its excellent use as a chewing gum replacement is undeniable.

Antidepressant Link to Dental Implant Failure

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Antidepressant Link to Dental Implant Failure

Recent research by the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine has shown an antidepressant link to dental implant failure. The recent findings back up a report in 2014 by McGill University researchers who reported finding a link between Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants and a doubling of the risk of dental implant failure.

Implant failure amongst antidepressant users were about four times higher compared with controls in the study. The higher rate of failure is linked to how antidepressants affect bone metabolism/growth and heighten the risk of dry mouth (clinically known as xerostomia). These side effects contribute to the failure of dental implants as the mouth fails to heal properly. The researchers also that each year of antidepressant use doubled the odds of failure.

Additional side effects of antidepressants include osteoporosis, akathisia (a disorder with the symptoms of needing to be in constant motion), and teeth grinding. All of these can contribute to dental implant failure.

Researcher Sebastiano Andreana, Associate Professor and Director of Implant Dentisry said: “Antidepressants are the second most prescribed drug in this country, and there are millions of implants placed every year around the world, so this applies everywhere, not just the U.S.”

Bearing this in mind, the researchers stress that communication between dentist and patient is of especial importance. Researcher and Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Latifa Bairam said, “For patients who have been on antidepressants a long time, we’re not telling them to quit their medication. We just want them to be aware — the dentist, patient, and physician. It’s cooperation between all the parties to manage the procedure.”

“It would really be useful if patients provided the dentist with a current picture of lab tests, which would be helpful in treatment planning for the placement of the implant,” Dr. Bairam concluded.

Study: Antidepressants linked to dental implant failure [via Dr.Bicuspid]

Campaign Launched for European Gum Health Awareness Day

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European Gum Health Awareness Day - #howsyoursmile Campaign

The British Society of Periodontology (BSP) has launched a #howsyoursmile campaign for the European Federation of Periodontology’s 2016 European Gum Health Awareness Day today. Periodontal disease affects the gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth. More than 45% of UK adults are affected, and it has known links to other serious conditions.  In order to raise awareness of the disease and promote better gum health, the BSP has launched a How’s Your Smile? website with a host of information and activities, including “mouth cards” for people to print and use in selfies (or, in the term of the campaign “mouthies”) with the hashtag #howsyoursmile.

Working with organisations such as the British Association of Dental Nurses, Public Health England and the British Society of Dental Hygienists and Therapists, the BSP’s President. Dr. Phil Ower explained the campaign: “As gum disease is a serious public health issue, affecting the quality of life of over half the population, we felt it was time to shout a little louder.”

The central aims of the campaign are to:

  • To raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of gum disease
  • To jolt people into realising that gum disease should not be ignored
  • To drive action and encourage people to see a dental professional to have their gum health checked and improve their gum health
  • To encourage people to participate in the campaign and help spread our message

Dentists Should Recycle More

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Dentists Should Recycle More

Dentists should recycle more, according to dental surgeon and wildlife photographer Dr. Joe Bunni. Addressing the Osteology Monaco International Symposium on the 22nd of April, Dr. Bunni called for greater action and awareness from dentists regarding the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the world’s oceans.

“If we don’t stop putting things in the ocean and taking things out, it will be too late. Dentists can help save our oceans by thinking more about packaging and what sort of materials they use in daily practise. Be aware of how much plastic you are using during surgery.”

Dr. Bunni suggests replacing plastic cups with paper cups, reusing plastic materials, and even giving non-reusable plastic materials such as cups and containers “to your patients to re-use for painting or gardening.”

Dr. Bunni is a specialist in underwater photography, winning the 2011 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his stunning shot of a swimming polar bear. He has published the book “± 5 m : Man’s Future, the Sea“, which features almost 700 photographs of species threatened by human-made ecological and environmental hazards. He is also the founder of SOS Oceans, an organisation that aims to raise awareness of ecological issues.

‘Our future is in the ocean,’ Dr. Bunni said. ‘One third of our population depends directly or indirectly on our oceans. If we keep adding waste, we will have no seas or ocean wildlife left for our great grandchildren. Imagine our oceans without fish. These small actions of recycling can become big if we add them together.”

The General Dental Council (GDC)’s Director of  Finance and Corporate Services Graham Masters, said: ‘The GDC aims to recycle as much of its waste as possible as part of a wider commitment to sustainability. While there is not a specific dental standard relating to recycling, dental practices must treat patients in a safe and hygienic environment and have a legal obligation to dispose of their clinical and other hazardous waste appropriately.”

“Third World” Dental Care in England

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A letter written and signed by 400 dentists has warned of the “Third World” dental care in England. Writing to The Telegraph newspaper, the dentists have criticised “falling standards” in NHS dentistry in parts of England, and called the current system “unfit for purpose”.

They have also called for “…new ministers to be fully open and transparent about existing limitations,” and have called the situation that “children aged under 10 in England are still more likely to be treated in hospital for rotten teeth than for any other medical reason.” a “national disgrace”.

Citing the volunteer work of dental charity Dentaid in West Yorkshire, the letter say that “its role serves to demonstrate the lack of a proper national dental service.”

An NHS England spokeswoman said: “These claims are wrong – more patients are getting the dental care they need, and 93% of people got an NHS dental appointment when they wanted one in the last 24 months.”

However, the letter highlights the uphill struggle NHS dentists have with tackling dental problems. A recent survey has shown that almost half of 8-year-olds and a third of 5-year-olds have decay in their milk teeth. A survey undertaken every 10 years by The Children’s Dental Health Survey for England, Wales and Northern Ireland also found that 46% of 15-year-olds had signs of decay in their teeth.

Letter: The NHS dental health system is unfit for purpose [via The Telegraph]

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