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Communicate. Even when it’s uncomfortable or uneasy. One of the best ways to heal, is simply getting everything out.”Unknown
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April, 2021 Newsletter
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April is Dental Health Month!
I would like to take this opportunity to WELCOME each and everyone of you to the launching of my brand new website and become a part of the DandiLion Tribe for your your adventure through healing and recovery in Brain Health, Mental Wellness & Addictions.
Spring is upon us, at least above the 49th parallel, also known as Canada or the Great White North! The blossoms are starting to come out on our trees and the ground is waking up from our dark, cold winter. What a great time to be alive to experience nature bursting at its seams with new growth and rebirth and what an opportune time for us to embark on a new healing journey together for mental health!
My goal each month through this newsletter is to provide you with current information/studies/research geared towards and integrative approach to healing and recovery for Mind/Body/Spirit in Mental Wellness. I welcome any insights or ideas that you may have on topics related to this subject so that we can address them in future newsletters. I am an “OLD CROW” and a newbie to this digital platform of technology and social media, so your patience in this area with respect to my shortcomings is greatly appreciated!
I’m still willing to learn but may not be as quick as those that grew up with a computer. I graduated from University and there was no such thing as a personal computer – wow, that sure ages me! I’m just learning how to navigate instagram, so email, messenger, chat on my website or phone is still a great way to connect with me.
Now to the subject of Oral Care in honour of Dental Health Month. Mouth care, in my opinion and through many years of practice in preventative dentistry as a Holistic Dental Hygienist, “Is the Mirror Image of you Body”. The majority of psychiatric drugs or interrupted care of self due to a spiritual emergency (psychosis) can cause havoc not only in your mouth, but the rest of your body. Not brushing your teeth can result in mouth inflammation that spreads through your entire being which can eventually trigger Alzheimer’s/dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Gum disease (breakdown of the supporting structures of your teeth) isn’t just bad for your teeth, it can also shorten your life – pretty grim news, I know! Looking after your teeth and gums can be one of the most important health interventions you can make. Sometimes we have minimal control over these issues as the cocktail of psychiatric meds can be perplexing, not only for your brain but your mouth as well. Also be aware that some of the side effects of these drugs can cause a condition called Lichenoid Stomatitis (tissue inflammation on the inside of your cheeks) due to anti-psychotic medications such a lithium.
Signs of Concern
- dry or burning sensations in the mouth
- ulcers in mouth or cold sores on lips
- bleeding gums (when brushing, flossing or using floss alternatives)
- receding gums
- red, swollen or tender gums (despite exceptional oral self care habits)
- changes to the way your teeth fit together
- a change in the fit of your denture or partial denture
- bad breath
I am very aware that preventative dental care can be costly in many areas of the world. In fact, I often recommended that Albertans travel to British Columbia for half price preventative dentistry because I have practiced in both provinces and that’s the truth! Find yourself a dental therapist (Dental Hygienist or Dentist) that is gentle, compassionate and thorough; one that you trust, have fun with, and love to go to. Sometimes they can work out payment plans if you don’t have insurance, just ask!
Tips & Tidbits on Maintaining Oral Health with Psychiatric Drugs
- avoid ‘WHITENING’ dental care products-they contain enzymes that your mouth can be sensitive to. Plus they really don’t do much to whiten anyways; professional whitening is best to prevent problems with adverse effects of OTC (over the counter) whitening products like Crest White Strips.
- avoid MOUTHWASHES containing alcohol (like traditional Listerine and many of their products) as they can burn and dry out your mouth more. PLUS Listerine can hugely increase the sensitivity of your teeth! (I have the research to prove it as that is one of the subjects I use to lecture on at Dental Conferences) Use warm salt water rinses instead. This is way more cost effective anyways. Mouthwashes increase the incidence of staining and more tartar (calculus) build up on your teeth contributing to the need for more dental hygiene appointments to remove this buildup. Mouthrinses that can assist with plaque control short term when you are unable to care for your mouth is a 0.1% Chlorhexidine rinse. In Canada, this is only available by prescription from your dental professional, but in many areas of the United States it is OTC.
- Use a basic toothpaste that may cost under a dollar. All the other “antibacterial or whitening” additives can create mouth sores or sloughing of your tissues resulting in mouth pain.
- a Basic “soft” or “ultrasoft” toothbrush is great; my favourite is Sonicare as used properly without pressure can stimulate the gums and do a better job of plaque removal than the manual ones. Get what works with your budget! I am also not a floss nazi! There are many alternatives to flossing that often work better than flossing, so ask me or your dental professional about these alternatives. Most important job to do each day is clean in between, so if you’re limited on time, forget about brushing and do the in between to prevent disease (that’s where most cavities start and gum disease begins). Most of you I know, will NEVER miss brushing however!
- XYLITOL dental products (toothpastes, chewing gum and mouth mints) are amazing when you’re on the run and cannot brush your teeth; pop in a gum or mint for five minutes. Plus the chewing movement also helps to promote more saliva in your mouth, helping with the dryness and cavity/gum disease prevention. Xylitol is the ONLY plant based sugar that doesn’t promote the bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay – all other “sugarless gums/mint ingredients like mannitol and sorbitol can eventually cause decay, they’re just broken down in the mouth more slowly than regular sugar. Make sure to keep these products away from your dog as xylitol can be deadly to them!
- BIOTENE (gels, toothpastes, mouthwashes) or their more cost saving GENERIC FORMULATIONS can be hugely beneficial. They usually say “For Dry Mouth, Alcohol Free or Moisturizing Mouthwash” The gel can be applied to your gums to prevent drying out of your mouth tissues especially at night when sleeping. Often, things can be very painful waking up in the morning before your saliva starts flowing. You can also use SALIVA SUBSTITUTES – just ask me, your hygienist or pharmacist about these products.
- If you eat or drink anything ACIDIC (fruits, fruit juices, wines, pickley/vinegary products, sports drinks like gator aid/power aid) avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes to an hour as the acid nature of your saliva with these substances can destroy the enamel on your teeth. If you have the eating disorder bulimia, do not brush right after an up-chuck session, merely rinse with water and wait the same time frame prior to brushing to prevent irreversible tooth damage.
Well, this newsletter went on a little longer than I wanted, but when I get started, I sometimes can go on and on! It’s time to get outside and enjoy that SUNSHINE and walk in nature…take your shoes off in the grass or lay down and make grass angels! I hope these tips and tidbits help to make your life easier in some ways and always reach out if you have any questions, or book a consult. I would love to partner with you in your healing journey!
Much love and blessings,