Author: mjdmin

A Tale of Teeth and Your Ticker

heart health teeth
Healthy teeth are important to more than just your smile.

As dentists, we make a lot of references to the relationship between your teeth and good overall health and take very seriously our role in keeping patients healthy. Heart health is one of the least-suspected and most-serious conditions to be traced back to dental health. 

There has long been a suspected link between heart disease and poor oral health. But only in recent decades have scientists been able to identify how specific oral conditions impact other distal parts of the body. 

Let’s be clear – there is no direct linkage to suggest that good oral health is a critical key to heart disease prevention. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect to treat mouth issues and improve an existing heart condition. However, numerous studies show clear statistical connections between the prevalence of certain oral problems and specific types of heart disease. The list includes;

Emerging research notes the prevalence of several serious heart conditions linked to poor oral hygiene. The majority of these are caused by bad bacteria in the mouth. 


This infection can damage the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium). Bacteria from the mouth or elsewhere in the body spread through the bloodstream, attaching to certain surfaces of your heart. 

Cardiovascular disease

Research suggests a more direct link to these conditions, although the connection is not fully understood. Studies show that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke can be caused by inflammation and infections associated with the presence of oral bacteria.

While all this may sound alarming, there is a silver lining. With good hygiene habits and regular check-ups, you’ll stop mouth problems long before they become an issue with your heart. If you have questions about heart health and your mouth, ask us at your next appointment.

Is Chocolate a Secret Weapon for Good Health? 

chocolate teeth
Cheers to chocolate! Healthy teeth never looked this tasty.

By now, the last reminder of Valentine’s Day is the heart-shaped box of chocolate stashed on top of the refrigerator with 2-1/2 uneaten pieces getting stale. But it might surprise you to know that the International Day of Love is now the #3 candy holiday behind #1 Easter and #2 Christmas, but still ahead of our personal office favorite Halloween. Valentine’s-related sales account for 25% of the total annual candy purchases according to the market website

But just like those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, the answer to our headline question is mixed. While chocolate’s effects may be detrimental to your weight-loss efforts, there is research to indicate it has unique health benefits. 

The Good…

Polyphenols – These micronutrients occur naturally in cocoa. They have a natural antibacterial action and disrupt streptococcus bacteria that contribute to dental cavities. In fact, the chocolate compound CBH helps to harden enamel and is more effective at fighting decay than even fluoride.  

The Bad…

This all applies mainly to Dark Chocolate. That means no Snickers. As a rule, the higher the cacao percentage and the lower the sugar, the better. In fact, research suggests that the best way to derive the dental benefits is from nibbling on raw cacao nibs. However, they are far too hard and bitter for most people to chew on, so the internet is full of recipes and tricks for integrating cacao into your favorite smoothie, breakfast recipe, or baked treat

…And The Ugly.

All supporting research is based on moderate consumption. As it is denser and richer than it’s confectionary cousin milk chocolate, it is easier for small amounts of dark chocolate to satisfy those cravings most of us get.  

But chocolate is chocolate, right? If adding a semi-sweet bite of it to an already-healthy diet can improve overall health, why not? Just remember to brush afterward. 


Can That New Year’s Diet Hurt Your Teeth?

New Year, New You? Don’t let that diet ruin your teeth!

We’re all for New Year’s Resolutions! But when it comes to drastic changes in your eating habits, do your research. That means don’t double down on that trendy 9-Day Liquid Fast that only allows you to have smoothies made with kale, wheatgrass, coconut butter, Anis seeds, and organic unfiltered vinegar.

But seriously, there are two basic changes that you can make for weight loss and better overall health. Eat less, move more. Take in fewer calories than you expend. Eat real food, just enough. Making the lifestyle commitment to that simple formula can tip the scales in your favor. But we’re always looking for a shortcut, and there have been several instances of fad diets in recent years (Atkins, anyone?) that delivered weight-loss results with unintended side-effects.

At Meyer & Johns, we recognize that oral health is just one component of your overall health. As such, we want you to inform yourself of some of the possible down-sides of popular diets.


Fruit Detox

Our Kale/vinegar smoothie above was a joke, but more and more people are trying detoxes, cleanses, and purges as a way to kick-start weight loss. However, an extended fruit-only diet can leave you lacking vital protein and other nutrients that are vital to bone and tooth health. Additionally, we’ve warned you about the potential for fruit acid to damage your enamel.



While the latest fad may really melt away fat, there are several unintended consequences of Keto diets. By triggering the ketosis that brings results, you’re likely to develop bad breath as your body releases ketones from burning fat instead of carbs. Additionally, an overload of these naturally-occurring substances can upset the acidic balance in both your mouth and your body, leading to blood problems and even heart damage.


Low-Fat Diet

While this decades-old approach has been shown to have big impacts on cardiovascular health, fats are a vital part of our nutritional make-up. Removing too much can restrict your body’s processing of water-soluble vitamins, including A, E, K, and D. This last one is especially important, as Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, which is a key component of healthy bones and teeth.


Extreme Low-Cal

Sure, it may melt the pounds away, but at what cost? Malnutrition sends all kinds of mixed distress signals to your body, which can send you into physiological panic and trigger drastic measures. As for your mouth, malnutrition causes weakening of your enamel, gums, and jaw, and can even lead to tooth loss if not addressed. 


If you’re making big changes in pursuit of better health in 2020, we congratulate you! Tell us at your next appointment how it’s going, and let us know if you’re experiencing any changes in your mouth.

Can you hear your teeth?

What’s that sound? Tinnitus affects around 15% of all Americans.


We’ve written before about the link between your teeth and overall health, as well as all the connections between your mouth and other parts of your head. But what about your ears specifically – Can your oral health affect your hearing? 

Tinnitus is a hearing disorder that affects one in six Americans. Its causes include environmental factors like age, prolonged exposure to loud noise, wax or ear canal obstructions, and other conditions within the ear. Most people report auditory symptoms that sound like ringing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, or whistling noises. The perceived sounds may be sporadic or occur continuously.


Causes of Tinnitus

According to the American Tinnitus Association, in the vast majority of cases, tinnitus is caused by hearing loss and is a phantom auditory sensation generated by the brain in response to missing acoustic stimulation. However, the association also notes that physical dysfunctions elsewhere in the body can also trigger Tinnitus symptoms. These can include obstructions in the ear, head or neck injury, reactions to medication, and in some cases TMJ dysfunction.


The Jaw-Ear Connection

The Temporomandibular Joint is located just directly in front of the ear. Issues arise when the cartilage between the jawbone and the skull is damaged or degraded. The resulting stress on the tissue around the joint can cause a variety of ear/auditory symptoms, including clicking sounds that occur when chewing, talking, or swallowing.  

According to Otologists, nearly half of all patients who report TMJ symptoms also complain of Tinnitus. If you think you have either of these conditions, talk to us at your next appointment.