Introducing DentaMistTM, a new Dr. Jonathan Wright formulation for
Healthier Gums and Teeth

onathan Wright, M.D. is no stranger to readers of Life Enhancement. Indeed, Dr Wright is one of the leading alternative and life extension physicians practicing in the United States today. As medical director of the Tahoma Clinic in Kent, Washington, he has treated thousands of patients using innovative, natural therapies, including nutrient supplements, natural hormones, and glandular extracts. Jonathan is the author of three best-selling books: Dr. Wright's Guide to Healing With Nutrition, Dr. Wright's Book of Nutritional Therapy, and Natural Hormone Replacement for Women Over 45, as well as the just-published Maximize Male Vitality and Potency for Men Over 40. He has also written monthly columns for Prevention and Let's Live magazines. Since 1982 Jonathan, along with Dr. Alan Gaby, has taught health care practitioners at their annual four-day intensive seminar entitled "Nutritional Therapy in Medical Practice." Despite his innovative and outstanding accomplishments in natural medicine, Dr. Wright was made infamous to those outside the natural medicine field by the FDA, who in 1992 raided his clinic at gunpoint and arrested his B vitamins. Not surprisingly, one of his favorite sayings is, "Let's outlive the FDA!" In this exclusive interview with Life Enhancement's Will Block, he discusses his new oral health formulation, DentaMist


Life Enhancement: Somewhere I read, "If the eyes are a window to the soul, then the mouth is a portal to the rest of us." The prose may be deathless, but the idea is on target. What can you tell us about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene?

Dr Wright: If we don't maintain good oral hygiene, we tend to have bad breath, get gum disease and lose our teeth. What else can I say?

Life Enhancement: Is there a correspondence between not only the quality of saliva but the amount of saliva we have?

Dr Wright: Saliva has many functions in addition to the digestive function. It helps maintain the health of the gums and the teeth. So if one doesn't have enough saliva, one is likely to have deterioration in those areas.

Life Enhancement: Can you assume the amount of saliva is reduced when you do have a deteriorating situation?

Dr Wright: No, not necessarily. In fact, rarely.

Life Enhancement: Rarely. But the quality of the saliva for antibacterial purposes just deteriorates?

Dr Wright: I don't know. I haven't actually seen any large studies on saliva quality for, let's say, prevention of periodontal (surrounding the teeth) disease, prevention of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), or that sort of thing. As you know, in American medicine we tend to use drugs a lot. So the studies that are out there would have to do with: if we use this drug or that drug, what will happen? Rather than "why is it happening in the first place"? In other words, we tend to approach issues of health as if they were caused by drug deficiencies, rather than taking a look at physiological function and how can we improve it to prevent the problem.

Life Enhancement: Is there a case to be made for the fact periodontal disease is an age-related problem?

Dr Wright: There's some case to be made for that. But remember, you can make a case for all disease being age-related, with the exception of genetic diseases and the things that we find in infancy . . .

Life Enhancement: Or childhood diseases.

Dr Wright: Yes. There's just more of everything as we get older: more atherosclerosis, more osteoporosis, more senile dementia, more everything. And many dentists are saying that there is also a case to be made for periodontal disease being auto-immune.

Life Enhancement: Indeed the immune system may be compromised when we see disturbances in the mouth, including periodontal disease, but why do people with heart valve problems get cautioned? What is the connection?

Dr Wright: If we get infected with a certain sort of strep bacteria - it's the so-called beta hemolytic strep - most of us simply get strep throat. We make antibodies and we recover. However, in the days before antibiotics, a few people died because their immune systems weren't strong enough. Yet nobody dies of it anymore because they're given antibiotics when it gets bad. But there are some of us who have a genetic susceptibility to auto-immune problems. In a few of us the same antibodies we make against beta hemolytic streptococci will attack an identically amino acid sequenced portion of heart cell membranes.

So in those few of us, a strep infection leads to "auto-immune" destruction of heart tissue. Now, once we get that heart valve destruction, it's easier for it to get infected as a result of bacteria "let loose" by whatever dental procedure we're having done. But that's not a common complication at all with garden-variety periodontal disease.

Life Enhancement: So that's why conventional medicine recommends if you are susceptible to heart valve problems, to use antibiotics when you're having dental work done.

Dr Wright: With dental work, there is a temporary release of more bacteria than usual into the bloodstream. There once was the idea that blood itself is sterile, but anyone who looks at blood under a darkfield microscope can see all kinds of interesting microorganisms. So there ordinarily are circulating microorganisms anyway. With dental work, the number of bacteria that gets into the bloodstream temporarily increases greatly.

Life Enhancement: What is the cause?

Dr Wright: Basically it's just the mechanical disturbance in your mouth.

Life Enhancement: So there's basically a stress there, and under those conditions of stress . . .

Dr Wright: Let's call it the mechanical and physical stress, not an emotional stress, of drilling or messing with your gums and teeth.

Life Enhancement: Then the bacteria get the best of that situation.

Dr Wright: They just scoot into the bloodstream.

Life Enhancement: Scoot right in. Don't they want to get out?

Dr Wright: They want to get out of harm's way, yes.

Life Enhancement: (Laughs) How does your new dental and gum spray DentaMist help with some of the problems we've been talking about?

Dr Wright: Well, DentaMist contains Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), among other important elements. In Japan, CoQ10 is a prescription item even though it doesn't need to be. It's totally harmless. There it's very widely prescribed particularly by dentists to treat periodontal disease because CoQ10 has been shown to decrease this problem.1 The gum tissues surrounding the teeth, as well as the lips and tongue take quite a beating. The phrase "beating your gums" is not just a meaningless analogy. When we chew and when we talk, the tissue in our mouths take a mechanical stress. They are some of the most stressed and therefore rapidly repairing and regenerating cells in the entire body.

Actually, gums can be thought of as a continuation of lining of the gastrointestinal tract, the so-called alimentary canal. Since there's such a rapid turnover of these cells, one of the things they need is a source of energy to keep themselves dividing properly and turning over. As an energy transfer co-enzyme CoQ10 provides what your mouth's tissue needs. And it's probably one of the major reasons that CoQ10 helps keep these tissues, which are under the constant mechanical stress of talking and eating and whatever else, healthy.

Life Enhancement: DentaMist provides a proprietary liposomal delivery system, LipopureTM. What role does it play?

Dr Wright: When our bodies absorb nutrients through cell membranes, that can happen in several ways. Liposomes are the little fatty-acid envelopes that are wrapped around nutrients, which in the gastrointestinal tract get absorbed through the cell membrane much more efficiently. Lipopure thus helps the CoQ10 get into the cells better.

Life Enhancement: Because the gums are part of the alimentary tract, do much the same kind of permeability issues pertain to the gums as to the gastrointestinal tract?

Dr Wright: Yes. Permeability of liposomes is quite good.

Life Enhancement: Are there any other roles that the CoQ10 plays with regard to how DentaMist works in the mouth?

Dr Wright: In addition to Japanese studies showing that CoQ10 reduces periodontal disease, there are others showing that it participates in the mitochondrial energy system.2 And it is presumed that improving energy transfer improves the ability of the cells to stay healthy and replicate themselves better.

Life Enhancement: Let's go on to folic acid.

Dr Wright: It has a similar function. There have been mouthwashes for years that are just pure folic acid. Folate alone helps to reduce gingival (gum) disease and work against periodontitis.3 Now getting back to the theme of very rapidly dividing tissues: if you stick your tongue out at yourself in the mirror, you will notice that sometimes the tongue is not uniform. Instead, there will be areas that look smooth and areas that look rough. And sometimes when it gets really bad, it looks sort of like a minor contour map. That's labeled in medical textbooks as "geographic tongue". Now the three nutrients that will clear that up turn out to be folate, Vitamin B12, and zinc. Folate, B12 and zinc are very key nutrients for the proper division of DNA and the replication of cells. And if we don't have enough of those in a local area such as on the tongue, then the cells don't reproduce properly and uniformly. The result is geographic tongue. So when we see that, we know that the person has a folic acid and/or a B12 and/or a zinc problem. However, folic acid is the most common cause of non-uniform replication of the cells on the tongue. It's pretty well known that folic acid deficiency is the number one deficiency in the U.S.

Life Enhancement: Interesting. There is B6 in the formulation as well. Folate deficiency has recently been implicated in causing DNA instability, increased susceptibility to DNA damage, and a major factor in the development of cancer and aging [see Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw® Life Extension News: Vol II., #1 - February 1999]. Have you seen anything on that?

Dr Wright: Everything I've seen is that folate helps prevent and protect against DNA damage. Deficiency in folate is associated with neural tube defects. It's associated with something called fragile chromosome disease, or fragile X-chromosome disease.4 Folate works against all of those problems just because it helps the DNA to replicate itself properly.5 Other studies have shown that adequate levels of folate can cut down on the formation of esophageal cancers6 and colon cancers.7 Guess what? Gastrointestinal tract cancers too!8

Life Enhancement: Yes, that's right up our alley or should I say down our alley?

Dr Wright: Theoretically, even though there is no outright proof, folate might help to prevent oral cavity cancer.9

Life Enhancement: That makes a lot of sense. How much folic acid and how much CoQ10 is in a container?

Dr Wright: Per spray there is 64 mcg of folic acid.

Life Enhancement: That's good. I was particularly interested to see that even if you take a lot of folate orally, meaning swallowing supplements, and even though you may have adequate levels of folate in your blood serum, it doesn't mean you have adequate folate operating in your mouth.10

Dr Wright: That's correct. DentaMist puts folic acid where it's needed, in your mouth. That's why folic acid has been promoted in mouthwash for years.11 And while we're on the subject of doses, the quantity of CoQ10 per spray is quite respectable - 160 mcg.

Life Enhancement: What about the Vitamin K3 in DentaMist?

Dr Wright: We use it because of the studies of a dentist, Leonard Fosdick, who back in the late 30s to mid 40s, was the first to publish a series of papers establishing the cause of tooth decay.12,13 Dr Fosdick found that bacterial fermentation of simple sugars - and to some small degree, starches - in the mouth converted into lactic acid and other organic acids almost instantaneously and ate away at the teeth.

In other studies, he proceeded to show that there were some things that would block that transformation of simple sugars and starches into the lactic acid and help prevent tooth decay. What Dr Fosdick found is that there were three things that would do it: 1) silver nitrate, which of course he pointed out was rather unacceptable because it turned everyone's teeth black; 2) fluoride, the reckless over-use about which he warned, especially in the public water supply; and 3) Vitamin K3 (also called menadione). Vitamin K3, he found, was quite effective in preventing tooth decay. That's the main reason it's in DentaMist. He did some experiments with Vitamin K3 in chewing gum.14 He had a bunch of chewing gum made up, part of it without Vitamin K3 and part of it with Vitamin K3. He had the volunteers chew a stick of chewing gum after every meal for a period six to nine months. At the end of that time they looked at the results and noted the people in the Vitamin K3 chewing gum group had developed 60-80% fewer cavities than the group who did not chew the Vitamin K3 chewing gum.

Dr Fosdick said in another of his publications, it only took 1 mg of Vitamin K3 per 100 cc of saliva to achieve this inhibitory effect. And 100 cc is about 3 ounces. And he only needed 1 mg of Vitamin K3 in there in that whole 100 cc to help achieve anti-cavity effects.

Life Enhancement: I notice that this has nowhere near 1 mg in it. It's basically per spray, I believe, 160 mcg.

Dr Wright: Yes. And so at 160 mcg, the recommended amount would be 2 sprays three to four times per day for a total of 1,080 to 1,460 mcg (about 1 to 1.5 mg/day). That's Fosdick's recommended level. And remember, when you spray something in your mouth, you don't have 100 cc of saliva in there either.

Life Enhancement: How is it best sprayed in the mouth?

Dr Wright: You spray it in along the tooth and gum line and you swish it thoroughly in your mouth so that you coat teeth and gums. At the most you've got a couple of cc (1 teaspoon = 5 ccs) of saliva in the mouth at that time.

Life Enhancement: If our readers are like me, they'll love it. Plus the spearmint and peppermint oil imparted a refreshing taste. Are there any other roles that Vitamin K3 plays in addition to anti-carie activity?

Dr Wright: Vitamin K3 is known to participate in the formation of the protein found in bone15,16,17 - which applies to teeth too because teeth are bone. Vitamin K3 attracts calcium to bone. Teeth don't get osteoporosis; they get holes. So Vitamin K3 can help them to re-attract calcium to themselves.

Life Enhancement: So it contributes to disease prevention as well as helping to build strong teeth?

Dr Wright: There you go.

Life Enhancement: That's great. This is some product. I'm very impressed! I've been squirting my mouth with it on a regular basis now. I like the idea of it. What about all the other items in it?

Dr Wright: For example, there's green tea about which epidemiological studies have shown may help prevent cancer. It also contributes to the taste. Because the polyphenols in green tea are thought to be anti-carcinogenic, green tea is big news these days.

Life Enhancement: Yes. I imagine this would appeal to smokers, since smokers get more mouth cancers. There are papers on green tea for improving gingivitis, a benefit not obtained when it is ingested by capsule but when allowed to make oral contact.18

Dr Wright: That's right. DentaMist also contains citrus seed extract which has been shown to have broad spectrum activity against a number of pathogenic germs. It's not an antibiotic as it does not kill many germs outright. Rather, it inhibits the growth of a whole variety of bacteria. Then there's Calendula. Calendula has been used in folk medicine for a long, long time to settle down inflammation. There's also lemon grass extract, which in aromatherapy is thought to operate as an anti-parasitic.

We've also added tea tree oil which is a bacterial and fungal modulator, discouraging the growth of bacteria and fungi that are pathogenic to some people. Fortunately, it doesn't discourage the growth of what are called normal or desirable bacteria.

Life Enhancement: And there's more.

Dr Wright: There's more; that's right.

Life Enhancement: Looks like you had fun putting DentaMist together. I really like the idea of using it and I find it very convenient too. Plus the flavoring components are quite satisfying.

Dr Wright: The spearmint and the peppermint oils were put in for that purpose. And then there's just a tiny touch of the stevia, a natural sweetener. And those three together give it the flavor you experience.

Life Enhancement: And it lasts a long time too.

Dr Wright: Even if we ignore all the other benefits, lots of folks who use breath fresheners for social situations will find DentaMist quite refreshing.

Life Enhancement: What are some of the other ingredients?

Dr Wright: In the anti-infective group are those old standbys: Goldenseal and Echinacea.

Life Enhancement: I've been spraying a little more than the recommended amounts and feeling confident about the health of my mouth.

Dr Wright: Folks who have an active gingivitis and active periodontitis have said that the more they spray, the better they get. But that's anecdotal; it's not a controlled study finding.

Life Enhancement: What are we talking about here, 8 sprays a day?

Dr Wright: Well, you're making sure to use it after meals and then a couple of times in between meals. So if we add that up we have three meals and in between meals times. So, yeah, you're talking about perhaps 10 sprays/day.

Life Enhancement: What was it that drew you to thinking about DentaMist as a viable product?

Dr Wright: Conversations with Dr Carter, my co-formulator. He has an incredible ability to blend together an incredible variety of valuable yet diverse ingredients. Then there's my own continued goal of putting together combinations of items I've found effective in 25 years of clinical practice and experience in combination with what I've learned from the scientific literature. People groan if I hand them a list of 10 different things to take for a health problem, but sometimes that's the best available option. But if I can put them all together in one formula, they're much more enthusiastic and co-operation is superior. I've been telling people about folic acid mouthwash. I've been telling people about CoQ10. I've been telling them about green tea. I've been telling them about Vitamin K. And each time I would tell somebody about a beneficial item, particularly my regular patients, they'd add that to their list. But then they'd come in the next year and say, "Would you look at this list?"

Life Enhancement: So DentaMist takes aim at simplifying. When you're putting together something this complex, how do you proceed?

Dr Wright: Let's take our thyroid supplements, for example. I go on the knowledge I have about each of the individual ingredients and what it's done for folks before. And then I assume that at the very least, we will get an additive affect. And sometimes what appears to happen is a synergism instead of just addition, because we all know that nutrients tend to be by their nature synergistic.

I can tell you I've seen a number of these individual ingredients work as individual ingredients. And when we put them together, what we're going to get is that more-than-additive synergy. I can be very confident that it's going to get people somewhere because, for example, I've seen CoQ10 have benefits for oral health all by itself. And I've seen folic acid have benefits for oral health all by itself. And we can go down the list here with a number of these ingredients where I've observed people use them, and yes they do have benefits. So there's a lot of logic that if they each individually have those benefits, and I observe those benefits and so do the people using them, then if we combined them we will get either the same benefits or better. Now, I've got to admit - and we all do - that logic and common sense don't always work out in practice . . .

Life Enhancement: Right.

Dr Wright: But with this one, the early anecdotal reports are coming in that it's working just as well in practice and in theory.

Life Enhancement: When you mix drugs together as so often is the case - and there are few studies on polypharmacy - you don't often get an additive or a synergistic effect although you may. Sometimes, and there's strong anecdotal evidence for this, you get a subtractive effect.

Dr Wright: More often you get a subtractive effect with drugs. Right. And that's the lovely difference between working with nutrients and things that are found in nature in combination as compared to pharmaceuticals, meaning patented molecules or alien molecules that have never been found in nature before. The lovely difference is that almost all of the side effects of the natural things are good ones, as contrasted with the alien molecules where almost all of the side effects are bad ones.

Life Enhancement: What about some of the anecdotes from those using DentaMist?

Dr Wright: Someone who had quite a case of periodontal disease has called back to say that his dentist was surprised that his periodontal disease was at least 70-80% better in three months. Now I didn't say cured, I said better, in about three month's time.

Life Enhancement: Wow. So that's a reversal.

Dr Wright: Of course, I still recommended that individual continue working with his dentist for his problem.

Life Enhancement: My gums seem to be in much better shape after four weeks of use. A recent research article, VA Dental Longitudinal Study and Normative Aging Study, showed a clear correspondence between periodontal bone loss and an increased probability of dying.19 What do you think of that?

Dr Wright: What do you think of that?

Life Enhancement: I think DentaMist is a winner! I plan to keep using it.

References

  1. Hanioka T, Tanaka M, Ojima M, Shizukuishi S, Folkers K. Effect of topical application of coenzyme Q10 on adult periodontitis. Mol Aspects Med 1994;15 (suppl):S241-248.
  2. Nakamura R, Littarru GP, Folkers K, Wilkinson EG. Study of CoQ10-enzymes in gingiva from patients with periodontal disease and evidence for a deficiency of coenzyme Q10. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1974;71:1456-1460.
  3. Pack AR. Folate mouthwash: effects on established gingivitis in periodontal patients. J Clin Periodontol 1984;11(9):619-628.
  4. Webb T, Crawley P, Bundey S Folate treatment of a boy with fragile-X syndrome. J Ment Defic Res 1990;34 (Pt 1):67-73.
  5. Le Beau MM, Rassool FV, Neilly ME, Espinosa R 3rd, Glover TW, Smith DI, McKeithan TW. Replication of a common fragile site, FRA3B, occurs late in S phase and is delayed further upon induction: implications for the mechanism of fragile site induction. Hum Mol Genet 1998;7:755-761.
  6. Zhang ZF, Kurtz RC, Yu GP, Sun M, Gargon N, Karpeh M Jr, Fein JS, Harlap S. Adenocarcinomas of the esophagus and gastric cardia: the role of diet. Nutr Cancer 1997;27:298-309.
  7. Giovannucci E, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Hunter DJ, Fuchs C, Rosner BA, Speizer FE, Willett WC. Multivitamin use, folate, and colon cancer in women in the Nurses' Health Study. Ann Intern Med 1998;129:517-524.
  8. Lashner BA, Provencher KS, Seidner DL, Knesebeck A, Brzezinski A. The effect of folic acid supplementation on the risk for cancer or dysplasia in ulcerative colitis. Gastroenterology 1997;112:29-32.
  9. Ramaswamy G, Rao VR, Kumaraswamy SV, Anantha N. Serum vitamins' status in oral leucoplakias - a preliminary study. Eur J Cancer B Oral Oncol 1996;32B:120-122.
  10. Makila E, Kirveskari P. Salivary folic acid activity after oral administration of folic acid. Int Z Vitaminforsch 1967;37:487-491.
  11. Pack AR. Ibid.
  12. Fosdick L. J Dent Res. 1948;27:235-241.
  13. Berg M, Fosdick LS. Studies in periodontal disease. II. Putrefactive organisms in the mouth. J Dent Res 1946;25:73-81.
  14. Fosdick L. J Canad Dent Assoc. 1943;9:359-366.
  15. Fleming RH, McCormack HA, Whitehead CC. Bone structure and strength at different ages in laying hens and effects of dietary particulate limestone, vitamin K and ascorbic acid. Br Poult Sci 1998;39:434-440.
  16. Gundberg CM, Nieman SD, Abrams S, Rosen H. Vitamin K status and bone health: an analysis of methods for determination of under carboxylated osteocalcin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998;83:3258-3266.
  17. Lian JB, Dunn K, Key LL Jr. In vitro degradation of bone particles by human monocytes is decreased with the depletion of the vitamin K-dependent bone protein from the matrix. Endocrinology 1986;118:1636-1642.
  18. Horiba N, Maekawa Y, Ito M, Matsumoto T, Nakamura H. A pilot study of Japanese green tea as a medicament: antibacterial and bactericidal effects. J Endodontics. 1991;17:122-124.
  19. Garcia RI, Krall EA, Vokonas PS Periodontal disease and mortality from all causes in the VA Dental Longitudinal Study. Ann Periodontol 1998;3:339-349.

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