Is Mouthwash Helpful or Hurtful?

Want Healthy Gums?
Then, Don’t Use Mouthwash

by Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS
[Editor’s note: this article originally appeared on January 9, 2017 on]

Doesn’t mouthwash kill bacteria? Don’t bacteria cause gum disease? What about healthy gums?

Yes, antibacterial mouthwash kills bacteria. Yes, bacteria can cause gum disease. Yes, you want healthy gums.

But before you think I’ve gone bonkers, give me a moment to explain. Bacteria, when the good guys and the bad guys are in balance, serve many necessary purposes in your mouth. Healthy gums are dependent on healthy bacteria. One benefit is to allow a specific pathway of digestion to occur that is critical for health.


I have written about the balance of bacteria in the mouth in past articles. When bacteria are killed indiscriminately, harmful bacteria and good bacteria are both killed. This delicate balance of bacteria goes awry. When a healthy balance is disturbed, tooth decay and gum disease are likely to occur.

Here is one of the many benefits of mouth bacteria. They play a unique role in the chemical pathway of certain foods. Specifically, the chemical pathway of “nitrate-to-nitrite-to-nitric oxide” is dependent on specific anaerobic bacteria in the mouth.


Nitrate is naturally abundant in certain vegetables. It is converted into nitrite and then into nitric oxide and other nitrogen products during digestion. One end product, which is nitric oxide, has major benefits throughout our body. Nitric oxide reduces blood pressure, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, improves athletic performance, and improves gum health to name a few. Your mouth bacteria play an important role in the path of creating nitric oxide.

The pathway is somewhat technical, but it is good stuff. If you’re not interested in the details, then skip to the next section.

The pathway goes like this: The foods that are high in natural nitrate are chewed up in our mouths and swallowed. Nitrate is absorbed in our stomach and upper small intestine. A large percentage of the absorbed nitrate gets concentrated into our saliva. Once nitrate is in our saliva, the naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria on our tongues convert this “nitrate” into “nitrite”. Then we swallow.

Yes, we swallow this nitrite, which goes into our guts. Some nitrite is changed into nitric oxide by the acids in our stomach. Some nitrite is absorbed into our blood system and circulates to all of our cells where nitric oxide is formed. Still, some nitrite is converted into “nitric oxide” by bacteria in our intestines. There are many biological ways that nitrite is converted into nitric oxide and other nitrogen products.

In the mouth, nitric oxide has significant effects. Nitric oxide gets into the gum tissues and is strongly anti-inflammatory. It also has antimicrobial effects on pathogens. In this clinical studynitric oxide derived from salivary nitrate helped reduce gingivitis. This study was a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial that was published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology in 2016.



If you killed the bacteria in your mouth and on your tongue with antiseptic mouthwash, salivary nitrate wouldn’t be converted into nitrite. With less nitrite in your system, you would produce less beneficial nitric oxide.


So, if nitrate is healthy, then what foods are the best sources? Here are some vegetables with the highest concentrations of naturally occurring nitrate. These vegetables are part of a nutrient-dense diet I recommend:

  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Butter Leaf and Oak Leaf Lettuces
  • Swish Chard
  • Beets and beet greens


One caveat: The artificial nitrate and nitrite that are added to processed meats and other foods are not healthy and should be avoided. Their chemistry is different from that of naturally occurring nitrate.


dr alvin danenberg, danenberg, dr dan, crazy good livingDr. Alvin Danenberg, is a periodondist, Certified Medical Practitioner, Primal Health Coach, and ADAPT-trained Health Professional. His first book, Crazy Good Living, is based on ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. He offers a 12 week body coaching program for people interested in transforming the way they think about themselves and the food they ingest. He shares his knowledge and thoughts at:  He would be happy to engage face to face or virtually!

Toothpaste: Misleading and Confusing

Toothpaste: Misleading and Confusing
by: Dr. Al Danenberg 

The first commercially produced toothpaste was launched in 1873 by Colgate and was sold in a jar. Today, there are over 1400 different types of toothpastes available online and in stores. But, is toothpaste even necessary?

As with most things, there is controversy about toothpaste. Toothpaste companies frequently advertise their products in misleading and confusing ways. The general public becomes the victim of this misinformation.

Here are my thoughts:


First of all, you do not need toothpaste to clean your teeth. Removal of unhealthy dental plaque using a toothbrush, floss, and tiny brushes that clean between teeth are all that are necessary. Mechanically removing dental plaque is the goal. Toothpaste is not necessary to remove unhealthy clumps of bacteria and food debris.

Secondly, eating a nutrient-dense diet that is anti-inflammatory helps prevent unhealthy bacteria from growing around the teeth. A peer-reviewed research paper written in 2016,  showed that a healthy diet would decrease the signs and symptoms of active gum disease without the rigors of cleaning between the teeth. [1]

However, don’t get me wrong. It is important to remove unhealthy dental plaque from around the tooth. Brushing and flossing will help. And, toothpaste can offer a pleasant way to clean your teeth. Unfortunately, marketing claims as well as ingredients used in toothpastes can be misleading, confusing, and downright false.


Most conventional toothpastes in the marketplace include chemicals that are harsh to the teeth and gums and will damage the healthy bacteria in the gut. These chemicals may make toothpaste “feel smooth”, “taste good”, “help to whiten teeth”, or “coat the teeth to prevent decay”. However, these chemicals are unhealthy for the overall body. Toothpaste companies will not share the truth of these potentially harmful chemicals with you.

Here are some of these harmful ingredients, that I suggest you avoid,  that are commonly found in toothpaste:

  • Aluminum hydroxide
  • Aspartame
  • Carrageenan
  • DEA (diethanolamine)
  • Flavorings
  • Fluoride
  • Food coloring
  • Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
  • Parabens
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Propylene glycol
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium saccharin
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Triclosan


You could dip your toothbrush in a little coconut oil, and then dip it into a little baking soda. Then, brush as usual. The baking soda will help neutralize the acid in your mouth and will help remove stains. The coconut oil will hold the baking soda on the brush and will act as a mild disinfecting agent.


Toothpaste is not necessary to clean your teeth. Mechanically cleaning with dental floss and various sized dental brushes will adequately clean your teeth. But more importantly, your mouth would be healthier if you ate foods that were nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory.


dr alvin danenberg, danenberg, dr dan, crazy good living

Dr. Alvin Danenberg, is a periodondist, Certified Medical Practitioner, Primal Health Coach, and ADAPT-trained Health Professional. His first book, Crazy Good Living, is based on ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. He offers a 12 week body coaching program for people interested in transforming the way they think about themselves and the food they ingest. He shares his knowledge and thoughts at:  He would be happy to engage face to face or virtually!



Ozone is an activated form of oxygen where there are actually three atoms of oxygen attached together. Ozone is far more energetic and oxidative than oxygen, which is what makes it so valuable to us for many applications.

Oxygen/Ozone therapy has been used in medicine and dentistry around the world for decades. There are hundreds of professional studies documenting oxygen/ozone therapy’s healing properties. During the first world war doctors familiar with ozone’s antibacterial properties, applied it topically to infected wounds and discovered ozone not only remedied infection, but also had hemodynamic and anti-inflammatory properties.[1]


Oxygen/ozone therapy in the context of dentistry exposes a patient’s teeth and gums to the ozone for a very short time, breaking down harmful microorganisms without harming surrounding tissue.


Periodontal disease: Ozone can be used to help treat periodontal disease by using ozonated water flushed below the gum line and/or ozone gas infiltrated into the gum tissue and supporting tissues.

Root canals: Ozone can be used during root canal treatments to kill bacteria, sterilize the canal system and to stimulate faster healing.

Decay: Ozone can be used to kill decay-causing bacteria. Since ozone is a gas, it can permeate into areas below the gum line, into the grooves of teeth and over the smooth surfaces of the teeth and will kill bacteria on contact. Because ozone acts to re-calcify tooth structure, areas of the tooth that have been treated with ozone are stronger than what was there before.

Sensitivity: Because ozone can harden compromised tooth structure, flooding a sensitive area or tooth with ozone gas can effectively eliminate sensitivity. Patients’ sensitivity issues can be addressed successfully with ozone therapy.

Safety: Ozone does not have any contraindications with other medications, therefore cross-reactions are not a concern at all. You cannot be allergic to ozone, because you cannot be allergic to oxygen.

For more information on ozone therapy, check out our page or give us a call to discuss this treatment option for yourself.

1. Stoker G. Ozone in chronic middle ear deafness. Lancet. 1902;160:1187–8.


Editor’s Note: this article originally appeared in the summer edition of Coastal Sport & Wellness. Be sure to pick up a copy today!

Sleep Apnea Can Kill You – It Killed Carrie Fisher –

Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia in Star Wars) died on 12/27/16 at age 60. She died of cardiac arrest, four days after experiencing a medical emergency during a flight from London to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office revealed “sleep apnea with other conditions: atherosclerotic heart disease and drug use” were major contributing factors to her sudden death. 

Dr. Neomi Shah and her colleagues at Yale University studied sleep apnea. They noted, “when a person has sleep apnea for 4 or 5 years, his or her risk of having a heart attack is increased by 30%”.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is basically a mechanical problem while a person is asleep. The mechanical obstruction can occur when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep. This can occur many times during sleep. Usually, a person would awaken suddenly and gasp for breath.

Frequently with OSA, the tongue falls back against the soft palate, and then the soft palate falls back against the back of the throat. This closes the airway. If the airway closes, then the person who is asleep will go through the motion of expanding the chest to breathe; however, no air will enter the lungs.

In severe cases, this could be life-threatening.

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

A medical doctor can diagnose this serious disorder either by a sleep study performed at a sleep clinic, or by wearing a special testing device while sleeping at home.

Here are some symptoms and signs of OSA:

  • Snoring loudly and frequently
  • High blood pressure with no apparent cause
  • Gasping for breath or choking while asleep
  • Thickened tongue along with gritting & grinding of teeth at night
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Waking with an excessively dry mouth or sore throat

Treatment of OSA

1. The Lifestyle Changes

If you are obese, smoke, or drink alcohol in excess, then you should seriously consider losing weight, quitting smoking; and limiting alcohol.

2. C-PAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

Some people with moderate to severe sleep apnea require a mechanical device to help them breath. One machine is a C-PAP device. This is a small pump with a mask that covers the nose and mouth. It delivers a supply of compressed air.

3. MAD – Mandibular Advancement Device

In mild cases of sleep apnea, a dentist can customize a dental device to help open the airway. This dental appliance looks like and fits like a “bite guard”. It actually moves the lower jaw slightly forward when sleeping. It positions the jaw and the tongue in such a way that it increases space in the back of the throat. In this way, it helps to open up the airway.

4. Surgery

Various surgical procedures are available as a last resort. These surgical procedures can modify the soft tissues around the throat to open and help maintain a healthy airway

Final Thoughts

OSA can be annoying to you and to your sleep partner. However, OSA can create serious medical problems and even death. If you experience any symptoms or signs that might suggest OSA, have your medical doctor schedule you for proper testing. Early treatment could be lifesaving.

SERVICE SPOTLIGHT : Chao Pinhole® Technique

A couple months ago, Dr. Porcelli attended a workshop with Dr. John Chao, creator of the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique [PST®]. Dr. Porcelli was very excited to learn about this new technique with its creator and enjoyed the workshop immensely. Dr. Chao personally oversaw the results of the doctors practice.  One reason Dr. Porcelli was excited to learn this new procedure was because of the minimally invasive way it helps treat gum recession.

This procedure takes traditional gum recession treatments and turns them on it’s head.

Traditional gum recession treatments involve the use of donor tissue or soft tissue grafts in order to rebuild the gumline. This soft tissue would be sutured in place and would join with existing gum tissue as it healed.  Instead of grafting the gums with other tissue and then stitching and suturing the graft in the mouth, this technique uses a needle and special surgical tools to gently loosen the gum tissue and glide it over the receded part of the tooth. This makes the procedure incision and suture free! Not to mention it minimizes post-operative symptoms like pain, swelling and bleeding.  Look at some of the before & afters on Dr. Chao’s website to see the beautiful results!

The benefits of the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique are many:

• Less discomfort for the patient after treatment
• Faster recovery for the patient than traditional grafting
• No need for uncomfortable sutures
• No need for scalpels or invasive surgical tools
• No need to take donor tissue from the patient’s palate
• Excellent, natural-looking, long-lasting results

Learn more about PST® and watch this video, if you still have questions about the procedure or feel like you may be a good candidate for this technique, give us a call today: 843.593.8123, we’d love to schedule a consultation with you!


5 Lifestyle Tweaks

This article originally appeared on on April 2nd, 2018. 

This month, I start my 6th year of living a Primal Lifestyle. I wrote about My Primal Lifestyle in 2016. Since then, I refined and perfected the ways I do things. Over the last 12 months, I began to incorporate my 5 Essential Lifestyle Tweaks to further improve what I had been doing.


Back in 2007, I had a stroke and could have died. Yet, I didn’t learn about a primal diet and a primal way of living until 2013. Fortunately for me, embracing a Primal Lifestyle in 2013 saved my life.

Fast forward to April 2018 when I will be 71 years old. I feel healthier today than I have ever felt. My blood chemistries have improved considerably from where they were in 2013 – with additional impressive test results since I included these 5 tweaks.

Following my stroke in 2007, my physicians prescribed 7 medications for me to take for the rest of my life. Not being comfortable with that scenario, I reinvented my life and have weaned off my last medication this month.

The way I live is based on a nutrient-dense diet, efficient exercise, restorative sleep, and stress reduction – all of which I discuss in my book, Crazy-Good Living. In addition to all this, recent medical research is uncovering new and exciting facts about the importance of the gut microbiome and the mitochondria. Both areas are where I have refined and focused my current efforts.


I recently published two articles – one about the gut and one about mitochondria. Big Bang Theory of Chronic Disease describes the importance of the gut as the starting point for most systemic diseases. Mitochondria, Gut Bacteria, and Vitamin K2 describes the importance of mitochondrial health for the proper function of almost every cell and organ system. Both articles are loaded with links to peer-reviewed medical papers to support my conclusions.


The following 5 tweaks are focused methods, which I have added to my primal lifestyle program. They are reported to improve the gut microbiome and the body’s mitochondria, an area of focus for me currently.

  1. INTERMITTENT AND MULTI-DAY FASTING Published medical research has demonstrated that fasting is beneficial in a variety of ways. It improves fat-burning, builds muscle, enhances brain health, reduces oxidative stress, improves mitochondria health, and reduces inflammation to name a few. Several months ago, I wrote about my fasting experience.
  2. FOUR MINUTE DAILY EXCERCISE created by Dr. Zachary Bush This may be as effective as high intensity interval training. It is reported to increase the production of nitric oxide. I try to include this exercise protocol several times a week.
  3. SPORE-BASED PROBIOTICS  A randomized and double-blind study published in 2017 demonstrated that spore-based probiotics grow in the gut and can increase the diversity of other healthy bacteria in the gut. Personally, I take this probiotic daily along with the Vitamin supplement I discuss next.
  4. VITAMIN K2 This unique form of vitamin K helps prevent inflammation and move calcium into the proper areas in the body. In addition, medical research using an animal model showed that vitamin K2 could rescue damaged mitochondria
  5. PULSED ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS  Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy improves the energy of cells. In this way, it may improve the functioning of mitochondria, and thereby improve many chronic conditions. In the next few weeks, I will devote an entire Blog to the science and application of this important medical application. One company that offers this technology in the United States is Quantum Resonance Systems

I have experienced personal benefits from these 5 tweaks. My results are anecdotal; I am not part of a controlled study. You may not have the same effects as I have. The facts are that the gut microbiome is critical for overall health, and the mitochondria in every cell of our body are critical for the healthy functioning of each cell.


Dr. Alvin Danenberg, is a periodondist, Certified Medical Practitioner, Primal Health Coach, and ADAPT-trained Health Professional. His first book, Crazy Good Living, is based on ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. He offers a 12 week body coaching program for people interested in transforming the way they think about themselves and the food they ingest. He shares his knowledge and thoughts at:  He would be happy to engage face to face or virtually!

Fad Dieting vs. The Real Diet

This article originally appeared at on February 26th, 2018.

Fads come and go – especially dieting fads. It’s always the “next best thing” that replaces the previous “next best thing”. These diets seem to work to some extent until they don’t. Or, the fad diet you’re on makes you sick. What do you do? Move onto the “next best thing”?

Some of these diets are based on facts. Most of them are based on hype and anecdotal justifications. When a celebrity endorses a new fad diet, the masses rush in to become a part of the “next best thing”.

This style of dieting sets you up for one experiment after another. The Real Diet, which I’ll discuss near the end of this article, should complement your body’s requirements to survive and thrive. It should be a lifestyle diet and not a “next best thing” diet.


Rene Lynch wrote an excellent article, which sets up a timeline of major diet crazes.[1] There are many diets that have gone in and out of favor over the decades. I’ve summarized some of the earliest ones as well as some of the more bizarre ones below:

1830: One of the first “diet crazes” was created by Reverend Sylvester Graham. He emphasized a high-fiber diet based on whole grain breads. His work inspired the manufacturing of graham flour and graham crackers.

1863: William Banting was an Englishman who was obese. To improve his own health and lose weight, he developed a low-carb diet and wrote about it in “Letter on Corpulence”. He was the first to popularize a weight-loss program based on limiting carbohydrates, especially starchy and sugary foods.

1925: Of all things, there was The Cigarette Diet.  Lucky Strike, a brand of cigarette, created an advertising campaign with the slogan, Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”.

1928: The Inuit Diet became popular with the publication of “Studies on the Metabolism of Eskimos” by Peter Heinsbecker. His book emphasized eating meat, raw fish, and whale blubber.

1930: The Grapefruit Diet was a 12-day crash diet. It required eating a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice at each meal.

1934: The Banana and Milk Diet was created by a medical doctor at Johns Hopkins University for his patients with diabetes. The diet consisted of eating four to six bananas and drinking three to four glasses of milk every day for two weeks. Then, for the next two weeks, patients would eat only meat, fish, eggs and vegetables, avoiding other fats or carbohydrates.

1950: The Cabbage Soup Diet is still popular today. It’s a 7-day diet that consists mainly of fat free cabbage soup, eaten two to three times a day. Other specific foods are allowed as the diet progresses over the course of 7 days.

1962: The Drinking Man’s Diet was published by Robert Cameron. He suggested dieters should count carbs and not calories. He stated that his diet, “… would let you have two martinis before lunch, and a thick steak generously spread with Sauce Béarnaise, so that you could make your sale in a relaxed atmosphere and go back to the office without worrying about having gained so much as an ounce.”

1975: The Cookie Diet was the baby of Dr. Sanford Siegal, a physician who specialized in treating overweight patients. He created a low-calorie cookie made with his secret “hunger-controlling” formula. These cookies were touted to keep appetite down and calorie-count low. There was a scheduled plan for eating Dr. Siegal’s cookies during the day along with a low-calorie meal for dinner.

1976: The Sleeping Beauty Diet suggested that being sedated is necessary to help people lose weight. It recommended taking sedatives when hungry to avoid eating too much. In essence, a person would sleep instead of eating.

1981: Judy Mazel created The Beverly Hills Diet to help her lose weight. It was based on the actions of enzymes on various foods as they were being digested. The diet detailed when specific foods could be eaten and in what combinations they should be eaten.


Enter The Real Diet. It’s not a fad at all; it’s a lifestyle. It’s my “slogan” for what humans have been eating over the course of evolution – different foods based on different locations throughout the world.

For the last 200,000 years or so, modern humans – our primal ancestors – have learned to survive and thrive on the foods that were endemic to the areas of the world where these people lived. The DNA of our ancestors slowly evolved to become the blueprint, which guides our lives today. Our gut microbiome, which is continuously evolving more rapidly than our human cells, plays one of the most important roles in our overall health.[2] Our human cells and our gut microbiome require specific foods to provide the nutrients for us to survive and thrive, just as was true for our primal ancestors.

There is enormous variation in the foods that can provide our body with everything it needs. However, over-processed foods, ingested chemicals and medicines, and an overly-antiseptic lifestyle have caused our cells and our microbiome to malfunction.

Fad diets are not the answer. The “next best thing” should be The Real Diet. We need to return to a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory way of eating supported by a lifestyle embedded with efficient exercise, restorative sleep, and reduction in all forms of stresses on the body.

If you are interested in jump starting your change to THE  REAL DIET, sign up today for Dr. Danenberg’s 12 Week Total Body Coaching program! You will get weekly worksheets, coaching and recipes to help you make a lifestyle change not just another diet fail. 


Dr. Alvin Danenberg, is a periodondist, Certified Medical Practitioner, Primal Health Coach, and ADAPT-trained Health Professional. His first book, Crazy Good Living, is based on ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. He offers a 12 week body coaching program for people interested in transforming the way they think about themselves and the food they ingest. He shares his knowledge and thoughts at:  He would be happy to engage face to face or virtually!

11 Ways to De-Stress

This article was originally written by Dr. Alvin Danenberg and was originally published on his website, on July 25th, 2016. 

11 Proven Ways to De-Stress Your Stress 

Physical stressors (like excessive exercise, lack of sleep, injuries, and infections) take their toll on your body. Environmental stressors (like drugs, toxic substances, damaging foods, and other pollutants) also take their toll. However, psychological stressors (like worry, depression, anger, fear, life’s challenges, and overall happiness issues) are more prevalent in our society today than ever before with devastating results. Almost everyone tries to deal with these and wants to get a handle on them. Prescription medicines seem to be the go-to solution. They aren’t the answer!

What really works for psychological stress? What has been proven to de-stress your stress without drugging you up? Here are 11 proven ideas, which are great starting points:

  1. Be present. It boils down to one-on-one. Focus on the moment – not on the past or on the future – just on the moment. For example, if you have an important task you need to accomplish, you can stress out because you think there are a million other things waiting to be done. Or you can be present and focus completely on that task. Be present one-on-one – you and that one task. When you’re done, you can move on to the next task.
  2. Just say, “NO!” If you are stressed because you feel forced to do more than you physically and emotionally want to handle, then don’t. Just say, “No!” Limit and prioritize your time to do those things you want and need to do.
  3. Avoid those people who stress you out. There may be some people that put pressures on you, and these people may not be important in your life. If this is the case, then avoid them.
  4. Reduce your dependence on the news. Constant news on TV and other media can be upsetting and depressing. If these sources create undue stress, then stop watching or listening to them. Get the news you need, but don’t inundate yourself with it.
  5. Give up on pointless arguments. You don’t have to win every battle. You don’t have to compromise your morals or ethics either, but you could assume enough is enough and just move on.
  6. Reframe situations that stress you. Try to place situations in a different context. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic, you might be able to listen to a podcast that you were planning to do later on, or you could just use this precious time to decompress or think through some of the priorities you have scheduled for the rest of your day.
  7. Lower your expectations and standards where possible. You don’t have to be 100% successful with every task. Sometimes 80% is good enough. When it is not, then strive for the remaining 20%.
  8. Realize things are what they are. There are things you can’t change. However, you don’t have to compromise with those things you can and want to change.
  9. Discover gratitude. Be thankful for the loved ones in your life and for those positive things you have accomplished in your life.
  10. Experience empathy for yourself and for others. You will learn compassion for yourself, and you will better understand what affects others.
  11. Explore and practice specific stress management practices. These might include progressive muscle relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and various forms of exercise.

This list is far from exhaustive, but a great starting point.


Dr. Alvin Danenberg, is a periodondist, Certified Medical Practitioner, Primal Health Coach, and ADAPT-trained Health Professional. His first book, Crazy Good Living, is based on ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. He offers a 12 week body coaching program for people interested in transforming the way they think about themselves and the food they ingest. He shares his knowledge and thoughts at:  He would be happy to engage face to face or virtually!
sleep, nose-breathing and mouth taping

Sleep, Nose-Breathing & Mouth Taping

bed, bedroom, sleep well

This article originally posted by Dr. Danenberg on his website, November 6th, 2017. 


Quality of sleep is critical for health.[1] One of the components of quality sleep is proper breathing while sleeping. Oxygen is actually a nutrient for your body – a life-critical nutrient. If you were to stop breathing, you would die. If you stopped breathing temporarily for any reason for just a few seconds, it could affect your overall health.[2] [3] [4] This is called “apnea.

Sometimes, apnea must be treated by a medical professional. Sometimes, a special customized dental appliance could be made to help keep your airway open or provide proper spacing for your tongue. However, to help you breathe properly, here are several suggestions:

  • Place your tongue to the upper front part of the roof of your mouth, just behind your upper front teeth. This helps to keep the position of your lower jaw in correct relationship to your upper jaw, and it also helps keep your airway open.
  • Breathe through your nose and not through your mouth. Breathing through your nose is the normal way to breathe. However, at times you may find your nose is “stuffy”. You could use a specialized tape that helps keep your nostrils open. An adhesive strip that is made of a spring-like band tapes to the outside of the bridge of your nose that gently pulls your nostrils wider. One brand is called Breathe Right Strips. They are available in most drug stores and from Amazon.
  • Keep your lips closed. Sometimes while you are sleeping, you may begin to open your mouth and breathe through your mouth.


Nose-breathing is important because it helps in the production of nitric oxide.[6] Nitric oxide enhances memory and learning, regulates blood pressure, reduces inflammation, improves sleep quality, increases endurance and strength, improves immune function, and supports healthy gum tissues.[7]

The body produces a large percentage of its nitric oxide from breathing through your nose as well as from nitrates in your saliva.[8] If you only breathed through your mouth, you might decrease the overall amount of beneficial nitric oxide that could be available to your body.
Also, mouth-breathing at night could cause you to wake up with a dry mouth. This isn’t comfortable. A dry mouth can …

  • reduce the healthy bacteria in your mouth, which can cause gum disease
  • promote cavities because the teeth are not being bathed in saliva, which helps teeth resist cavities through a process called remineralization
  • increase the overall acidity of the mouth, which in turn could increase tooth decay
  • cause bad breath


So, here is a possible cure for mouth-breathing. It is “mouth-taping”.

With mouth-taping, you would actually tape your mouth shut. An easy way to do this is to use a piece of Micropore Tape manufactured by 3M. You would place the tape across your closed lips from one corner of your mouth to the other. Fold over a small piece of the tape on both ends to make a “tab”. This will make it easier to quickly remove. Using tape will train you to keep your mouth closed while you sleep. You can purchase Micropore Tape in most drug stores and from Amazon.

However, before you try to use mouth-tape when you are ready to go to sleep, I suggest that you try it for about a half-hour a couple of days before you go to sleep. This will help you get used to the feel to the tape. Then, when you are ready, start taping your mouth shut when you go to bed.

Mouth-taping not only forces you to breathe through your nose during sleep; it also could be a diagnostic tool. If you had to take the tape off during the night because you could not breathe through your nose, then you would know you didn’t breathe properly that night. If that were the case, you might need to schedule an appointment with a medical specialist to determine if you have sleep apnea and need medical treatment for your breathing issues.


Get a good night’s sleep – about 7-8 hours. Breathe through your nose and not through your mouth. If simple techniques do not allow you to breathe through your nose at night, then you might have a form of sleep apnea. In that case, you might need to seek treatment from a medical or dental professional who is trained to evaluate your sleep disorder.


Dr. Alvin Danenberg, is a periodondist, Certified Medical Practitioner, Primal Health Coach, and ADAPT-trained Health Professional. His first book, Crazy Good Living, is based on ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. He offers a 12 week body coaching program for people interested in transforming the way they think about themselves and the food they ingest. He shares his knowledge and thoughts at:  He would be happy to engage face to face or virtually!

10 Reasons You (May) Have Bad Breath

bad breath?


We were inspired to create this article based on content we spotted on WebMD. No one likes to feel self conscious about their breath! This article talks about 10 reasons why you may have bad breath and how you can combat them.


Grabbing a drink with your girls or drinking a couple brews with your bros could give you more than a hangover. Even though it’s a liquid, alcohol can actually dry out your mouth, which encourages the bacteria that cause halitosis, the medical term for bad breath. Drinks with caffeine, spicy foods, and cigarettes can, too. A dry mouth from not making as much saliva while you sleep also explains “morning breath.” It’s always a good idea to make sure you are getting plenty of water in a day to combat dry mouth.


Bacteria on the tongue is the leading cause of bad breath. Clean yours with your toothbrush, a teaspoon,  or a tongue scraper. Scrapers will do a slightly better job.


When you cut out carbs and boost the amount of protein you eat, your body starts burning fat for energy. That process makes compounds called ketones, which can cause bad breath. In this case, better dental hygiene won’t solve the problem, since that’s not the root cause. Sugar-free gum can help mask bad breath or a clove rinse can be helpful as well.


Respiratory tract infections like colds and bronchitis can also give you bad breath. That’s because odor-causing bacteria like to feed on mucus. And if you have a stuffy nose, you’re more likely to resort to mouth-breathing, which can dry out your mouth.


A type of bacteria that causes ulcers, Helicobacter pylori, can also trigger bad breath, according to a study in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. Treating the bacteria may get rid of the stink. Your doctor can test you for H. pylori and prescribe antibiotics for it.


More than 400 prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including antidepressants and allergy remedies, can stifle saliva flow. Saliva helps wash away food and bacteria, keeping bad breath at bay. Changing your medication isn’t always an option, so the American Dental Association recommends you stay hydrated and chew sugarless gum to keep your mouth moist.


These small white-ish clusters — made up of hardened bacteria, food particles, dead cells, and mucus — get trapped in the ridges of your tonsils and the back of your tongue. They’re generally harmless except for the smell. They’ll often dislodge on their own, but you can sometimes speed the process by gargling with salt water.


It’s very high in sugar, and odor-causing bacteria love to feed on sugar. A 1/4 cup of raisins has 21 grams of sugar; the same amount of dried apricots has 17 grams. That’s like eating 4-5 teaspoons of pure sugar. Plus, dried fruit is sticky, so it can get trapped on and between your teeth. After a snack, be sure to floss and brush to help keep bad breath at bay.


These are two symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a common digestive disorder. Your bad breath may be from some undigested food coming back up, or it could be that irritation from stomach acid is giving you postnasal drip. Ask your doctor for help if you get heartburn often.


These can trap food particles and breed bacteria, resulting in cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Ill-fitting dentures can cause the same problems. All the more reason to schedule your regular cleanings and exams with Bluffton Center for Dentistry!

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