18 November 2007

Deaf Hygienist Presents Shocking Teeth Information

In this ASL vlog, Karen Schettle, a Deaf dental hygienist shares many shocking facts about teeth and our health. Why are your teeth important? Hint, it has something to do with your heart! Which is better for your teeth, water irrigation (Water Pik) or plain old flossing? Flossing, hands down!! Which toothpaste should you use? Water. Water?! Just water?! Watch and find out about her fascinating explanations for those answers... and a surprise guest at the end! (8 minutes)


  1. Schettle is absolutely amazing! I watched her presentation at the raw food potluck. After her presentation, as soon as I drove home, I got myself a new floss package and am following her instructions to the nines. I thought I was doing it right all along, but after watching her, I realized that I had it all backward. Kudos to Karen! We need more dental hygenists/dentists like her.


  2. Bravo! I'm elated to see that a deaf hygienst is out and about, to share her knowledge to those who do not know!

    Like May, I do not use shampoo/conditioner, body wash/soap, etc.

    Thank you for sharing the wisdom with us!


  3. That is interesting. I am glad that there is deaf hygienst who is able to share with us via vlog regarding the teeth issues.

    Alynn, you mean that you wash your hair with just simple water, that is it? Maybe I should try that without shampoo/conditioner to see how I feel about it.

  4. Interesting! I need to do more flossing.

  5. The other lady said she don't use soap.

    I work at CDC. They encourage us to use soap to kill germs.


  6. anonymous,

    i'm glad you brought CDC and their position on the use of soap up. from what i understand... if we didn't start our over-reliance on soap - meaning if we grew up not using soap, our immune systems would be much stronger. but having soap introduced to our system/society, our immune systems became dependent on soap, to fight off germs that we otherwise would have fought off just fine with our immune system.

    as for anti-bacterial soap, that's whole another ballgame - that has caused many of the germs today to mutate and become stronger. so basically, many of the problems we have today with germs and infections actually come from our reliance on soap, which, like may willie said, was not present on earth when we humans were on it for many years (and we lived!) :)

    what do you think?


  7. To answer Kelly87's question (Raychelle, thank you for letting me know!), I use apple cider vinegar (diluted) as shampoo (and it is a GREAT detangler!) and every few months (3-4 times a year) I used plant (only with no addictives, preservatives, etc) based shampoo. As for conditioner, I make my own in several different ways. One way is to mix together 1 avocado, juice of 1 orange, and 1 Tbsp of coconut oil. Leave in your hair for at least 20 mins to an hour. Of course, it will be a bit greasy but after few rinses, oh, it is SOFT as you can imagine!! That reminds me, I need to do that soon since winter creeping on its way soon!

    As for soap, I rarely use soap until I moved in with my parents. Since my family (I'm the only raw/vegan) is meat, packaged, processed food eaters, I wash their dishes with soap as I do not want their food to contiminate mine. To make long story short, I'm working on my room upstairs and once that is completed, my things will be unpacked and I will be able to use my own personal coconut and bamboo bowls, without worrying their food touching my things.

    I hope this helps!
    Warm blessings~

  8. Cool vlog!

    I got puzzled at why the SLS and fluoride are an issue in true natural toothpastes. From what i learnt many years ago SLS that are derived from coconut or corn isn't a bad thing. It's us who need to do the homework and find out what kind of SLS the manufacturer uses.

    The same thing goes with fluroide. For toothpastes like Crest, etc., yes, it is definitely a NO-NO to use them due to them using the very bad kind of fluoride. But for natural toothpastes (altho probably not all??), they use natural occuring fluoride that does not cause any damage or is destructive for our bodies.

    Is there newer research on these that i am not familar of??


  9. Sarah,

    You may read more about the harmful SLS ingredients in most toothpastes at this website

    Also as for natural toothpastes, I strongly encourage you to look at the list of ingredients. There are preservatives, chemicals that are not necessary and the bottomline is that if you are able to keep your teeth free of plaque on a daily basis by proper brushing and flossing techniques, fluoride and toothpastes are not needed at all. Simplify, simplify, simplify is the name of the game :)
    Karen Schettle

  10. To All:

    I suggest that you check out
    www.snopes.com for evidence.

  11. hi, i just checked www.snopes.com. their basic claim was that natural/green companies push the myth about how horrible, scary, cancer-causing SLS is so consumers will buy natural products instead of regular products.

    this doesn't make sense because like Karen said, almost all of the natural toothpastes DO contain SLS, including Tom's of Maine (I personally looked that up). so this urban myth does not make sense, money-wise. i'm open to learning about other counter arguments though. bring it on ;-)

    the simple answer for me... i would think about how people cleaned their teeth hundreds of years ago. probably with water and something abrasive. like karen said, simplify, simplify, simplify is the name of the game :)


  12. i got my feet wet with this many years ago, so my current knowledge isn't justified. however, from what i learnt at that time was that the natural occuring SLS is different from the SLS found in commercial toothpastes. natural ocuring SLS comes from either coconut or corn like i mentioned earleir. plus, homo sapiens from older eras led a very short life span along with having very decayed teeth according to a show i saw on Discovery channel some time ago. hmm...also, i wouldn't be surprised those homo sapiens had some kind of all-purpose soap/cleanser that would be similar to our current Castile soap that is also used for cleaning our teeth.


  13. Alynn, thank you for answering my question. It is interesting. I think I would like to try that. :)

    Pahuast, thank you for giving us this link. I checked and found it informative.

    BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

  14. sarah,

    (is that you, hafer?) :)

    i tried googling about the natural version of SLS you mentioned earlier. no luck... maybe you'll have better luck!

    here's a site i found informational, with citations to NIH/other tests/reports.


    one sad statistic i had to accidently read was with 15% SLS in food for rats, 4 out of 20 died, and the rest experienced diarrhea and labored breathing. unbelievable, if we already know it's bad, then why test it on innocent animals in the first place. grr.

    anyway, happy thanksgiving! :)

  15. Would appreciate if you'd blog every word you say in your vlog cuz your ASL ain't clear. Too bright from the sunshine. OK? Thanks.

  16. What great sources of information available right here! I am all for simplification of lifestyle to honor the animals, health and the environment.

    Thought I'd share this as what Karen mentioned about people and their teeth. Here's one for the animals as well if you go to this link:


    Once a month, I give my dogs raw bone marrow after removing the marrow in or on it and wash it good. They do clean off their teeth well and at age 4 and 5, their teeth are like new without any plague or tartar. Also, their breath is not as bad as many others dogs known to have.


  17. Katherine, thank you for the useful information for pets. Just a quick question - where do we get a raw bone marrow? Also, why clean the marrow off the bone? Dogs love the marrow and since they are carnivores, I do not see why the removal of marrow is essential. Can you elaborate on that?

    Dina - a dog owner

  18. Dina, raw bone marrow can be found at a butcher's. I have found that raw cleans the dogs teeth better than cooked. When cooked, my dogs ate off the meat only :)

    Yes, dogs are naturally carnivores. I forgot that since one of my dogs' liver isn't normal, it's not advisable to give a dog with diseased liver red meat. Before Marley got sick, I let her and my other dog eat the marrow eventhough as a vegetarian, I feel guilty about it :) I need to re-check to make sure the marrow is still good for dogs with normal liver.

    Another thing to be cautious about the bone marrow is finding the right size for your dog. If too small, it can get stuck in your dog's mouth and cause serious harm that require emergency room. What's nice about bone marrow is it doesn't have a splinter like some other bones. You can re-cook the bone marrow, after the marrow has been eaten, in chicken broth for your dog to chew on for a long time as it is indestructible. This is why dogs should not be given cooked chicken or turkey bones as they cause splinter.

  19. anonymous,

    i'm sorry that the vlog wasn't clear due to the sun as you say... the summary on top of the vlog gives a guide of what karen said...

    EcoDeaf doesn't have the money or resources for a better quality camcorder, full-time translator or subtitler, and knowledge for how to better compress videos. everything on this blog is done voluntary, and by community contributions.

    so if anyone volunteers to help with translation/subtitles, we'd be thrilled. likewise, if you have advice on how to do vlogs with better quality, do share!

    thanks for your patience... hopefully, with your energy, knowledge and time, down the road, this site will be much easier on the eyes!


  20. On the topic of teeth, I wanted to share with you info on how to make a herbal toothbrush according to "The Holistic Herbal" by David Hoffman.

    "1. choose a straight Marshmallow root and cut into 12cm/5in pieces.
    2. Peel the ends and boil in water, together with Cinnamon sticks and Cloves until the sticks are tender.
    3. Put the pieces carefully - as they break easily - into brandy and let them soak for a day

    Take them out and let them dry. Before you use them, soak the ends for a short time in hot water. You will not even need to use toothpaste, since all the necessary ingredients are in the root."

    I've not yet tried this - if anyone does, do share if you liked it.


  21. Fantastic vlog and hope to see more like this.

  22. sina,

    We hope folks from the community will become assertive in filming/creating vlogs and contributing to EcoDeaf because this blog is not for us, but for you all :) This blog would not exist without your vlog/blog contributions. If you have ideas and plan to make vlogs for EcoDeaf we'd be thrilllllllled to include them. Keep them coming our way! Email ecodeaf@gmail.com


  23. Interesting vlog! Great speech, Schettle!

    Yup, I am a little obsessed about my teeth. I lost a tooth and I had to get a crown to save the rest. I was using Tom's Natural Toothpaste w/o fluoride for five years before my teeth got several cavities and that it rotten one of my tooth, too. I went to the dentists at University of Buffalo who all told me to switch to ADA toothpaste brands and, most importantly, to floss at least twice a day, too. Although I am convinced that sticking with water and flossing is more than good enough, but I already paid a big price for the loss of the tooth, so I am still reluctant to go to water only.

    Also, mouthwash wasn't mentioned in this vlog. I wonder more about it after seeing this vlog. I am sure that the chemicals spat in the drain would go down and out to hurt the environment somehow... just like we're hearing about how we're finding traces of Prozac in our tap water. What do you say about mouthwashes, Schettle? I'd like to hear from you about mouthwashes and, if any, its environmental implications, too. (I'll browse that topic up on the internet, to. Thank you. :)

    And yes, I remember reading a part in the book of Omnivore's Dilemma talking about how the Aborigines in Australia had their perfect teeth and how they never used toothpastes or anything of sorts. Their diet were very good to begin with, like eating no processed or junk food. The three Aborigines that immigrated to the United States to live there decided to return back to their native country because they couldn't tolerate with eating processed food after they witnessed how the ill-effects it had on their bodies. That says a lot.

    About food, I agree with the raw food theory. I learned that eating apples would "clean" your teeth because the apple skin is abrasive enough to do the job. Down with the processed food.

    For now, I'm still reluctant to go just with water, but I'm open to learn more in order to make the change and to simplify my consumptions of any matters, too.

    Great video to see before Potluck tonight!!
    I learned new things.

    Namaste to beautiful teeth!

  24. Anz,
    It's so good to see people respond that have such great interests in having the best possible oral health that they can achieve. I understand that you have this fear of losing another tooth due to a past experience. I have worked in the dental hygiene profession for over 12 years and the medical field does prescribe fluoride, recommend ADA toothpastes and mouthwashes such as Listerine, etc... and there is a benefit from using those chemicals, but if you want to truly be health conscious, just proper brushing two times a day after breakfast and right before bed with water and flossing at least one time a day is all you really need to do. If you go to a reputable dentist every 6 months, they will detect any small carious lesions on your teeth and have it fixed before there is damage beyond repair (i.e. root canals, crowns, etc.). If you want to be chemical free (remember our body is a huge sponge... our tissues inside or outside of the mouth will absorb any chemical regardless if you swallow any or not), I would suggest that you faithfully brush and floss daily without any chemicals and get 6 month teeth cleanings / exams (most dental insurances cover 2 teeth cleanings/ exams a year) to be sure if any suspicious cavities arise. If they do, it is either you are having a high sugar intake (dried fruits can be bad for teeth) or not flossing/ brushing properly. I hope this helps.
    Keep up the good work in taking care of your pearly whites!
    Karen Schettle

  25. Hi Karen Schettle, thank you very much for your quick response.

    I think I will stick with the toothpaste until I confirm the change of the plan with a dentist. I am sure the UB Dentists would flip their trip backward after finding out that I want to go with water alone. Next time I go in, I'll bring the question up. It'll be a good homework to see what they have to say about it.

    Another thought...most tap water contains fluoride, which is found in most toothpastes too. Is that why people using water alone, because of fluoride, is sufficient enough to do the job? From what I'm hearing from you, I'm sure water without fluoride is proven doable, too.

    Thank you for generating this discussion.


    P.S. I would like to make the correction about my finding. Previously, I said Ominivore's Dilemma when I was talking about the Aborigines. My error. It was from the book In Defense of Food by the same author, Michael Pollen. However, it also has a chapter talking about how processed food affect people's teeth really badly, especially after we started mixing refined flours in our food. Although short, it's an interesting reading related to this topic.

  26. Hi again Anz,

    Yes your UB dentist will flip. They do not have the holistic mentality and were trained in dental/ medical field to use fluoride products, etc. Did you know that an ingredient found in fluoride is used in rat poison (large amounts)? Kevin Trudeau's book, "Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About" reveals how the medical field prescribes chemicals, drugs, etc. that are harmful to our health and that includes fluoride. As for your question about fluoride in the water, it does not do any benefit to adult teeth. It is more for children developing new teeth or for pregnant mothers for developing embryos to produce stronger enamel There is no sound proof on that tho'. Just like how u brought up the Aborigines in Australia and how they have healthy teeth. Did they ingest fluoride in their water? Did they drink fluoridated water or use fluoride toothpaste? NO... However because we have a more starchier diet and more processed foods, we need to have strict regimen of plaque removal. The flour and sugar in the processed foods become acidic on our teeth and erode away the enamel.
    Anyway, I welcome any more questions. :)
    Karen Schettle

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. I have been looking forward to replying this post. I came home late last night but I told myself to go to bed and get some rest. Six hours later, I'm up and ready to share some shocking information that I learned from talking with a friend about teeth last night. LOL.

    No doubt, my UB dentist will flip.

    Anyway, Last night, I had an interesting discussion with a friend about toothpaste, teeth, etc. My friend Steph has a degree in anthropology. Her strong area of interest is in cultures involving tattoos, body piercings, anything related counter-cultures, and stuff like that.

    She said Listerine, the most common mouthwash, was , and probably still, used as the cleansing agent for washing the hospital floors, walls, and on the tables where the patients had their surgery. I totally flipped when I heard it. No more Listerine for me. :)

    I hear you on how chemicals are used for other purposes. I believe I read somewhere about fluoride and rat poison. That reminds me of the fertilizer situation. The nitrogen in fertilizer, which speeds up the growth farm food, were also heavily used for making bombs during World War II. As more farmers starting using the fertilizer, farmers stopped doing crop-rotations, which eventually destroyed and corrupted their natural state of soil.

    Anyway, back to the teeth, Steph also mentioned that people in most cultures of the Old World, such as Africa, South America, India, etc., often chew tea tree branches, if I recalled it correctly, to clean their teeth. It was their "so-called-toothbrush."

    When I looked back in time. I was
    living with a roommate and we often had our African guest staying at our place to help with cooking and cleaning. He was a very nice friend who was into our drum circle. He often chewed on sticks and he would pass it on to me. He would say, "those stuff are good to chew on to clean your teeth." I kind of forgot what it was. I wish I remember, but I know that the branch was really chewy and that it took a really long time to break it into pieces, but once I was done chewing it, I felt how clean my teeth were.

    This discussion reminds me of the Peelu gums. When I chew gums, I use Peelu instead of with those processed gums of junks in it. Peelu is a good gum for cleaning the teeth.

    Info on Peelu for further reading:

    About fluoride, I think I was misinformed. I thought fluoride is used to reduce cavities, but not to strengthen our teeth. So, it is utterly-pointless for adults to use fluoride in their toothpaste, right? Interesting.

    When I found out I had several cavities, I blamed it for not using fluoride. But when I look back, like about seven years ago, my diet wasn't that great. Although, I was becoming a vegetarian, I drank a lot of soda, ate sugary food, etc., before I became serious about eating more whole food and less-to-none processed food. And I was not flossing my teeth that often, too. I remember the dentist spent hours cleaning and flossing between my teeth. My gosh, I think some of those nasty stuff were manifesting in between the teeth for a long time. Since then, I floss my teeth at least two times a day. Anyway, I agree that diet is also very important to go over when it comes to dental and natural hygiene.

    I like your holistic healing input, too. I believe in the Eastern Philosophy of healing and I am seeing it becoming incorporated with the traditional Western approaches, not only in the medical setting, but in the counseling setting, too.


  29. Anthony,

    Good comments. Just wanted to add one thing about decaying teeth...I, too, am dealing with decaying teeth and have never gone to buy processed food from non-alternative supermarkets ever since senior in high school. I did research on teeth as i wondered why would i still get decaying teeth when i barely consume refined stuff especially refined carbohydrates. I found out that if your adrenal glands are faulty, your teeth will definitely be affected due to something shifting in the saliva composition or something like that. That explained my case as my adrenal glands have always been faulty ever since my childhood years.

    Thought you might want to check out your adrenal glands if your teeth are actually still decaying.


  30. Hi Sarah

    I do not think I have the decaying teeth problem. I did not take care of my teeth when I was an undergraduate student. I did not floss my teeth at all. And I was on not such a great diet, too, like eating processed food and sugary snacks. Since then, I'm flossing twice a day and my teeth are really happy.

    I do have the teeth grinding problem. When I go to sleep, I have to put on the nightguard to stop the teeth from grinding each other or my teeth will shrink in size and I could eventually lose them.

    Could the grinding be related to faulty adrenal glands? I not know much about glands and the world of biology.

    What are you doing already to take care of it? Besides eating good food? Or is there anything much you can do about adrenal glands and faulty teeth? Some pointers would be good to know.

    I'll have to look more up on adrenal glands and teeth. Thank you for bringing it up.

    Yup, whole food for happy teeth. :)


  31. In response to Sarah and Anthony's post:The adrenal glands are a pair of small organs located just above the kidney. These glands contain two types of tissue. The adrenal cortex produces hormones that affect water balance and metabolism in the body. So that tells me that if you have faulty adrenal glands, it could affect your saliva make up. There are saliva tests at the dental office http://www.gcamerica.com/saliva.html that can be done to see if the saliva is alkaline or acidic. If it is more acidic, it would affect the enamel of your teeth. Fruits and vegetables are alkaline foods which would cause healthier saliva in our mouth that will dissolve food/ plaque that is sitting in between our teeth.

    However, strict oral hygiene is best instead of relying on our saliva to wash away the plaque on our teeth. Those who experience dry mouth (mostly happens from underlying factors such as endocrine system problems or taking medications that have side effects) I also read that adrenal glands affect the hormones that control stress.

    Grinding teeth can happen from spasms from high levels of stress so it may be difficult to know if adrenal disease is causing grinding teeth or other things. If your dentist sees symptoms of grinding teeth such as a lot of wear facets (worn down spots on teeth or flattened molars) then yes, by all means, it is important to wear a night guard. You will be able to tell on your night guard the grinding aftermath and be thankful that you are grinding on plastic and not on your actual teeth :)

    I looked up the Peelu gum and I was disappointed that it had ingredients such as sorbitol and maltitol in it. I steer clear from artificial sugars or things I can't pronounce. SMILE. Then you know it has processed ingredients and not all natural. Ever since the Indian culture, approximately 3000 years ago, began chewing on the branches of the Neem Tree, healthy, white, strong gums and teeth have been a characteristic that millions have strived for.

    Although our civilization now has electric toothbrushes instead of twigs, and fluoride mouth-wash instead of water, the USA has much to learn about the natural health supplements that we have lost along the way. Here is a website more about the African tree sticks that were used and still used in 3rd world countries. There are antimicrobial agents in the roots that reduce the bacteria in the mouth that cause periodontal disease. Interesting! This is the website http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2000-03/ACS-Aswa-0103100.php

    So this says civilization can do more damage to our health! Let's go back to the GOOD ole days :)

  32. Pahuasl,

    Interesting about Neem Tree. I had to look it up to see what the tree looks like.

    (For those who are interested to see what Neem Tree looks like, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neem )

    I totally agree with you about going back to using natural medicines and remedies.

    About adrenal glands, interesting. I learned a little biology here. Thank you for explaining what the adrenal glands does to our body.

    I do not know if grinding my teeth is from the stress or from the glands or whatsoever. The dentists did find the indications and grinding marks around my teeth that it was bad enough for me to get the night-guard. I think it is because of my energy-flow. My body is always wanting to do something except for the downtimes. Even during the downtimes, it is hard for me to sit still. I feel maybe that is why I grind my teeth as I sleep, because my body still wants to do something as I'm busy sleeping.

    Ouch about Peelu and sorbitol and malitol. You are right if you cannot pronounce the word, then don't buy it. It's one of the good golden rules to have for food shopping. :)

    What can I chew on? If I want to chew a gum, know of any "natural, fake sugar, and chemical-free" gum?

  33. Anthony,

    As of this moment, I know of one natural made gum made from an African tree, which is what we just talked about. I never tasted it tho' because I try to steer clear from any gum chewing as much as possible. Here is the website of the natural gum. http://www.gleegum.com/glee-gum.htm

    I question why it has pure cane sugar and rice syrup in it so it may not be a good cavity fighter! More of a cavity starter! You can read more about it at the website. Gum itself is processed so I doubt there will be anything without the chemicals. I will keep my eye out at the organic stores and if I come across any, I will definitely let you know :)

    Why do you like to chew gum? Is it soothing for an underlying nervous habit or do you just enjoy the benefits as fresh breath or ? Chewing gum can cause overuse of the jaw area which is specifically called the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ) and may cause TMJ problems down the road. We have a disk in our TMJ and when we are constantly chewing unnecessarily, it may wear out the disk and cause muscular fatique and jaw pain. Just like in our knees, we have a disk that protects the leg bones and knee cap from contact. You may want to consider quitting the chewing habit ;)

    Karen Schettle

  34. Karen,

    Whenever I get a pack of gums, I go through it so quickly. The chewing habit would be rather too expensive for me. It would not be good for my teeth, too. That's why I rarely buy gums. :)

    Interesting about Peelu. I guess the Peelu company is false with their words. I admit I did not look at the Peelu ingredients carefully until you mentioned it. I bought their advertisement too easily. It is too bad their product is not really the "cavity fighter" as I thought it would be.

    Would it be nice if we could get the raw twigs and branches? So, we could chew on those instead of any gums out there?

    I did not know anything about Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ) until you mentioned it. It makes a lot of sense about wearing down the disk from chewing gums very frequently.

  35. Hi Karen,

    I asked Linda, the health adviser, about gums at Feel- Rite Natural Food Store. She showed me the gum brand that is probably better than any gums out there for your teeth. She readily agreed that Peelu is false with their words.

    I am sorry I could not find the specific Xylitol gum brand that we carry at the store on the internet at this point. Next time I go to work, I will have to write down the brand name and get back to you. There are many gums with additional junks out that has the ingredient xylitol in it, too.

    Here's the Wikipedia on Xylitol. Scroll down to the "Dental Care" section.



  36. hello Karen Schettle,
    I was wondering in my mind " is there a deaf hygienist in anywhere?" so I was looking through the internet until i found this website and watch the video. it was true.. it was amazing . i have a lot of questions about hygienist career.. please e-mail me flora06feliz07@gmail.com.

    forward to hear from you soon!

    thank you!

    Norma-from texas

  37. Karen, I don't know how often you look at you vlog, but I recently discovered it and am very happy to see a Deaf hygienist out there helping and educating members of the community. I am curious as to where you went to hygiene school. I am a dental hygiene instructor, and am, also, presently enrolled in an interpreting training program for ASL. I want to bring these two interests together, to benefit both the dental hygieine students and also the Deaf community. I would appreciate a response and possibly I could use your vlog in both the hygiene program as well as my interpreting program. I would love to get in touch with you and discuss this further. Keep up the good work.