Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 30th, 2020

Written by Dyami Millarson

Underlying tooth decay, there is a constant battle between demineralisation and mineralisation.

Dental caries may simply be defined as the cumulative result of the cyclical ebbs and flows of demineralisation and mineralisation.

Remineralisation is the term used for the normal daily process whereby the teeth, namely the enamel and dentin, are repaired from demineralisation.

Enamel is the material that covers the outside layer of the teeth above the crown. It is one of the most mineralised and hardest parts of the human body. Enamel is a composite of both organic and inorganic components, and the same is the case for dentin.

Dentin is the hard dental tissue that is the whole body of the tooth . Alternatively, dentin may be more specifically defined as the dental layer under the enamel which covers the surface of the teeth.

Enamel and dentin are also seemingly contrasted with the latter being defined as a mineralised dental tissue and the former as a mineralised dental structure,

Context is relevant for understanding the definition of mineralisation: Mineralisation in this article deals with tooth decay, it is relevant to specify that biomineralization is meant by this.

In the context of soil science, mineralisation is the process by which organic matter is converted to mineral nutrients, which are easy to absorb for the roots of the plants growing in the thus mineralised soil.

However, biomineralization is the process by which biological organisms produce minerals ), and that is the process we are interested in for understanding tooth decay and we mean biomineralization when we speak of tooth mineralisation.

The science of biomineralization is the study of biologically produced materials, such as human teeth, as well as the study of the biological processes leading to the formation of such organic-inorganic composites ).

As a refresher for the reader who might be inundated with new facts, enamel and dentin are composites of both organic and inorganic components.

The formation of hard dental tissues, such as enamel and dentin, involves the following two processes:

  1. a biological process which includes cell signalling and
  2. a biochemical process where the biomolecules interact for the formation of crystal apatite .

Apatite refers to any member of a series of phosphate minerals and apatite comes from an Ancient Greek word for deceit, as apatite resembles a plethora of other minerals .

Apatite is the most common phosphate mineral, and is the main source of phosphorus required by plants in the soil . Apatite is also relevant for soil mineralisation.

Apatite is not popular as a gemstone because it is too soft, and thus considered too brittle for most jewellery use.

Calcium phosphate, which is another name for apatite, is what the bones and teeth of humans and animals are made of, and the biological apatites, of which the aforementioned human and animal hard tissues are composed, are usually hydroxyapatites, also known as hydroxyapatites without an l in the third syllable .

Apatite found in bone has a unique chemical composition as well as unique geometry and the basic composite structure of bone, as seen from the nanoscale, consists of collagen fibrils densely mineralised with hydroxy(l)apatites.

Collagen is the single most abundant protein in the animal kingdom and may simply be defined as an insoluble, hard, fibrous protein that accounts for one-third of all the protein in the human body.

Although there are 16 types of collagen in total, 80-90% of the collagen which is found in the human body consists of types I, II and III.

The collagen molecules as found in the body pack together and form long thin structures known as fibrils.

Type I collagen, of which the vast majority of the fibril-type collagen in the human body consists, is not only found in the human bones and skin, but also in the connective tissues, tendons and fibrous cartilage .

Cavitation occurs once the enamel and dentin do not have the proper structure anymore for maintaining their mineral framework, and remineralisation may be regarded by the dentist as an insufficient treatment at that point).

Remineralisation is therefore a form of preventative medicine, i.e., the dentist seeks to prevent the formation of cavities by means of dental remineralisation .

However, demineralisation is Not a continuous one-way process, but it is a cyclic event characterised by waves of mineralisation and demineralisation.

Although dental remineralisation may, in practice, be employed by the dentist for the prevention, repair and reversal of dental caries, which is a synonym of tooth decay by the way, there is a definite limit to what mineralisation therapies by the dentist can do, provided that they are not accompanied by proper dental care at home.

It is therefore vital that the following be answered:

  1. what, then, is proper dental care? Here are some dental care tips: brush your teeth no less than twice a day and keep in mind more than twice a day may be desirable,
  2. brush your tongue as well,
  3. flossing is equally important as brushing your teeth and so you should never skip this, floss all of your teeth properly no matter how difficult it may be to reach them and so take the time for a proper flossing routine,
  4. drink plenty of water instead of sugary beverages, and generally avoid foods that contain lots of sugar and carbohydrates as well as foods that have a low pH, i.e., foods that are acidic .
  5. Microbial activity is associated with the onset of dental caries, and when one eats too much sugar, carbohydrates or foods with a low pH, one is feeding those cariogenic bacteria with nutrients that they need for breaking down one’s teeth, and so limiting sugar, carbohydrates and low-pH foods is a practical and viable strategy for preventing the onset of tooth decay in the mouth.
  6. Saliva plays an important role in protecting the teeth against damaging microbial activity and natural anti-microbial agents, such as spices, herbs and probiotics, seem effective for controlling cariogenic microbes, i.e., micro-organisms responsible for dental caries

Although my keen interest in phonetics already made me instinctively interested in the mouth, one of the main reasons I was alerted to the importance of oral hygiene was the ageing-related fact that good oral hygiene reduces mortality risk and a good dental care regimen should therefore be taken extremely seriously by those who wish to follow a longevity-promoting lifestyle.

Seeing the link between oral hygiene and longevity is undoubtedly an indispensable health-boosting insight, and I have become much more attentive to dental care ever since I became aware of this fact.

I recall that I watched cartoons as a child about bacteria that were destroying the teeth, and that is when it first dawned upon me that micro-organisms were responsible for tooth decay, which is what made me very concerned about cleaning my teeth and so I never experienced a single cavity until 2020 around my 26th birthday when I had been lax with dental care for a while due to experiencing prolonged heightened levels of stress, which usually makes one vulnerable to developing dental caries.

Natural compounds extracted from the following herbs and spices may be effective against cariogenic bacteria: Bauhinia forficata, Curcuma xanthorrhiza, Licorice Root, Eurycoma longifolia jack, Cinnamomum burmannii, tea tree, Sterculia lychnophora Hance, Melia azedarach L., Tamarix aphylla L., Cinnamon bark, Acacia arabica, Ginger-garlic paste, clove, Acacia catechu, Thuja orientalis, Camellia japonica, Quercus infectoria, Pongamia pinnata, Cymbopogon citratus.

I use a few drops of tea tree oil mixed in a cup of water as my preferred mouthwash product, though one should be careful not to ingest the tea tree oil and therefore one ought to make sure to wash one’s mouth thoroughly with water after one has finished gargling with the mix of tea tree and water to rinse one’s mouth.

When my gums hurt or if my gums are bleeding, I may apply some tea tree and it usually works; I usually spit it out after 10-15 minutes of holding the tea tree in my mouth with increasing saliva formation, and then I wash my mouth with water.

Micronutrients may be essential for oral health, because research has demonstrated that they reduced oral inflammations, such as gingivitis and periodontitis .

Gingivitis, which is basically an inflammation of the gums, is a commonly occurring, mild form of gum disease . This inflammation may be caused by bacteria and if this inflammation is left untreated, it may develop into periodontitis, which is a much more serious medical condition than gingivitis .

Interspersed with all the factual information, let me add one more personal anecdote to this article: I believe that I may have been experiencing an inflammation of my gums due to bacterial overgrowth this year, and what helped me in my case was having more dishes with lots of pepper.

I noticed already this summer that my gums had receded a little bit, and for this reason, I may look into the topic of regrowing the gum in another blog article.

When it comes to habits preventing the formation of oral cavities, it is best to avoid sugary foods, but in case we do choose to engage in such a guilty pleasure, it is recommend that the sugary foods be eaten with a meal rather than between meals .

Although it may be counterintuitive to have sweets with meals, it is truly the best habit for the teeth, and my mind is instinctively making the following analogy: many vitamin and mineral supplements ought to be taken with meals because this is the best habit for the gut.

(Such instinctive analogies that my mind draws for me usually have a mnemonic function.)

As perceived within the context of the notion that saliva may be important for protecting and repairing the teeth, it might be advisable to include salivation-promoting foods in one’s diet: peas, bananas, Brussel sprouts (*31).

Which vitamins and minerals are healthy for teeth?

Vitamins A, B and D, magnesium, iron and not to forget calcium and phosphorus, are relevant for dental and skeletal health

The functions of the following vitamins and minerals are not to be overlooked: vitamin A builds the enamel and keeps the gums healthy, vitamin D deposits calcium in the jawbones that support the teeth and it boosts dental mineral density, phosphorus repairs and protects the enamel, and calcium forties the enamel

While one needs sufficient calcium to fortify one’s teeth and bones, one ought to commit to memory that one needs vitamin D for the absorption of calcium

One may obtain vitamin A from dairy products, oily fish and liver products such as beef liver, lamb liver, liver sausage, cod liver oil, king mackerel, salmon, bluefin tuna, goat cheese, butter, cheddar

One may obtain vitamin B from leafy greens, turkey, legumes, sunflower seeds, yoghurt, milk, mussels, trout, salmon, clams, chicken, eggs, oysters, beef

One may obtain vitamin D from red meat, oily fish, egg yolks and liver products

One may obtain magnesium from nuts such as almonds and cashews, seeds such as pumpkin seeds and chia seeds, leafy greens such as spinach, legumes such as black beans and in smaller quantities from fish and meat

One may obtain iron from beans, nuts, dried fruit, red meat and liver products

One may obtain calcium from leafy greens, dairy products and fish where one also consumes the bones such as is the case with sardines (*41).

One may obtain phosphorus from poultry products such as eggs and chicken and turkey, dairy products such as yoghurt, milk and cheese, lentils, nuts such as cashews, pumpkin seeds, seafood such as salmon and scallops, quinoa, beans, amaranth, sunflower seeds, liver products, potatoes, and beef

Some may also recommend bone broth as a way to help the teeth recover from dental decay

Personal note: I clean my teeth by dipping my brush in white vinegar and adding a little bicarbonate of sodium. You save on all these expensive toothpastes. Best to brush before going to bed in order Not to allow bacteria to accumulate during sleep for lack of salivation. Drink water to wash the teeth before brushing the teeth.

“The Gardens of Light” by Amin Maalouf (Reviewed in April 19, 2007 and posted in 2008)

“The gardens of light” is translated from French. Amin  Maalouf is currently a French Academician from Lebanese origin who immigrated during the civil war. I read all his books

In the middle of 200 AC, Mani set about spreading his Message and he preached for over thirty years a new religion, a mixture of Christianity (Nazarene), Buddhism and Ahura Mazda (Zoroastrianism and whose priests were called Magi).

Mani was born around AD 216 in Mardinu (Mardin, a town east of present Turkey on the North of the Tigris River, a Syrian region that French mandated power offered to Turkey in 1937).

Mani called himself the “son of Babel“. He experienced the unyielding faith, the teachings and the rigorous life style of the White clad Brethren or monks of a Nazarene sect on the Euphrates River banks, where his father Patek was a member and who adopted the doctrines and teachings of this Christian Nazarene sect..

This sect was called “Halle Haware” or white garment in the Aramaic language.

The members of the sect did Not eat meat or drink wine or leavened bread; the disciples wore white from top to bottom.

This sect was scared of fire, a counter faith to the most common Zaradust faith in the region at the time, and thus would eat only raw fruits and vegetables grown by the community.

Food from outside the community was prohibited and considered “female” food because women were banished from the community and the female names in the scriptures were not mentioned unless the names represented calamities and bad augurs.

(I told my young nephew William, who insists on wearing white garment and who spent three weeks in India at a meditation center in Mount Abu, about this novel and he sounded interested but he claimed that his sect (which he would not give it this label as if it is a bad connotation like cult) is far ancient and going back many thousands of years. William is no longer into these “fashionable” trends)

Mani is now a very close advisor to the Divine King of Kings, the Sassanian monarch Shapur, and managed for 3 years to delay a resumption of war with the Roman Empire.

The Roman Emperor Philip the Arab (Born in Syria) had struck a deal with Shapur to cede Armenia to the Persian Empire and to deliver a tribute of 100,000 sacs of gold every year by a caravan of bedouins of his tribe. 

Philip needed badly a truce in order to celebrate the 1000 years of the creation of Rome.

After Philip was assassinated, his successor resumed paying the tribute but was assassinated two years later and four generals were vying for the throne of Rome and the tribute could not arrive.

Shapur succeeded his father Ardashir, the founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, who defeated the powerful Parthian king Artabanus in AD 226, who had previously defeated the Emperor Caracalla in AD 217.

The Parthian Empire was located in Northern Iran and was comprised of the current Kurdistan territory, part of Anatolia (in current Turkey) and the central Iraqi plains and including Babylon.

The Roman Empire had the Western parts of current Turkey with Cappadocia as the main city and all of Syria (Aram) and Egypt. 

The Sassanid Dynasty had Ctesiphon as its Capital, near Babylon, but on the Eastern shore of the Tigris and which used to be the Capital of the defeated Parthian Empire. The Sassanid Empire expanded to include Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Shapur could have installed his capital anywhere he wanted further to the East but he wanted to be close to the Roman Empire, his arch-enemy.  Shapur succeeded twice more in defeating the Romans and captured Emperor Valerian and made him prisoner in AD 259.

Shapur begged Mani to join him on one of his war expeditions so that he may promote his religion to the conquered territories but Mani declined the offer saying: “My words shall shed no blood. My hands shall bless no blade. My hands shall neither bless the knives of sacrificing priests, nor even a woodcutter’s axe.”

While the Magi were destroying the Gods in the conquered territories of Armenia, Cappadocia, and Syria Mani and his followers “The Sons of Lights” were preaching peace and contempt for all swords and the hands which wield them. 

Mani and his followers prayed at the tomb of his father Patek and his mother Mariam and he felt weak in the natural surrounding of his village.

Patek, the father of Mani, was from a Parthian warrior class and Sittai, and the leader of the White-clad sect had ordered him to go home and bring his son to live within the community after he is weaned.

Mani was 4 years old when he was baptized in the river and lived in the community without knowing who was his father or mother since Patek was not allowed or cared to show affection for his son.

Mani was used to isolate himself and discovered a favorite place for seclusion in a peninsula by the Tigris River surrounded by palm trees. By the age of twelve Mani must have gathered from bits of conversation how he was conceived and his origins and he liked to paint. 

It is at that age that he saw on the surface of the river the image of his “Twin” or “Double” who told him: “Draw what seems right to thee, Mani.  He who sends me knows no rival.  All beauty is the reflection of His beauty”. 

Mani told his close friend Malchos in the community: “Tread lightly on this earth, avoid sudden movements, and do not kill trees or flowers. Pretend to plow the soil, but do not wound it. When others scream and yell, move only your lips.”

When he was 24, Mani’s “twin” told him that it was time for him to get out to the world and spread the Message of tolerance to all religions and bring down the walls among casts and races. 

Mani shed his white garment and wore colorful cloth and walked to Ctesiphon to find his friend Malchos.  Malchos was originally from Tyre (south current Lebanon) and stayed in the community when his father drowned there and then was excommunicated at the age of fifteen.

Patek joined his son in order to bring him back to the community and ended up becoming his first disciple. 

Mani started teaching that every person or object is a mix of light and darkness and it is through the five senses that individuals need to differentiate the good and beautiful in the world and increase their knowledge, sense of beauty and tolerance.

Mani left for Deb by sea, on the estuary of the Indus River (in current Pakistan). This city was where all the ships from West to East stopped and the Kushan princes and kings were tolerant to all religious beliefs and it is said that Thomas, the twin brother of Jesus, was the apostle who spread Christ’s teachings there and in India.

It used to be a treacherous voyage and took a month under the best monsoon conditions around the month of May.

Deb is no more, and the emplacement of Karachi is very close; Ctesiphone is no more, but current Baghdad was built close by.

Hormisdas, the grandchild of Ardashir, had defeated the Kushan princes and was ready to enter Deb.  Mani met him with a delegation, saved Hormisdas favorite daughter from death, and saved Deb from destruction. 

Instead of gold, Mani asked Hormisdas to give him Denagh, a 13- year old daughter of a martyred officer that Hormisdas has taken under his protection. Denagh has stayed near Mani the whole night healing the little girl.

When later Patek wanted to know the kind of relationship Mani had with Denagh he replied: “Her garments trace the boundaries of my nomadic realm“. 

He indirectly answered the implicit question by stating: “What merit would there be in depriving oneself of a pleasure which one had never enjoyed?”

Back to Ctesiphon, Mani met the Divine King Shapur and secured permission to spread his Message under his protection.  Mani was 26 then and his speech was: “I respect all creeds. The religious sects do not want to listen to the good in the other sects but they assemble the flocks of the faithful around hatred because it is only in confrontation that they show their solidarity. 

When men are tired of rites, myths and curses, they will remember that, one day, during the reign of the great Shapur, a humble mortal sent a cry resounding across the world.”

Mani had a special relationship with King Shapur and the latter was ready to adopt Mani’s Message if he agreed to stay close to him at the court. 

Mani declined the deal and the Magi gave Mani hard times because his message was a threat to their cast.  Hormisdas, Shapur’s younger son and King of Armenia and a follower of Mani’s Message, succeeded in the throne for a short period because the Magi poisoned him.

The next king was Bahram who tortured Mani for 30 days and exposed him shackled for everyone in Beth-Lapat to see. Mani remains were hanged naked for three days at the entrance of the city and no one was to know where he was buried. But the wall became a place of pilgrimage.  

The disciples of Mani wrote everywhere “Mani Hayye” (Mani is alive) which was transformed into “Manichean“.

The Magi and the Catholic Church did their best to annihilate his books, paintings, and any icon of Mani.

The Western and Eastern religions succeeded in deforming Mani teachings and casting him as “The Devil”, the “lying demon” and the “pestilential heresy”. 

For a thousand years, he was called “The Apostle of Jesus” in Egypt and “The Buddha of Light” in China.

It is unfortunate that Shapur was dying when the Romans invaded Palmira (Tadmor) and captured Zenobia prisoner. Zenobia had managed to rule over Syria and Egypt from Tadmor.

Note: Mani message was the predominant religion in North Africa when St. Augustine lived in Tunisia


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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